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Thanks, Johnners: An Affectionate Tribute to a Broadcasting Legend [Hardcover]

Jonathan Agnew
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 Oct 2010

Perfect for cricket fans everywhere, Thanks Johnners is a warm and witty tribute to Brian Johnston and his time at the helm of Test Match Special.

The Test Match Special on-air incident, in which Jonathan Agnew's comment on Ian Botham's attempt to avoid stepping on his stumps – "He just couldn't quite get his leg over" provoking prolonged fits of giggles, most notably from Brian Johnston, has been voted the greatest piece of sporting commentary ever. The friendship between "Aggers" and "Johnners" became immortalised through that broadcasting classic, but there was a far deeper bond between the two men, as this fascinating book reveals.

Jonathan Agnew had grown up to the sound of Johnston, Arlott, and a young Martin-Jenkins et al on TMS as he followed his father around on the family farm, ear glued to the transistor radio, but the two men met formally only when Agnew joined the BBC team at Headingley in 1991.

Thus began a great working partnership which, fuelled by a mutual passion for the noble game, bridged the generation gap and ended only with Johnston's sudden death in 1994. As this book demonstrates so convincingly, Johnners's wit, warmth and sense of fun was a feature not only of his cricket commentaries, but also in the way he lived his life. His influence on "Aggers" is clearly recognisable in the same amiable and informal manner in which his successor presents Test Match Special today.

Thanks, Johnners is a rich blend of biography and anecdote, of antics and dramas on and off the pitch, in and out of the commentary box, its pages filled with stories about the great names of cricket including Fred Trueman, Geoffrey Boycott, Vivian Richards, Michael Holding and Ian Botham. Just as TMS is the sound of summer, so Thanks, Johnners is the fresh breeze rippling the long grass of remembered pleasures.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Door; 1st edition (14 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007343086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007343089
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan Agnew (Aggers) was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire in 1960. Before entering the world of broadcasting, he had a successful first-class career as a fast bowler for Leicestershire and won three test caps for England. Since then, he has worked as a cricket journalist and has spent twenty years as a commentator for Radio Four's Test Match Special. He lives in Leicestershire with his family.

Product Description


‘A splendid book…Like TMS it is funny, fluid and conversational.’ THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

‘So good that I felt as if the radio had been surreptitiously switched on and I was, in fact, listening to Test Match Special…it is the easiest and most enjoyable of reads.’

About the Author

Jonathan Agnew (Aggers) was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire in 1960. Before entering the world of broadcasting, he had a successful first-class career as a fast bowler for Leicestershire and won three test caps for England. Since then, he has worked as a cricket journalist and has spent twenty years as a commentator for Radio Four's Test Match Special. He lives in Leicestershire with his family.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Ostensibly a book about the best-loved commentator on cricket of the 20th century, this book on Brian Johnston is so much more than that.

It provides a warm, witty set of recollections of behind the scenes on Test Match Special both during the time Brian Johnston and Jonathan Agnew spent together at the microphone, and afterwards too.

Like the best of the commentary from Test Match Special, this sparkles with humour, with cheeky stories and wind-ups, and is told in the warm, conversational style that listeners to TMS have become accustomed to from the BBC's cricket correspondent.

All in all - rather like the rain breaks on TMS - this offers Aggers the opportunity to let loose from the commentary and enjoy the freedom to reminisce as one story leads naturally on to another.

Perfect for everyone who's missing their fix of TMS until the Ashes!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyous, poignant celebration of cricket 24 Oct 2010
`Couldn't put it down' is an over-used cliché. But Aggers' "Thanks Johnners" is the first book I have ever read in one sitting... I didn't put it down.

I accept that Johnners, Brian Johnston, is a hero of mine -- and of course a legend. Jonathan Agnew's book celebrates more than the life of the master of broadcasting, but cricket too. Cricket in its pure form. A game played by gentlemen, to a set of laws and an unwritten spirit that sadly appears to have been transgressed all too often in the past decade.

His defence of TMS, Test Match Special, is well made and balanced; one can only hope that the hierarchy at the BBC have the sense to understand Aggers' points well made.

Aggers superbly balances the life of Johnners with the enduring legacy that Brian Johnston laid down. You come away with a deep feeling of `cricket' -- not just cricket the game, but cricket the code that Johnners' lived by and more of us should adopt as our credo.

I admit a personal interest -- I worked with Johnners whilst as a sound engineer at the BBC (and many others mentioned in the book), a kinder, more generous person you could not hope to meet. My grandfather served with Brian Johnston in the Grenadier Guards, I dropped this into the conversation one day. Johnners immediately asked after him and even remembered the name of my grandmother despite it being decades since they had last met. That is Johnners.

This book is an absolutely 'must read' and not just for cricket lovers. I have just ordered ten as Christmas presents... maybe not a good idea as I suspect that turkeys will go uneaten and other presents unwrapped as collective noses get stuck-in, because they too could not put it down.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
As you might expect of Jonathan Agnew, this book is a warm and entertaining read, giving a flavour of the way that BBC radio has covered cricket over the last 50 years or so, particularly from the viewpoint of the current BBC cricket correspondent.

While the anecdotes about Johnston (and Agnew) are amusing, what is more interesting are the occasional references which indicate the outside world in which BBC cricket coverage operated; for example, the public-school Old Boys network which gave someone like Brian Johnston his first BBC break, the influence of the South Africa boycott, or the introduction of commercial cricket coverage.

All in all a recommended read, even for those who are not necessarily huge cricket afficionados.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm and thoroughly entertaining 2 Nov 2010
By Jon
Format:Audio CD
An enormous number of books have been written about cricket over the years, some wonderful, some less so. This book sits happily in the former category. At a time when books by current and former players tumble from the bookshelves, it is rare to find one written by a former player that is so full of wit, insight and candour. But, of course, Jonathan Agnew is not just a former player but also the knowledgeable and engaging BBC Cricket Correspondent and presenter of Test Match Special.

Weaving anecdotes, reminiscences and musings about cricket issues around the central theme of the book, a tribute to the much loved former TMS presenter, Brian Johnston, works very well indeed. Few people could have written so knowledgeably about Johnners, with such a warm and entertaining style that is entirely in keeping with Johnners' own nature. The book that results is a pleasure to read, and I recommend it to anyone with any interest in cricket, and in understanding how it -- and indeed, how life -- should be played.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks Johnners 5 Nov 2010
just finished this amazing book which i could not put down, it reminded me of when was at school and used to hear Johnners on the radio. the book is truly inspirational and should refresh anyone's love for the game of cricket played in its true spirit. the whole leg over story whilst youu know it's coming and you know it's the classic cricket commentary moment, it still cracks me up. im sure a lot of people took aggers advice and listened to it again and what makes it even funnier for me is the complete fun and enjoyment that both aggers and Johnners have are having whilst supposedly commentating. The book was a pure joy to read and had me smiling all the way through, even the sad parts are all written with love and affection. let's hope it inspires some of the english team down under now before the ashes!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent and Fun Read
A very well written and engaging story of the world of Test Match Special and the major influence that Brian Johnston had in creating that World, during his stint on the show from... Read more
Published 3 months ago by keithofchester
5.0 out of 5 stars Cricket
Given as a gift and LOVED. Now passed on to mother in law who is a cricket fanatic!!! She cant put it down!!
Published 6 months ago by McTavish
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read
For a cricket fan of a certain age it was quite interesting to get some background on one of the foremost cricket commentators of the past. Read more
Published 6 months ago by M. R. F. Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh for Goodness sake Aggers
DON'T Stop.
Having, like the author, grown up listening to Test matches on Radio it is a delight to be granted a glimpse behind what for me was always the best part of summer,... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Chris Wraight
5.0 out of 5 stars really afectionaly writen . by one genuine man about another. what...
its a loveley book writen by a great broadcaster . who you can tell had genuine respect for a truly nice and genuine man. not common in todays society. Read more
Published 8 months ago by john tyson
4.0 out of 5 stars An understated tribute to a game changer in our lives.
First published in 2010, this tribute to a legendary broadcaster, prankster
and cricket aficionado is a delight. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Laurence Dann
3.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive and respectful
Tends to be repetitive but captures the boyish enthusiasm of Jonners. An easy read but few insights into cricket or behind the scenes, the usual suspects are portrayed.
Published 12 months ago by acer
5.0 out of 5 stars Summer in a book
If like me you have been listening to TMS since childhood you will thoroughly enjoy this book. Aggers brought back some fantastic memories however, I need to apologise to my fellow... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Stuart Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Fans of cricket and TMS will love this
I spend my summers and winters listening to the TMS team on radio. This book is a good read and introduced me to some of the old stagers and founder members of TMS. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Lee Cassels
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for every cricket lover!
Well-written, humorous and essential reading for those of us who remember 'Johnners'! It is like being a fly-on-the-wall of the TMS commentary box.....
Published 15 months ago by Ian Watson
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