Bodyline (1984–…): Season 1, Episode 4 - Episode #1.4 - full transcript

Yes? Here's the team for today's trial.

Uh, I'm sorry, Douglas, I...

You'll notice that I've given
you four fast bowlers.

You needn't use Gubby much,

but I'd like you to give Larwood,
Voce and Bowes a thorough work-out.

Yes, well, that's...

I've instructed them to
try a bit of leg theory.

So you'll give them whatever
field placings they ask for.

That's four quicks.


They're playing four fast bowlers.

Are you ready for the toss, Bill?

Where's Jardine?

Mr Jardine's not playing.

Mr Wyatt, I'd like to
change the field a bit.

Of course, Harold. What would you like?

Try some leg theory. Well,
Douglas said you might.

They've only got 50 on the board.

It seems a bit early to
go on the defensive.

Aye... No. Well, I want
to go on the attack.

See, the ball may have lost its
shine, but the pitch is still lively.

Good bit of bounce.

I'd like two men in the deep and
four close in on leg side, please.

That seems a trifle excessive.

Look, what say I give you
one extra man close in?

Mr Jardine wanted me to try
it with more, skipper.

Four, you say?

Aye. Please.

Gubby, short forward
square leg, please.

Bill, deep square leg.

Walter, leg gully.

Hello. What's this?

Cripes. They're bowling at the batsman.

You alright? Yes, fine.

You sure? Yeah. Yeah.

You are sure? Yeah. I'm fine.

The bastards.

They are bowling at the batsman.

No, it's fine. Get out.


By gee!

Where would you like us
to field this time, Bob?

Normal positions, please.

Mr Wyatt?

I'll have the same field
as Harold, thank you.

How's that?!

Is he clowning around?

He's trying not to get hit.

How's that?!

Is it true that he went fishing?

Aye. Fishing, so I heard.

A strange one, that.

Keeps himself to himself, that's all.

Well, he was right about those
leg-theory tactics, any road.


He knows what he's doing, alright.

Hello, Mr Warner. Hello. Lads.

Have you seen Douglas?
He's down there, sir.

Aye. In the other carriage.

Have you seen the newspapers?

I am rather worried about what
the Australian press is saying

about our bowling tactics.

I am not interested in what the
Australian press has to say.

Well, it's... it's...

it's just that they suggest
that our tactics are, um...

that they could cause a nasty accident.

Oh, none of my tactics is accidental.

My dear fellow, you don't understand.

They are saying that we are
deliberately trying to hit the batsmen.

This could cause considerable
friction for us.

Well, that is a managerial
problem within your realm, Plum.

I am here...

to win the Ashes.

It just seems to me it was
simply a lively wicket that day.

Then, of course, there was the rain.

In Melbourne, there's always the rain.

Yes, there was the rain and
it was a lively wicket.

But I've played a lot of
cricket on lively wickets,

and I know that that bowling was part
of a premeditated plan of attack.

Are you suggesting that these
tactics are against the rules?

I'm suggesting that these tactics
are against the spirit of the game.

Thank you for your concern, Don.
We'll certainly look into it.

We face a very dangerous situation.

And if you don't act on it
now, somebody will get killed.

That's a trifle dramatic, surely.

Don, Don, we're here to discuss the
matter of your writing during the Tests.

You don't seem to understand how
dangerous this thing can be.

This ball weighs 5½ ounces.

A fast bowler like Larwood
propels it towards the batsman

at 100 miles an hour.

That gives the batsman
a fraction of a second

to decide whether to play the ball...

or get out of the way.

What do you think about the
English bowling tactics?

What did you and the board talk about?


Don? Are you alright?

Yes, Chook. I'm alright.

Hello, Dr Robertson?

I'd like you to know you won't
have to make a decision

regarding my husband
and the first Test.

The doctor's just seen him and
decided that he's unfit to play.

Here's Dr Peters now.

Bradman to miss first Test!

Latest edition!

On behalf of radio station 2UE,

welcome to the Sydney Cricket
Ground on this fine 2 December.

It's certainly a day which every cricket
fan in Australia has been waiting for

since 1928-29,

when the English cricket team
last visited our shores.

On that occasion, they took the
Ashes back to England with them.

Thousands and thousands
of cricket lovers

are streaming into the
Sydney Cricket Ground

on this, the first day of the first
Test between England and Australia.

Despite the loss of Don Bradman,

Captain Woodfull will lead a strong
team of experienced greats -

Ponsford, Grimmett, Oldfield,
Kippax and Richardson,

and the youngster Jack Fingleton,
who's playing in his first Test.

And so is Stan McCabe, who
toured England in 1930,

who'll be playing in his
first Test in Australia.

Are you dressing for the heat, Fingo?

No. For the sconners, Napper.

Hello there. G'day.

I'm Alan Harvey. Uh, London.

Clive Cooper. Sydney.

I usually cover tennis, actually.


This is my first Test.

That's my only hat.

Oh, for goodness' sake!
A dog! What more?

Now, you be quiet, alright?

Oh, my goodness! You're not
supposed to bring dogs in here.

No, he's alright. Look. Look at him.
He's a champion.

As skipper Jardine leads
his team onto the field,

we're reminded of what
great names are included.

Vice-captain Wyatt has
been an English skipper.

Herbert Sutcliffe and Wally Hammond

will undoubtedly go down in the history
of sport as cricket immortals.

Australian-born Gubby Allen
is now a top amateur.

And, of course, there's the
fierce and awesome talent

of that great bowler Harold Larwood,
the Nottingham professional.

And for those of you who are
not familiar with Larwood,

he's not very tall -
only 5'9" in height.

But in the world of cricket, he's
right on top of fast bowling.

You see him now approaching Jardine,

who examines the pitch before
commencing his field placings.

And the applause from the huge crowd

as the Australian opening
pair- Woodfull and Ponsford -

make their way down to the gate.

Good luck, fellas.

Well, Mum's made your
favourite chocolate cake.

She said you're only to get a piece
if you're still in at lunch.

Has it got the almond icing?
It certainly has.

I'll be there.

Good luck, mate. I'll take Larwood.

Good luck, Woody.

Morning, Bill. Morning, Gubby.

Lovely day for it. Yeah.

Middle and leg, thanks, George.


Much finer, Wally.

That is centre and leg.

Right arm over, Bill.


Yes, skipper!

Woodfull opens the scoring
for Australia with a single.

The two Bills - the great opening
pair, Woodfull and Ponsford -

out there in the middle, with all
Australia right behind them.

Come on, Woody!


It's a good, solid start for Australia,
with Ponsford on 10 and Woodfull on 4.

And there's a firm stroke
again from Ponsford.

It could be a couple more, with Jardine
racing right out to the boundary.

They're not scoring all that quickly,
but the crowd doesn't mind that,

and both batsmen are starting
to look quite confident.

And Australia 0/16.

The openers, Woodfull and Ponsford,

looking solid against the fast
attack of Larwood and Voce.

Righto. Go on.


Ponsford has notched up the
first four of the innings,

and Jardine once again chased the
ball all the way to the boundary.

And he hasn't moved back, even
though it's the end of the over.

England's captain looks
deep in thought.

Try some leg theory, please, Harold.
Right, skipper.

Short forward square
leg, please, Gubby.

Herbert, leg slip.

Wally, leg gully.

Bill, second leg slip.


Now it's on for young and old.

So, Jardine has decided to
use this unusual placement.

And this is my first opportunity to
speak about the packed onside field,

which we saw for the first
time in Melbourne last week.

There are wide-open
spaces on the off side,

and the criticism of this leg theory

is that the fast bowlers,
Larwood and Voce,

appear to aim directly at the
batsman, rather than at the stumps.

And my question for Jardine - if
he's not trying to bowl them out,

how does he expect to
dismiss experienced batsmen

like Woodfull, Ponsford and McCabe?

Woodfull has the strike,

and Larwood ready to
start this first over

with the new, packed
field on the on side.

And it's short, and
Woodfull's been hit.

He made no real attempt to
get away from that ball

and it struck him on the
shoulder, on the left shoulder.

Larwood just glares down the pitch
and goes back to his bowling mark.

The fieldsmen crowding in.

Larwood racing up at top speed.

And this one's a real thunderbolt,

and Woodfull ducking down as
it goes through to the keeper.

The whole character of this
game has changed in two balls.

A moment ago, the batsmen
were right on top.

But Larwood, plus this new field,

has brought a different
complexion to this Test match.

Woodfull ready. Larwood again.

And he's played it away. And,
yes, he'll get runs here.

This gives the crowd
something to cheer.

They've taken one. They've
called for a quick second.

A return... a misfield there.

A dive by Woodfull, but he's safe.
And two more to Australia.

It's the left-arm bowler Voce,
to come in from the far end.

He'll bowl here to Ponsford.

And Ponsford's been hit.

That was a nasty one. Got
him right on the ribs.

Ponsford, for the first
time, has been hit.

Ponsford tending to walk
across in front of his stumps.

Voce hasn't got the real pace of
Larwood, but he's very quick.

Ponsford just plays
this one away on the

off side. They'll go
through for a single.

And that will bring Woodfull down
to face the left-arm bowler Voce.

Woodfull, the man they
call the 'Unbowlable'.

And he has to pull away from that one,
which was short, about chest-high,

right over the top of the middle stump.

Voce again. Woodfull gets an edge.

Has he? It's gone to the keeper.
There's an appeal for caught behind.

Woodfull... Is he out? Yes.
Woodfull is out.

Bad luck, Woody.

Good luck, son.

Head down, Jack.

Australia 1/22,

and it's the youngster Fingleton, in his
first Test match, to join Ponsford.

He'll bat at number three, the spot
usually occupied by Don Bradman.

The wicket fell off the
last ball of the over,

and Ponsford will be taking strike
here to the new over from Larwood.

No ball so far in the last few overs
has been pitched up on a length.

Larwood going right to the
edge of the return crease.

And it's short once again.
Ponsford is struck.

Bill Ponsford determined
to remain inside

the line of flight here.
Anyone for tennis?

He's going right in
front of his stumps.

Here's Larwood, and Ponsford
goes back this time.

He plays it on the on side. Gets a run.
He's called them through.

And they've taken a single. Yes,
they'll be through for one.

Nice return, but well run.

Now, that brings Fingleton
to face his first ball -

the youngster looking
pretty nervous to me.

He'll be looking for that first run.

And here's... a rocket from Larwood,

and it struck Fingleton just above
the waist, and it must have hurt.

He's just rubbing the spot there.

Fingleton learning very quickly what
Test match cricket's all about.

Fingleton goes down over his bat again.

Facing the fastest man in the world.

Up comes Larwood. Fingleton plays this.

A nervous-looking shot.
He might get a run here.

He's called through by Ponsford.
They go through.

Fingleton has scored his first run in a
Test match, but a very streaky shot.

That's a sequence of four
straight, short-pitched balls,

with one in the middle
that was on the stumps.

Now, what will Larwood do this time?

Bowling to Ponsford, and Ponsford
goes across, and he's gone right out,

and his leg stump's been
knocked out of the ground.

Ponsford went too far across
and Ponsford's been bowled.

There goes my chocolate cake.

Catch it!

What a major turnabout here
at the Cricket Ground,

and it's not good news for Australia.

Ever since Jardine altered his field and
the bowlers started using leg theory,

Australia has collapsed.

Woodfull, Ponsford,
Fingleton, Kippax - all out.

It's 4/72, and now McCabe joins
Richardson at the crease.

Come on, Vic. Let's give
these Pommies some stick.

Middle, thanks, umpie.

A little to the on.


Rugged stuff.


Give it to 'em, Stan!

Go on!

Three in it!

Go, Vic!

Stan McCabe has captured the hearts

of every man, woman and
child at this ground.

He's 77 now. He's taken some risks.

But can he go on in the face of this
English attack and score a century?

Today, Stan McCabe has taken
over the mantle of Don Bradman.


Relieve Harold for a while.

Happy to, Douglas. But I'm
not bowling to this field.

You'll bowl as I tell you to bowl.

It's bad enough having to field to it.
I won't bowl that way.

You will if you want to play.

You can't threaten me.

Do you want to play or not?


The crowd wild with excitement.
McCabe is 97.

Another 3 to make one of the greatest
centuries ever seen on this ground.

He's taken many chances,

but surely Dame Fortune will smile
on him for just 3 more runs.


Well done, Napper!

Come on, Napper!


Well done, Napper!

You little beauty! Good on you, Stan!

You showed them, Napper!

Well done, Napper!

♪ And so say all of us

♪ For he's a jolly good fellow

♪ And so say all of us! ♪

- Hip, hip...
- Hooray!

Hip, hip... Hooray!

Good on you, Napper! I got
away with it this time.

I was just lucky.

Don't expect me to do
it again, alright?

At lunch on the second
day of the first Test,

Australia all out first
innings for 360,

and of these, no less
than 187 to Stan McCabe.

And his batting on this second
morning was just sensational.

Now it's England's turn,

and can Hammond, Sutcliffe and
company, and the newcomer Pataudi,

do as well as the Australians?

You are the cream of England's batsmen.

I know that none of you are
seeking personal glory,

that you each share my philosophy
of cricket as a game for 11 a side.

I shan't try to lecture
you on batsmanship,

the condition of the wicket and so on.

You are all prepared for that.


well, perhaps you should
be offering me advice.

Bob... this is your first time here

and your first time as opener,

but I know that you'll
rise to the occasion.

Walter, I recall that you were described
as the greatest batsman in the world.

I know that you'll live up to that.

As for Your Highness,

I count it an honour to be your
friend as well as your captain.

May this be a glorious
Test debut for you.

What more can I say?

"Though all we made depart

"But the old commandments stand

"In patience, keep your heart

"In strength, lift up your hand."

Catch it!

Well bowled.

Well bowled, Harold. Well bowled!

Two more down, Gubby. Good catch.

Uh, we've got them beaten now.

Do you think we can ease up a bit

on the short-pitched bowling
and the leg theory?

Not while Mr Bradman
is up there watching.

Like an avenging demon,
Larwood has taken 5/28,

and Australia is all out for 164.

At the close of play, Australia's
combined total of 524

is exactly the same as
England's huge first innings.

This means that England has to
score 1 run only tomorrow morning

to win the first Test-

an unhappy prospect for Australia.

Who's going to pay a shilling
to see that tomorrow?

I am.

You would too if you
believed in our boys.

Oh, go on.

You never know. It
could rain for a week.

"And so, with the absence of Bradman,

"England triumphs in the first
of the five Tests." Stop.

"The critical questions are - will
Bradman be fit for the second Test?"


"If so, will the Cricket Board allow
him to continue to play?" Stop.

"And finally, will
Jardine's men continue

bowling on the line of the body?"


That'll be 3s 4d, thank you.

Crikey, I've left me coat behind.

Uh, could you just send that off, dear?
Uh, I'll go back and get me wallet.

I'm sorry. I'm not allowed to do that.

Look, fair go. If I don't send
that off, I'll miss the deadline.

How much is it? 3s 4d.

How's that?

Well, you're fourpence short.

That's all I've got.

Can I owe you a threepence?

I'm sorry. Alright. I
can lose a few words.

How many do I have to lose? Three.


Change "the line of the body"...

to 'bodyline'.

That's two words.

No, it's not, madam. It's one.



- Come on.
- Play, Mr Bradman!

How's that!

Oh! Come on.

Catch it!

What, Jessie?

It's Dr Robertson.

Hello? Yes.

I see.

Well, I don't have any choice.

I have signed a contract
to write for a newspaper.

Look, it's a contract, and
I intend to honour it.

Dr Robertson, I can't
play cricket forever.

I've got to think of a career.

And if cricket interferes with my
career, then I must give up cricket.

No, I'm afraid that's final.


G'day, Chook. Is he in?

Mr Packer's busy.

Hello, Chook! Hello, Mr Cooper.

Mr Packer's busy. He'll want to see me.

We're in big trouble.

You heard about the board's decision.

They're not going to
let him play because

he's going to honour
his contract to you.

Now they're cutting off their
nose to spite their face.

Could be an improvement, eh?

It's not doing our cricket any good.

Bradman's our one chance
of keeping the Ashes.

The whole of Australia
worships the man!

It's not just Sydney.

He's all the lot of them have
got to brighten up their lives.

Many of them haven't even got a job.

By jingoes, they've got
their national pride.

It's our sporting men and
women who feed that pride.

The Pommies had to change the rules of
billiards to try to stop Walter Lindrum.

The Yanks murdered Phar Lap.

And now our own Australian Cricket
Board is trying to nobble Bradman?!

There are some fine batsmen on the
Aussie team, I'm not denying that.

But without the Don, we might
as well burn the bails now

and hand the Ashes to Jardine
on a silver platter!

I know...

I know I don't have to tell
you how hard times are.

Your newspapers carry stories every day

of the destitute, the unemployed,

the helpless, the
homeless, the heartache.

It's a grim picture.

This country needs heroes, and
that's what Don Bradman is.

He's our hero.

Gentlemen, when Don Bradman
was offered a contract

to play cricket in England,

I gave him a job so he could stay
here and play for Australia.

Now you're holding my contract
against him and all Australia!

Don't you realise what Bradman
means to this country?

We'd like nothing better
than to have Don play.

But the board is restrained
by standing orders.

In other words, gentlemen, you want me
to carry the baby for you yet again.

Well, Don.

These gentlemen aren't keen on
your writing for me, it seems.

There's nothing in my agreement with
them which obliges me to play cricket.

But my contract with you
is very firm, Mr Packer.

You can force me to write.

Oh, I realise that.

But I want you to forget writing.

For the time being.

That's right, Don.

I'm releasing you from the contract.
You can play in the Tests.

If you want to.

In that case, Mr Packer...

I will play.

At last.

I have come 12,000 miles for this.