Brian Johnston

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Brian Alexander Johnston (June 24, 1912 - January 5, 1994) (known as "Johnners") was a cricket commentator for BBC Radio 4 from 1970 until his death. He was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford and joined the BBC in 1946, after service with the Grenadier Guards in the Second World War in which he won the Military Cross.

Johnston variously presented and participated in many BBC radio and television programmes, but was dropped from commenting on cricket on BBC television in 1970 and moved to Test Match Special (TMS) on BBC Radio 4. He retired as BBC cricket correspondent in 1972, to be replaced by Christopher Martin-Jenkins.

Johnston's informal and humorous style was very popular. When he died, the Daily Telegraph described him as "the greatest natural broadcaster of them all" and John Major, the British Prime Minister and cricket watcher, said that "summers will never be the same".

Johnston was responsible for a number of the TMS traditions, including the nicknames of fellow TMS commentators (for example, Jonathan Agnew is still known as "Aggers", Henry Blofeld as "Blowers" and Bill Frindall as "the Bearded Wonder") and, as a result of a complaint on air that he had missed his cake at tea during one match, the many cakes that the TMS team are still sent by listeners.

In one famous incident during a Test match at the Oval, Jonathan Agnew suggested that Ian Botham was out "hit wicket" because had failed to "get his leg over." Johnston carried on commentating (and giggling) for 30 seconds before dissolving into helpless laughter. Another one includes "Stewart waiting around the corner, legs wide open, waiting for a tickle".

Johnston was also responsible for the famous (perhaps apocryphal) quotation: "The bowler's Holding; the batsman's Willey" (Michael Holding of the West Indies bowling to Peter Willey of England in the Test match at the Oval in 1976).

In addition to his cricket commentary, Johnston hosted radio programmes such as Trivia Test Match and Sporting Chance. He also commentated on events like the funeral of King George VI, the coronation of Elizabeth II and the Royal Wedding of HRH The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.

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