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on 12 October 2010
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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on 24 October 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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on 18 October 2010
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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on 2 November 2010
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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on 12 October 2010
This is a wonderful book by cricket waffler Jonathan Agnew about Brian Johnston, full of anecdotes and funny stories, it also looks at the influence that Johnners had on Aggers during his broadcasting career and a "must read" for lovers of cricket and TMS.

I thoroughly recommend you to buy this book and settle down for a charming tale of cricket folk.
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on 5 November 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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on 25 October 2010
What a pleasure this is. I've just listened to the audio book version narrated by the author. Anyone familiar with Jonathan Agnew's journalism or broadcasting won't be surprised by this witty and charming book staring the incomparable Johnners. Full of warm and funny recollections this really is a feel good and amusing book for any cricket fan, or even fans of quality and entertaining broadcasting. It isn't entirely based around Brian Johnston but includes other stories about TMS and the other presenters - this is by no means a criticism by the way! One point regarding the audio version - it includes the actual audio of the famous 'leg-over' commentary which is an added treat. A perfect read or listen.
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on 27 October 2010
As an avid Test Match Special listener I downloaded the audio version of this book full of hope and expectation that Aggers would guide me through the life of Johnners and perhaps make reference to the "leg over" moment and I was not disappointed.

Particular highlight for me is the tales of practical jokes and wind ups that had me crying with laughter for many minutes.

A thoroughly entertaining listen and must have for every TMS fan.
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on 8 January 2011
First let me say this is a really good read for anyone with even a vague interest in cricket, and the fact that Johnners and Aggers are from different generations means it has a wide appeal to different age groups. I've long been a fan of books of personal recollections of people on the cricket circuit - including Frances Edmonds (wife of former England spinner Phil Edmonds) through David "Bumble" Lloyd and Simon Hughes their stories of the inside world of county cricket and especially cricket touring have always been thoroughly entertaining.

The book is really three things in one - part biography of Brian Johnson, part autobiography of Jonathan Agnew, and part collection of anecdotes of how the pair came together and worked alongside each other to create some memorable moments in cricket broadcasting history.

Having grown up watching and listening to Brian Johnson commentating on TV and Radio, and also watching Agnew playing the game and then transitioning into broadcasting, this book was always going to be a winner for me as I remember many of the events in the book. What Agnew adds is the behind the scenes angle that the public won't have heard about including some of the fraught relationships in the Test Match Special commentary box. Agnew's easy broadcasting manner translates well into the book (it ought to as he's also been a print journalist for many years as well).

My only grumble is the title really - although in the first page or so Agnew admits this isn't meant as a biography of Johnson, looking at the title and the cover you would be forgiven for thinking it was and so some may be disappointed to find large swathes of the book are totally unrelated to him.

Well worth a read though. An easy page turner and brings back some great memories.
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on 17 January 2016
Excellent book, not only covering Jonathan's time in TMS with Johnners, but also how he moved from professional cricket into sports journalism and becoming the BBC Cricket Correspondent. He also gives his views on where the future lies for TMS, and Test cricket in general.
It did help that I am a similar age to Jonathan, so remember a fair bit about what was happening in English Test cricket at the time.
Thoroughly recommended.
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