'Test Match Special' all at sea at moment of victory

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The Independent Online

"Sandettie light Vessel Automatic. West by South-west two. More than 27 miles. One thousand and two. Rising more slowly."

So those listening to Test Match Special on Radio 4's long wave frequency were told, at the precise moment Chris Tremlett tore down the wicket of Australian Michael Beer – the full stop on one of English cricket's greatest chapters. The BBC, meanwhile, had cut to the shipping forecast.

"Welcome back to our Radio 4 long wave listeners," announced commentator Jonathan Agnew, some minutes later, "to the news that England have just won." It completed perhaps the most extraordinary hat-trick in cricketing history. The forecast, broadcast at 12:48am every day, managed to interrupt the deciding moment of all three of England's Test victories.

An essential guide for seafarers, the shipping forecast's broadcast times are set in stone. So if England's winning moment in each match came in the middle of the 12.48am update, that was just too bad. At least only those tuning in on long wave were affected. Those listening online or on digital missed nothing. Scant comfort for the rest unless, of course, they were trying to navigate Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic, wherever that is.

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