Stumped! Test Match Special could be bowled out by India fees row
Cult cricket report may fall silent for first time in 40 years after BBC was asked for more money
With its calypso-tinged theme music, a never ending supply of cakes sent in by listeners and Blowers' regular updates on double-decker buses journeying up and down the Harleyford Road, for thousands of fans the thought of cricket without BBC Radio's Test Match Special is simply unimaginable.
But, for the first time in 40 years, the show, now starring Jonathan Agnew, Geoffrey Boycott, Michael Vaughan and Phil Tufnell, may not be accompanying English test matches this winter, the result of a disagreement over fees between it and the Indian cricket authorities.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has asked the BBC to pay an extra £50,000 to use broadcast facilities at the various stadiums during the series. Sky Sports have also been asked to pay £500,000.
In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said: "We are continuing talks with the relevant authorities in India about what we regard as unreasonable demands for facility fees.
"We remain hopeful that the talks will be resolved successfully and we can broadcast Test Match Special from India for England's test series."
The first of four tests is due to begin on 15 November, with the final contest starting on 13 December.
If a solution cannot be found, Sky Sports' comentators and pundits – Sir Ian Botham, David Gower, Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain – would be likely to add commentary over the top of television pictures provided by the Indian host broadcaster from their London studios. However, the BBC, which only has the rights to broadcast live over the radio, would be unlikely to do the same.
An official from the BCCI told the Mail on Sunday: "It is not as if they have only asked for a commentary box. They have demanded a full control room, just like the one our host broadcaster has at every venue.
"If you have to create an additional space of 2,000 sq ft, fully air-conditioned, it will bear a lot of cost. And neither the BCCI nor any of our affiliated units who would be hosting the match would bear the additional cost," he added.
Since its inception in 1957, Test Match Special has provided many of the most famous moments in cricket broadcasting history. In 1991, Agnew asserted that Botham was out hit wicket because he had failed to "get his leg over". This caused Agnew and his fellow commentator, Brian "Johnners" Johnston, to collapse into uncontrollable giggles for minutes afterwards, in what is regularly called the most memorable sporting commentary ever.
Johnston, who died in 1994, once complained on air that he had missed his cake at tea during one match. The commentary team have been inundated with cakes ever since.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
First full-length look is finally here
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
Brooklyn Beckham poses in Arsenal training kit following rumours of signing for the Gunners
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer news LIVE: Manchester United to make £37m Mats Hummels bid; Inter plan Yaya Toure move; Shola Ameobi joins Crystal Palace
Australian Open 2015: Novak Djokovic vs Stan Wawrinka match preview
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures