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Miles Jupp: Fibber In The Heat (A Cricket Tale)

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

If anybody should be a cricket commentator, it really ought to be Miles Jupp. He’s passionate about the game, is an erudite and witty writer and has the posh, plummy vowels that Test Match Special would love.

Unfortunately, the powers-that-be insist on such tiresome prerequisites as journalistic credentials and in-depth knowledge before handing out such jobs. Apparently playing an inventor in the kids’ TV series Balamory isn’t experience enough.

But that didn’t deter our noble storyteller, who decided he wanted to become a professional cricket writer and broadcaster during England’s 2006 tour of India, and would use every ounce of his determination and cunning to achieve that aim.

This is the story of his attempts to blag his way into the press box and be accepted as one of the pack – and surprisingly entertaining it proves even if, like me, you are no fan of the game. You don’t have to understand what a googly is to appreciate that ‘Richie Benaud’s Beowulf’ is a beautiful turn of phrase, typical of those which adorn this exquisite piece of storytelling. A couple of references to the likes of Mike Atherton and David Gower will surely be enhanced if you know their quirks, but that’s about it.

Jupp might be known as a stand-up, but this isn’t that sort of show, with laughs that ebb and flow with the narrative, rather than being forced upon it. It is frequently very funny, but often it is not (by design, mind you).

In brief summary, Jupp persuaded contacts in BBC Scotland and Welsh newspaper the Western Mail to vouch for him in an attempt to wrangle a press pass. His aim is to get pieces published and paid for, and submit broadcast reports, so he can officially call himself a ‘cricket correspondent’. Unfortunately, because his chosen media were in Scotland and Wales, their interest in England was limited. Plus it soon became clear he wasn’t fitting in inconspicuously with his fellow, but much more knowledgeable, hacks on the tour.

His script is exquisite, full of elegant metaphor, and his oration of it is compelling. You root for him, even though he’s clearly being a chancer, and become so absorbed in the misadventures, both professional and social, you barely notice time ticking away until Jupp produces a neat moral to wrap everything up, drawing to an end a classy hour of storytelling precisely as it should be.

Review date: 17 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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