Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Village Cricketers Take On the World by Harry Thompson - review by Hugh Massingberd

Hugh Massingberd

The Legion that Never was ‘Listed

Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Village Cricketers Take On the World

By

John Murray 242pp £50 order from our bookshop
 

Cricket – as my old boss E W Swanton never tired of pointing out to us hacks who toiled away at his encyclopedia of the game – holds up a mirror to character. It is also not a bad metaphor for life. In a moving afterword to this funny and inspiring book by the late Harry Thompson – television producer (Have I Got News For You, Harry Enfield and Chums, They Think It’s All Over, etc), biographer of Richard Ingrams and Peter Cook, and prize-winning novelist (This Thing of Darkness) – his widow Lisa describes how at his burial in Brompton Cemetery someone tossed a cricket ball into the grave.

Cricket and long-distance travel were Thompson’s two chief passions. They are celebrated here to good effect in an account of the Captain Scott Invitation XI’s remarkable world tour, written shortly before Thompson’s death from lung cancer in November 2005, at the age of forty-five. (Incidentally, for the benefit of bossyboots

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter