Artist Profile - Henry Blofeld
|HENRY BLOFELD - 50s-60s - Cricket commentator, upper crust, distinctive||Click to listen||Right click to download|
Henry Blofeld's long and chequered career began, so he is reliably informed, on 23rd September 1939. He was educated, to a point, at Eton for whom he played cricket for three years, from 1955 to 1957. He went straight on to King's College, Cambridge where they suffered him for two years before showing him the door in 1959. By this time he had acquired probably the worst cricket Blue as an opening batsman since the Crimean War although he managed to hit a first-class hundred against MCC at Lord's.
After three abortive years in the City of London, he began writing about cricket for The Times in 1962 and has been a journalist ever since. He has written at different times for The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Sketch, The Daily Mirror, The Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, and, since its beginning in 1986, for The Independent and, later, The Independent on Sunday. His weekly column in the Independent is widely read.
His broadcasting career began at the start of the seventies and in 1972 he joined BBC's Test Match Special for two of the one-day matches against Australia. He has been a regular member of this famous commentary team ever since and after the departure of John Arlott and Brian Johnston, has become the great character of the show. His rich, plummy tones are known and loved worldwide for he has done much commentary on both television and radio while covering cricket overseas.
For three years, from 1991 to 1994, he defected to Sky Television before returning to TMS after the death of Brian Johnston early in 1994. Since then he has worked for some years for Sky's Sportsline and also been a contributor to GMTV. 'Blowers' as he is fondly known, has a tremendous zest for life; his broadcasts are always lively and full of humour and he is famous for the way in which he paints the picture for listeners omitting no detail, down to the pigeons, aeroplanes, red buses and helicopters. He invariably has his leg pulled unmercifully by his colleagues and this is all very much part of the fun and the atmosphere of Test Match Special. His latest gaffe, which caused shrieks of laughter, came this summer (2003) when he described the young Pakistani, Yasir Hamid as Yasser Arafat. It will be a long time before he is allowed to forget this.
'Blowers' is also a well known and humorous after-dinner speaker when he tells uproarious stories from the commentary box as well as others about his wide circle of friends who range from Dad's Army's Clive Dunn through Noel Coward and Ian Fleming who pinched his name for James Bond's arch enemy, and onto the blind pianist, George Shearing. 'Blowers' has also made a name for himself in the theatre where he performed a series of one-man shows around the country, called An Evening With Blowers. Anyone who has been to one of these shows will know just how funny he is... He is also the wine correspondent of the Oldie magazine and this is a subject about which he is always ready to offer an opinion - having had a reasonably generous taste of the particular product first.
Henry’s fourteenth book, “Cricket's Great Entertainers”, was published in the autumn of 2004. His humour comes through well in all his books and his last, “Cricket and all That”, reached the Top Ten Bestsellers list... His autobiography, “A Thirst for Life”, which came out in 2000 was also a huge success and his last four books are all still selling well in paperback. It can be seen from this brief resume of his career that he is truly a man of many parts with the humour to fit just about any situation.