Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
A fascinating inside look at TMS
on 31 December 2012
I bought this book as a fan of TMS for fourty years now who had already bought and read several TMS books. This one, published after Peter Baxter has retired and, now well away from his connections with the BBC, is the first to reveal in detail, as opposed to briefly in passing, a slightly less savoury side to some TMS goings on. A recurring theme in the book is the strong mutual dislike between him and Don Mosey, who was such an integral part of the TMS dream team in the late 1970s and 1980s that has never been approached in quality since. The fact that this intense dislike was never even hinted at on air, or in previous TMS books is a tribute to the professionalism of the TMS team.
I demolished this book in only a day over Christmas. The only slightly annoying thing about it is that many of the anecdotes and even some of the text has previously been used in his book "Inside the Box", published on his retirement and is just repeated verbatim.
There is plenty of inside information on issues of broadcasting rights, on how TMS struggled to cover some series and the lengths to which people went on occasion to try to stop TMS covering those series (with some unexpected allies appearing, often just in the knick of time who saved coverage). There are plenty of extracts from Peter Baxter's tour diaries, with TMS-eye view of occasions such as the abandoned Test in Antigua and the Shakoor Rana affair: in the case of the latter what stands out is that fact that, at the time, those broadcasting were scarcely aware that anything particularly untoward had happened on the field of play.
The difficulties of broadcasting from some tours are detailed at length. unsurprisingly, India figures prominently but is far from unique in this respect; some of the particularly problematic locations are far more unexpected. However, the book is not just limited to the issues of how the commentaries and reports got back. There are also ten quite extensive sections on cricketing highlights that Peter Baxter has witnessed on tour over the years.
After so many years of touring there is one tour and one series that stands out as by far the author's favourite. Many cricket fans would expect it to be one of the Ashes series, or a Caribbean tour. In fact, it is, unexpectedly, the 1984/85 tour of India that started out as if cursed, but became a great success on and off the field.
Anyway, I loved this book. It is more than 300 pages, but large print and can be read quite quickly. It is a good read if you love cricket and want to know how it gets broadcast.