No. 17 April 24, 2010

The first television broadcast

Seventy-two years ago, video cameras broadcast a Test for the first time, from Lord's. The coverage has evolved since, but the good still outweighs the bad


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Television took cricket to a larger audience © Getty Images

1938

A Lord's Test is always special. But 1938's was more unique than most: it was the first cricket match to be shown on television. At 11.29 on June 24, a little over six months after the birth of Kerry Packer, Ian Orr-Ewing handed over to Teddy Wakelam, sat by a couple of cameras on the top tier of the Nursery End, to begin commentary as Ernie McCormick bowled the opening over to Charlie Barnett.

Coverage of cricket has inevitably evolved - remember those old videos where every second over was viewed from behind the wicketkeeper? - and has been fundamental to Packer and to the development of one-day cricket in particular. Now we have double-ended coverage, Hawk-Eye, more than 30 cameras, stump-cams stump-mikes, Snickometers. Yet in some ways the advances have been a double-edged sword: television holds too much clout for the traditionalist's comfort, a recent example being the sacrifice of a decent contest to accommodate day-night matches during the World Cup. Good outweighs bad, though: anyone in any doubt should shove on a video of Botham's Ashes, of Sachin batting, of Warne and Murali at their most magnetic. Television has brought cricket's distinctive magic to parts that no other medium can reach.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Cricinfo Guide to International Cricket. This article was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Actonian on April 25, 2010, 20:03 GMT

    Does anybody know whether any of this footage is still in existence and if so is it available on DVD ? Can't find anything on YouTube.

  • anilkumble82 on April 25, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    Thanks Steve, could you tell us if someone hit a six and it was hit outside the stadium into another stadium like a football or hockey.

  • nelrod03 on April 25, 2010, 2:38 GMT

    Now we have Spidercam. Had seen a bit in the ICL & now seeing it @ the IPL semi-finals. Close up from just above the pitch & zoom back to upper level

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on April 24, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    Nice information. Always adds that edge to a cricket buff's reportire

  • on April 24, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    Steve, I wanted to ask u something else too. I asked this before but has there been any opener in the history who on his debut of any kind of cricket, (test, ODI, T20(I), first class or List A) hit a six on the very first ball of the match he faced.

  • friendshire on April 24, 2010, 7:19 GMT

    great information.. thanks a lot.. could u tell us anything that someone had hit a six and the ball passed from one city to another, the stadium could be very near to any city so this might be record in history

  • Actonian on April 25, 2010, 20:03 GMT

    Does anybody know whether any of this footage is still in existence and if so is it available on DVD ? Can't find anything on YouTube.

  • anilkumble82 on April 25, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    Thanks Steve, could you tell us if someone hit a six and it was hit outside the stadium into another stadium like a football or hockey.

  • nelrod03 on April 25, 2010, 2:38 GMT

    Now we have Spidercam. Had seen a bit in the ICL & now seeing it @ the IPL semi-finals. Close up from just above the pitch & zoom back to upper level

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on April 24, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    Nice information. Always adds that edge to a cricket buff's reportire

  • on April 24, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    Steve, I wanted to ask u something else too. I asked this before but has there been any opener in the history who on his debut of any kind of cricket, (test, ODI, T20(I), first class or List A) hit a six on the very first ball of the match he faced.

  • friendshire on April 24, 2010, 7:19 GMT

    great information.. thanks a lot.. could u tell us anything that someone had hit a six and the ball passed from one city to another, the stadium could be very near to any city so this might be record in history

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  • friendshire on April 24, 2010, 7:19 GMT

    great information.. thanks a lot.. could u tell us anything that someone had hit a six and the ball passed from one city to another, the stadium could be very near to any city so this might be record in history

  • on April 24, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    Steve, I wanted to ask u something else too. I asked this before but has there been any opener in the history who on his debut of any kind of cricket, (test, ODI, T20(I), first class or List A) hit a six on the very first ball of the match he faced.

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on April 24, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    Nice information. Always adds that edge to a cricket buff's reportire

  • nelrod03 on April 25, 2010, 2:38 GMT

    Now we have Spidercam. Had seen a bit in the ICL & now seeing it @ the IPL semi-finals. Close up from just above the pitch & zoom back to upper level

  • anilkumble82 on April 25, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    Thanks Steve, could you tell us if someone hit a six and it was hit outside the stadium into another stadium like a football or hockey.

  • Actonian on April 25, 2010, 20:03 GMT

    Does anybody know whether any of this footage is still in existence and if so is it available on DVD ? Can't find anything on YouTube.