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The Long Handle

A history lesson with David Lloyd

Why cricket is all about manning up, children

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes
Sky Sports commentators Andrew Strauss, David Lloyd and Ian Ward (from left)  ahead of day three, Australia v England, first Test, Brisbane, November 23, 2013

"So I said, start the car, man. Put some hair on your chest it will"  •  Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Following David Lloyd's widely praised intervention in the Anderson-Jadeja controversy this summer, the BBC has commissioned the professional beer-drinker, anecdote-peddler and microphone-botherer to film a new series. Here is the pilot.
Manning Up: A History of the World with David Lloyd
Our hero is standing in front of Michelangelo's David, in Florence
Bumble: Hullo! If you don't know me, I'm David Lloyd, cheeky northern chappie, from Lancashire, in the north. You can probably tell that from me accent. I've always been interested in history. Well, I'm old enough to remember most of it, eh!
Cut to Bumble standing on the top of Nelson's column
Bumble: (Shouting through a loudhailer) But the more I read about it, the more I find meself thinking, you know what David, this history lark is all about one thing!
Cut to Bumble standing in front of a statue of Stalin
Bumble: That's right. It's all about manning up. Like this lad behind me. Standing up straight, big bushy eyebrows, nice sensible shoes. He did well for himself. Sadly history is full of blokes who let the side down, manliness-wise.
Cut to Bumble standing outside the British Museum
Bumble: Take Goliath for example. He was a big lad, was Goliath. Like Freddie Flintoff, only bigger. Which reminds me of an anecdote about Fred, you'll like this. One day Fred was at the bar, drinking. Big lad, Fred, as you know…
Director cuts away to stock footage of a recently painted park bench drying in the sun
Bumble: So anyway, Goliath. Yes, huge he was. Bigger than me mum's house. And there's a story in that. Have we got time? Producer's saying we haven't got time. Shame that. Maybe it'll make the director's cut.
Cut to a room in the Bronze Age section of the museum
Bumble: I'm here with Professor Brainbox
Professor: It's Wilcox, actually
Bumble: No son, it's Brainbox. Everybody needs a quirky nickname in this business.
Professor: I really would prefer it if you used my correct title
Bumble: So, Brainbox, you're saying that this Goliath bloke got hit by a little pebble and just lay down.
Professor: Well it was a little more complicated than that. He was struck by a missile from a slingshot, flung by David.
Bumble: Good name for a hero, that.
Professor: These slingshots were used as weapons in battle during the Bronze Ages and could be remarkably effective when used to propel a small stone.
Bumble: Small stone, pebble, whatever. The point is, this lad Goliath went down like a sack of spuds and didn't bother getting up again.
Professor: Well yes. According to the Bible story.
Bumble: Dear oh dear, what a powder puff. And what happened to his lot, the Philistines? Were they all as soft as him?
Professor: Well, the Philistines were overrun eventually, but I don't think you're quite grasping the moral behind the story.
Bumble: I think I do, sunshine. The moral is that this Goliath lad needed to man up
Professor: It's not really a question of manning up, if I could explain -
Cut to Bumble standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC
Bumble: Blimey, that's a beard, is that. This lad here looks proper manly, doesn't he. But apparently he's not all he seems.
Cut to the interior of the White House
Bumble: I'm speaking to me mate Barry here.
Obama: President Obama.
Bumble: So, Barry, this Abraham Lincoln lad was sitting there in the theatre, gets a little bit of a bullet wound in his head. So what did he do next? Complain to the match referee? Blame a handsome Lancashire lad? It doesn't sound very manly.
Obama: What do you mean?
Bumble: The whole thing. Not at all manly. Number one, going to the theatre. Listen, we don't get a lot of theatregoers where I grew up. Unless they're coming to see me one-man show at Accrington Working Men's club, plenty of tickets still available.
Obama: I really don't follow -
Bumble: And number two, he just lay there.
Obama: He'd been shot in the head.
Bumble: Shot in the head, eh? That reminds me of a whimsical northern anecdote
Obama: I don't think this is the time for whimsical northern anecdotes
Bumble: There's always time for whimsical northern anecdotes. Did I tell you the one about Jack Simmons? You know Jack, don't you, big lad, he is.
Obama: I'm sorry, I have no idea what you're talking about
Cut to Bumble standing outside his local pub, The Guest Speaker's Arms
Bumble: That's all we've got time for this week. In the next episode, I'll be asking how civilisation would have turned out if Julius Caesar hadn't gone about wearing a dress and how big girl's blouse Alexander the Great would have fared against Lillee and Thomson. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a story. You'll like this one. There was me, Fred Flintoff, Foxy Fowler and James Anderson sharing a jacuzzi at the Ritz when all of a sudden -

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here