Full Name

Captain Henry Blythe Thornhill Wakelam

Born

May 08, 1893

Died

July 10, 1963, Essex County Hospital, Colchester, (aged 70y 63d)

Education

Marlborough; Pembroke College, Cambridge

Other

Commentator, Journalist, Author

Teddy Wakelam was an English sports broadcaster and rugby union player. He played rugby for Harlequin FC and became its captain. On January 15,1927, Wakelam gave the first running sports commentary on the BBC on England v Wales at Twickenham. He was sat next to a blind man from St Dunstans and told to act as if he was talking just to him. A week later he undertook the first football commentary on British radio, Arsenal - Sheffield United at Highbury. Later in 1927 he would also covered cricket and Wimbledon. It was at the All-England Club he would prove to be an unflappable character: in the mid '30s he accidentally set fire to his notes but kept on commentating as if nothing had happened. In 1938, Wakelam became the first cricket commentator on TV when he broadcast on the Lord's Test. John Arlott called him "a natural talker with a reasonable vocabulary, a good rugby mind and a conscious determination to avoid journalese." He was rugby correspondent for the Morning Post and wrote a number of books including Harlequin Story (1954) about the history of his old club, who he captained in the early 1920s.
Martin Williamson

Photos
Teddy Wakelam commentating for BBC radio