The uncomfortable finality suggested in the title, … And Welcome to the Highlights, says it all. After 61 years of near exclusivity in covering domestic cricket on the telly, the BBC have lost the lot. This is the story, from teething trouble to dentures, of a broadcasting era that will never be repeated.

Almost every other day, it seems, the Beeb are relieved of another sporting event by their rivals but their role as broadcasting pioneers should not be forgotten. We owe them any number of memories, not least those in black and white, with impossibly fast moving characters, accompanied by outlandish commentary, flickering across the screen.

In this time of “super slow-mo” action and cameras hidden away in stumps, it is easy to forget how raw and untrusted television was only six decades ago. The history of BBC Television’s cricket coverage is, therefore, a history of the evolution of television itself.

This is also a nostalgic and unashamedly rose-tinted reminder of happier days on the field of play. Hutton’s 364–only the second game covered on the telly–in 1938, the Ashes victory in 1953, Laker’s 19 wickets in one Test against Australia in 1956, Botham’s Ashes in 1981, Gooch’s 333 in 1990, are among many features that form the backdrop to the story itself. Fully illustrated, there is insight, too, into the many commentators with whom we have become so familiar. –Thrasy Petropoulos

And Welcome to the Highlights: 61 Years of BBC TV Cricket




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