Bodyline (1984–…): Season 1, Episode 6 - Episode #1.6 - full transcript

With the series level
at 1-all, I needn't

tell you how important victory is,

not only to us, but to the
morale of people back home.

I have inspected the wicket,

and I am pleased to say that it
is much truer than in Melbourne.

Needless to say, I expect nothing less
from our bowlers than their best.

Aye. Well, it weren't only the
bowling that were weak in Melbourne.

That's quite correct, Harold.

There will also be a few changes
to the batting line-up.

Eddie Paynter will be
replacing Pataudi.

And I am well aware that I
have not scored enough runs.

Indeed, should you all believe that my
performance doesn't warrant selection,

I am perfectly happy to stand down.

I don't want anyone playing who's
going to let the side down.

That includes myself.

Yes, well, I'm sure I
speak for the team

when I say that your
value as a tactician

far outweighs your... temporary
loss of batting form.

I, for one, want you in
charge on that field today.



I think you should play, Douglas.

If I may say so, skipper,
there is just one complaint.

You never win the bloody toss.

I really would like the chance
to bat first for a change.

I'll do my best. Thank you.

Excuse me, Mr Jardine.

It's me lucky charm.

Got me into the team. Might
help you win the toss.

Thank you, Eddie. Thank you.

Bloody marvellous! Congratulations.

Aye. That's something to
write home about, Eddie.


I think we shall bat.

Good morning and welcome
to the Adelaide Oval,

where the news is that England has won
the toss and Jardine has elected to bat.

This is the third Test, and the
series stands at one match all.

The ground is in splendid
condition after yesterday's rain

and may have livened the pitch up
a bit on this beautiful, hot day.

A huge crowd is already in hand,

anticipating some very
interesting cricket.

There are changes to both sides.

For Australia, Ponsford
returns in place of O'Brien.

And for England, Verity replaces Bowes

and the Nawab of Pataudi
has been omitted,

allowing Eddie Paynter
to make his debut.

And it's Jardine in his harlequin cap
to take the first ball here from Wall.

He comes up and bowls, and this
is pushed into the covers.

They think of one, but Bradman
out there like a panther.

A beautiful piece of fielding.

His return comes back right
over the stumps to Oldfield,

and no run there, and great applause
from the pro-Australian crowd.

It's a very slow and
patient start by England,

with runs just coming at a trickle
here at the Adelaide Oval,

and singles have been the
story of the morning.

The new opener Jardine has
hardly played a stroke.

Ready now for the next
ball to come in from Wall.

And this one, he has a swing.
He's got a snick.

No, it's gone through to the keeper.
There's no chance there.

Yeah, you're a lucky bastard.

No, just a bastard.

I've come to demand an apology.
Oh. What for?

I don't appreciate being
called a 'bastard'.

Fair enough.

Which one of you bastards called
this bastard a 'bastard'?

Silly bastard.

And so England, after a hopeless
start, when they lost 4/30,

have fought back to a respectable
first-innings score of 341.

That was reached mainly due
to two excellent partnerships

between Leyland and Wyatt,

and secondly, between
Paynter and Verity.

The onus is now very
strongly on the Australians

to weather the early onslaught.

Alright, you blokes.

Alright, we're all square.

341. It's well within
range on this ground.

Jardine knows it.

So he and his boys will be coming
down hard, make no mistake.

So let's get our heads down

and show them that we can handle
anything they have to offer.

There's a lot at stake here.

I want to win this match
as much as you blokes.

But what's more important
is to show the Poms

that we know how the game is played.

And of course, it remains to be seen

if and when Jardine will use the
controversial bodyline tactics.

That expression is an abomination!

I am using legitimate leg theory.

My dear boy, you are
guilty of sophistry.

Abominable as that expression must be,

it is an accurate description
of your tactics.

Excuse me, Douglas, but the
umpires have taken the field.

We must each follow the
dictates of our own conscience.

What on earth are you doing?

It's an old trick of Tiger Smith's.

Protects the hands. Good heavens, man.

A couple of hours out there,
you'll stink to high heaven.

Anyway, hurry up.

Allen will share the opening
attack with Larwood,

and he'll bowl here to Fingleton,

with what I would describe
as a fairly orthodox field.

Up comes Allen. Fingleton plays.

And there's a dive across there by Ames.
I think it's a catch.

Yes, he's out. And Fingleton
is out for a duck.

Good catch.

- Wonderful.
- Well bowled, Gubby.

What on earth is that smell?

It's revolting.

Hey, Jardine! Leave our
bloody flies alone!

An unfortunate start for Australia,

and Bradman to come in
in only the second over,

with the ball still brand-new.

A lot will rest on the shoulders
of Australia's number one batsman.

And although this record crowd of more
than 50,000 are keen to see Bradman,

I'm certain they wouldn't
have minded waiting

until there were a few
more runs on the board

or at least many more
overs had been bowled.

Allen starting to move in here.
What will Bradman's approach be?

Well, he plays a shot
at the first ball.

He's got it wide of the gully.
It's gone down to third man.

And Bradman gets a single.
He's off the mark.

And that's the end of the over.

And Bradman will keep the strike,
as Larwood will bowl the next over.

And there's going to be a midwicket
conference between the two batsmen.

Larwood's getting a bit of bounce
from this end, so you watch it.

Thanks very much, George.

Now, the battle between Larwood
and Bradman continues once again.

Who's it going to be today?

This one is pitched well up.
It's turned nicely by Bradman.

There's no leg-side field
there at the moment,

and Bradman goes through for a single.

He's scored 2 runs in 2 balls -

that's a good start for
Australia's champion batsman.

Now, the field ready again.
Still an orthodox one.

No indication of the bodyline
field at all, as yet.

And it's Woodfull, this dogged
Australian opener and captain,

to face the next ball from the
champion fast bowler Larwood.

It's hit him. Yes, it's
hit him very badly.

And Woodfull - under the heart-
falls away to the off side.

He's very badly hurt.


You right?

Would you like to leave the field?


You're sure, Bill?

Well, take your time.

Yeah, here we go again.

Lions, 1. Christians, nil.

Well bowled, Harold.

There must be concern in the Australian
camp for Woodfull's condition,

but he's going to bat on.

And he looks to me to
be as white as a sheet.

And he's called for the bodyline
field to move into position

for the first time this morning,

and just listen to that crowd reaction.

I don't believe this.

Put in the boot while the man's down.

Look at them. Like a
pack of hungry sharks.

Make you feel proud
to be an Englishman?

Mad. Utterly mad.

Don't you think you're overdoing it?

And here's the first ball from
Larwood with the bodyline field -

that row of vultures all
waiting for a catch.

- It's short and it's popped up.
- Yes, Bill!

And the bat's been knocked
right out of Woodfull's hands.

It's on the pitch as they
go through for a single.

The ball just getting over
the top of the short legs,

but for Australia's point of view,
Woodfull is away from the strike.

You stay down here, Woody.
I'll take him for a while.

Bradman is 8. Australia,
1 wicket down for 18.

The runs taking about
45 minutes to get.

So it's a slow rate of progress
by the Australian team.

Only two bowlers used so far-
they're Larwood and Allen.

It's still Larwood coming
in to bowl now to Bradman.

It's short. He just plays
an evasive little...

Didn't play a shot at all. The ball
came down to leg slip, to Allen.

I believe that Bradman's out caught.
Yes, he's out.

Mrs Bradman, I cannot
expect you to believe this,

but I should have been quite pleased to
see your husband score a century today.

I'd sooner field elsewhere,
if it's all the same to you.

Good luck, mate.

Excuse me, Mr Warner.
Certainly, my dear.

Look! Something has to
be done about this.

Are you alright?

Yes, I'm alright, Jess.

It's the batsmen out there
we've got to worry about.

In this report from the Adelaide Oval,

Australia has made a
bad start once again -

Fingleton, a duck and
Bradman out for only 8.

Now McCabe and Woodfull
are batting together

against the fiery fast bowling of
Larwood, with Allen in support.

Larwood has used the
bodyline field this morning

and Woodfull was struck a
nasty blow earlier on.

But he's still out there,
battling for survival,

with the score just reaching 30
after more than an hour's play.

Now McCabe has the strike.

It's been an uncharacteristic innings so
far, with hardly an attacking stroke.

This time he just fends it away.

It's gone straight to
Jardine in the leg trap,

and another victim to
the bodyline field.

McCabe is out for 8.
Australia, 3 wickets down.

And the old firm of Woodfull and
Ponsford back together for Australia.

And here's a bowling change -

the left-arm man Voce is
coming on in place of Larwood.

But there's no change to the field
here - it's still bodyline.

So, Voce moving in to bowl to Ponsford.

And he offers no stroke - not
playing a shot on the on side.

What happened? Ponny just got hit.

Voce comes up again.

And... again, Ponsford
not making a shot.

The bastards. He's turning
his back on them.

He's not quick enough
to get out of the way.


We seem to be watching two
different games of cricket here.

We have Voce with bodyline from one end

and Allen with an orthodox
field from the other.

Now, Woodfull has the strike.

This one is well up,
and it's bowled him!

Clean-bowled! Woodfull's out.

Well bowled, Gubby.

Well, see you in church.

My dear fellow, I most
sincerely regret this...

I don't wish to discuss it, Plum!


There are two teams out there.

One of them is trying to play cricket.

Yes, well, he's hardly the first
batsman to be hit by a ball.

Oh, no. Exactly.

I mean, W.G. Grace always used to say

that injuries are part
and parcel of the game.

Well, I've had my share of injuries, as
you well know. Including a broken rib.

That was the reason I tried
to preserve some sense of...

'Woodfull Protests
Against Shock Tactics'.

What do you mean by going to the
Australian dressing rooms in that way?

You have no right to go there
without first consulting me!

You have left me in a
terrible situation.

Yes, well, Douglas, as
Plum was just saying,

it's his job to keep
things running smoothly.

Please, Bob!

Do you call this smooth running?

You have allowed
Woodfull the opportunity

to publicly accuse me of
not playing by the rules.

You have played right into the hands of
those bloody Australian journalists!

I hardly think this is the
time, nor the place...

It is one thing to have the Australian
press publish lies about me.

It is another thing altogether to
have the Australian captain accuse me

of not behaving in a
sportsmanlike manner.

In the heat of the moment, Douglas.

I'm sure Bill didn't mean to imply

that you were behaving
in an unsportsmanlike...

Then let him say so, publicly!

You speak to him.

I expect to read an
apology from Woodfull

in the papers tomorrow morning.

Without fail.

What will you do?

Well, I shall have to do something.

Otherwise the Test series
won't resume tomorrow.

I can't believe that Bill's apologised!

That's playing right
into Jardine's hands.

That's just what the bastards want.

I've already proved they're bowling
at the batsmen. You all saw that.

This is adding insult to
injury, apologising to Warner.

I was in here when Warner came in, Vic.
You weren't.

Bill didn't do any apologising.

Well, Bertie, it must have been later.

The point is, are we going to
start doing something about it?

Such as? Fighting back.

We could give them a bit
of their own medicine.

What with? Tim's the only
fast bowler we've got.

If Clarrie and Tiger and me
start bowling short and fast,

it'll be a bloody joke - they'll
knock us all over the paddock.

I'm not having a go at you blokes.
You've done a great job.

What I'm saying is, we've got
to get some more fast bowlers.

We've got to get Bill to talk
to the board and the selectors.

What about, Vic?

About the way Jardine's
playing the game.

Well, I don't like it any
more than you blokes.

Then what did you apologise for?


It's all over the front page.

This isn't true.

The last time I saw Warner
was on Saturday in here.

And I certainly didn't apologise.

Right. Well, what are you
going to do about it?

Nothing. Nothing?

I'm not going to dignify a lie.

But, Bill, you've got to refute it.

And we have to start
fighting fire with fire.

You saw what happened on Saturday.

I kept moving away from the wickets.
The balls kept coming at me.

Bill, they're bowling at our
bodies, without question.

We have to begin bowling at them.

We're here to play cricket.

And that is precisely
what we're going to do.

You call that cricket?

You alright?

Course he's not alright.
I'm fine, Woody.

Are you willing to stick with it?

Look, if it's a choice
between getting out

and getting hit, I'm
prepared to wear it.

Thanks, mate.

Look, I don't care for
Jardine's tactics either.

But I don't believe we
should stoop to his level.

Didn't you read your father's
Bible, Bill? An eye for an eye.

It also says he who lives by
the sword dies by the sword.

Then we're in big trouble.

Come on, you blokes.
Bert, what do you say?

I've been playing cricket
for quite a while now.

I've seen a lot of men get hit.
But it was never like this.

This is deliberate, as Vic says.

But that's where I draw the line.

When we start going out
there to hurt one another,

that's when I call it a day.

I love the game of cricket.

I've always loved it,
ever since I was a kid.

When I used to watch Clarrie
and Dainty and Bertie

out there on the turf at the SCG,

all I ever wanted to do was to
play cricket for Australia.

And wear this baggy green cap.

Now that I've been given that honour,

I realise what a great
responsibility it carries.

Not to the board or the selectors...

but to those people out there...

to my team-mates...

and most of all, to this cap.

See, we've all got a lot to live up to.

My parents and my wife
are very proud of me.

And I just couldn't do anything that...
they would consider wrong.

Anything that would go against
what this cap stands for.

I'm with you, Bill.

Thanks, mate.

Sit down!

Go home!

Welcome to the third
day of the third Test

here at the Adelaide Oval,

for the continuation of
Australia's first innings.

Ponsford and Oldfield will continue
their partnership from Saturday,

when they defied the bodyline field and
the bodyline bowling for a long time,

and they're receiving enthusiastic
applause from a very big crowd here,

despite the fact it's a Monday.

The place is filthy with coppers.

They've got mounted troopers
out behind the grandstand.


Australia to bat on in the first
innings at 5 wickets down for 131.

Ponsford, recalled to the
Australian team for this match,

must have been hit a dozen times in
his courageous innings of 74 not out.

The keeper Oldfield has given
valuable support - he's on 41.

Ponsford has the strike,

and we're going to take up
where we left off on Saturday-

it's bodyline straight away.

Ponsford the batsman,
Larwood the bowler.

Play cricket, you mugs!

Can they do this, George?
Is this in the rules?

I'm sorry, Bertie. There's
nothing I can do to stop it.

In all of my experience with cricket,
I have never seen anything like this.

What's happening out
there on the ground?

What's happening in the dressing-room?

What's happening to cricket
between England and Australia?

The batsmen are getting hit so often
that the crowd's in a very nasty mood.

It's Oldfield now to
face up to Larwood.

He should leave the field.

Come on, mate. We're going home.

Bert, it's me. Come on, mate.
You'd better come off.

No. No, I'm alright. Can you stand?

What an awful scene this is.

In all of my experience, I repeat, I
have never seen anything like this.

Bastards! Bastards! Bastards! Bastards!

Bastards! Bastards!

Bastards! Bastards!

Bastards! Bastards! Bastards!

Bastards! Bastards!

Bastards! Bastards! Bastards!

Bastards! Bastards!

This isn't cricket!

It's war!

Bertie's got a fractured skull.

The doctor said a fraction
either way and he was dead.

What about his missus?

She heard it on the wireless.

She's on her way from Sydney now.
He's going to be alright.

He was a bloody tail-ender!

The boys still here?

We'd better have a talk.

Mr Ponsford?

Give it to Bertie. As a memento.

Thanks, mate.

I've been thinking about the future.

I don't know about you blokes,
but it can't go on like this.

Bloody oath.

Whatever happened out there today, I'm
sure of one thing - it wasn't cricket.

It's a funny thing - my dad
always wanted me to play cricket

because he thought it was
a game for gentlemen.

It must be breaking his heart.

I'm no squib, mate. I
can take a few knocks.

But there's a time when
courage becomes stupidity.

- Yes, I know.
- Yeah, that's for sure.

What are you saying, then, Woody?

I'm saying it's my responsibility,
what's happened to you blokes.

Come on. It's a team effort.
I'm the captain.

It's the captain's job to
ensure the welfare of his team.

I've led you into this.

There's nothing anyone could have done.

Well, I've made my decision.

I'm going to the Control Board.

Unless they can get an
assurance from the English

that we've seen the last of bodyline...

then I intend to resign as captain.

No, skipper. The Australian team.

You tell those weak bastards the
Australian team's resigned.

Hear, hear, Vic.

Oh, come on, Bill! You're making
a mountain out of a molehill!

But you gentlemen were there.

You must have been as disgusted
as I was at the violence.

Closest thing to a riot I've seen.
I didn't mean in the stands.

- I meant on the pitch.
- Oh, yes.

Certainly Jardine went too far.

The point is, what are you
going to do about it?

In view of the fact we're down
2-1, it's a difficult situation.

Now, we don't want to be
accused of squealing.

Look, in my understanding of it,

there's nothing in the rules to stop
you giving it back to the bastards!

That's not the solution, Aubrey.

Now, what we propose is a
meeting with Pelham Warner.

We'll make it very clear to him

the damage that's being
done to cricket itself.

And you know how strongly
Plum feels about tradition.

We are sure Plum will
bring pressure to bear.

It seems the best course,
don't you agree?

Huh! It's a start.

Well, you tell the boys that
we have it in hand, hmm?

Let's keep this to ourselves, shall we?

I think the time for
that's passed, don't you?

A little more reasonable
than I imagined.

Don't underestimate him.

It worries me that he won't retaliate.

I think we're dealing
with a man of principle,

and in my opinion, they
are very stubborn men.

We've done everything we can.

I mean, no-one can hold us
responsible for the English team.

It's up to them now.

Telegram for Mr Warner.

Mr Warner.

Say, is that a telegram for Mr Warner?

Mr Warner? Mr Warner.


Thank you very much.

I have no intention of contributing
to your scurrilous stories.

Oh, you mean yesterday's piece?

Well, anyway, I'm here about today's.

Wondering what you're going to
say to the Board of Control.

You are going to the meeting?

What meeting?

The meeting the board have
asked Mr Warner to attend.

A double Irish whiskey, thanks, Snow.
No ice. And a glass of water.

I haven't been asked
to attend any meeting.

Haven't you received a telegram? No.

Hmm. This must be it, then.

No comment.

It's a terrible thing.

Mr Jardine has driven
us all into a corner.

Our own captain says it can't go on.

I feel very deeply for
the Australian team,

if that's any consolation.

What we need, Plum, is an assurance
that Douglas will moderate his tactics.

I wish it were otherwise, but
that just isn't possible.

All we want is a return to
more conventional play.

My dear fellow, I couldn't
agree with you more.

But the MCC captain has
always dictated tactics.

Surely the team manager
has a great influence.

Well... in normal circumstances, yes.

- Bloody Jardine!
- Aubrey, please.

All I can say is... I'll speak to him.

Thank you, Plum.

Let me assure you, on behalf of us all,

none of this reflects on you.

If you don't mind a word of
advice from an old hand,

I'd be looking at other avenues.

The board have simply asked
me for a reassurance

that you modify your tactics.

You have no right to discuss our
tactics with the Australians!

There's no need to raise your voice.
I'm just reporting what they want.

Well, you seem to be prosecuting
it with unusual vigour.

My dear chap, I have made my
position perfectly clear.

I've tried to counsel
you, I've asked you,

and you've just thrown
it back in my face.

It's no surprise to me that the
Australians want it stopped.

I must say, I agree with them.

Whatever your personal feelings,
you are the MCC manager.

Need I explain to you
where your loyalty lies?

How dare you?!

My loyalty's not in doubt.

So, that must settle it.

What do you mean?

Well, since your loyalty
is not in doubt,

then you can go to the
board on behalf of us all.

Tell them that the MCC
will use whatever tactics

are best suited to winning the Ashes.

But, Douglas... Thank you, Plum.

If you don't mind me asking, is
there any suggestion you can make?


My dear chap...

I think you should do what
your conscience dictates.

If you wish to pursue the matter,
you'll have to take it higher up.

Warner recommends we
take it to the lords.

That's a bloody stupid idea! The last
thing we want's an official brawl!

God knows where that'd end! Maybe
say that Woodfull's not satisfied.

Woodfull doesn't... He will
demand that we do something.

The players don't run Australian
cricket. The board does.

Nevertheless, we must
keep faith with the team.

We're obliged to take
it as far as we can.

Look, we have a business to protect.
We can't jeopardise the series!

We'd be thousands of
pounds in the hole.

And you know where that would leave
Australian cricket? Down the dunny!

Nobody's jeopardising the series.

I suggest we draft a
cable to the lords.

Saying what? "Your captain's a cheat"?

I can see them accepting that.
They'd have to support Jardine.

Just a minute. Just a minute!
We'll draft a cable.

A very strong cable. Allen...

Hear me out.

And we'll show it to Woodfull.

Get him to agree to the wording.
Change it, if he likes.

And we'll ask him to sign it.

Sign it? Allen, that's brilliant.

A protest goes to Lord's,
but it's unofficial.

Talk about having your
cake and eating it too.

But let's push it. Let's push it.

Not just Woodfull... Come on, Bill!

But Bradman to sign it as well,
on behalf of the entire team.

Bowled a bouncer... hit a boundary.

As we suspected, not
much luck with Warner.

But don't worry. We've
got a new strategy.

Plum himself suggested
we go above his head.

- Did he?
- As good as.

So, we've drafted a
cable to the MCC lords.

Read it. See what you think.

That's good stuff.


You think that's a bit strong?

No. No, it's hit the
nail right on the head.

I like the point about "relations
between the two countries".

It's important to stress that
it's gone beyond cricket.

Anything you think we've missed?

What about something concerning
the danger to players?

Ah. Yes. Well, um...

How's about "causing intensely
bitter feeling between the players,

"as well as injury"?

Hmm? Don?

Fine by me.

Anything else?

So you'd be happy to sign that?

I should have known. Nobody
grows a backbone overnight.

That's insulting. That makes it 15-all.

I warned you months ago about
this and you chose to ignore it.

Now you want us to fight your battles.

No. You can forget that.

If you don't back the team
now, you won't have a team.

Are you threatening the board?

No, I'm telling you that I'm
prepared to resign as captain.

And the rest of the team will follow.

Oh, I see. We've been
caucusing, have we?

Call it what you like,
but cricket in Australia

will have three chiefs,
no bloody Indians.

We'll have to consider this.


Outside there are a group of reporters.

Either you go out, read that
cable as your response,

or I go out and tell them we've
been sold down the river.

It's your choice. The board
will not be dictated to.

I think we all know who'll get the
support of the Australian people.

Our names are not going on that cable.

Hold on, Aubrey. Obviously Bill and
Don feel very strongly about this.

Well, bugger that! We're not
putting the tour at risk.

There'll be an uproar if we accuse
them of being unsportsmanlike.

We're not sending that as it stands.

There'll be an even bigger
uproar if the team resigns.

The players haven't
given us much choice.

You've got a quorum.
Put it to the vote.

Thank you for the suggestion.

As chairman, I say...

we deal with it.

We send it.

I agree. Send it.


I want it recorded in the minutes.

I strongly object to the
sending of that cable.

"Bodyline bowling has
assumed such proportions

"as to menace the best
interests of the game..."

Hallelujah. We're saved, brothers.

"Making protection of the body by
the batsman the main consideration.

"This is causing
intensely bitter feeling

between the players, as well as injury.

"In our opinion, it is..."

"as well as injury."

"In our opinion, it
is unsportsmanlike."

Unsportsmanlike?! Who
do they think they are?

No, no. Go on.

"In our opinion, unless
stopped at once,

"it is likely to upset
the friendly relations

existing between Australia and England.

"Signed, Australian Board of Control."

Well, you can see I
wasn't overstating it

when I said it was
something of a crisis.

Fire straight back. Tell
them we deplore their cable.

Let's raise the stakes.

They're talking about "friendly
relations" between the two countries.

Well, if it's that bad, why not
suggest cancelling the tour?

Ah. That'd kybosh them.

They've always got their
noses in the ledger.

You don't agree? Oh, no, no. I agree.

That's fine for the cable,

but I was thinking that we
might open up a second front.

I thought we might enlist
the help of the palace.

Well, after all, as we've said,

it does affect relations
between the two nations, hmm?

His Majesty's private
secretary, Sir Clive

Wigram, is a good friend of cricket.

Oh, you're quite right.
It's gone beyond a game.

I don't know if you've heard,

but there's talk out there of
them boycotting English goods.

Surely not. Yes, yes.

And the wharf labourers are
refusing to unload British ships.

Huh! A bit hysterical, if you ask me.

But, then, I've never
understood the mob.

I thought you'd be
interested, Sir Clive.

We've drafted a reply to their cable,

objecting to the word

I should say so.

We've offered to cancel
the rest of the tour.

Call it off?

Strong as that, eh? Only if
they think it's necessary.

I'm sure they won't.

Well, naturally, it's not what we want.

Well, I'm pleased to hear that.
Well, what are you looking for?

We want the Australians to back down.

I was hoping, um... would it be
possible for one of our people

to approach the Australian Government?

Make it clear to them how serious
it would be at a government level

if the cricketing ties between
our two countries were severed.

Flex a muscle, eh?

Well, we can speak to Ernest Crutchley,
head of the British mission.


If you do that, we'll send the cable.

Good afternoon, Ernest.

Prime Minister. Good of you
to see me at short notice.

My pleasure.

After all, there are not many places

where an Englishman would
be welcome these days.

Sit down, Ernest.

I take it, sir, you've seen the
Australian board's cable to the MCC?

Yes. I've just received a
copy of the MCC's reply.

It seems the entire tour
is now under threat.

As I understand it, the suggestion to
cancel the tour comes from the MCC.

Quite right, Prime Minister.

But of course, only in response to
a fairly belligerent initiative

from the Australian board.

I'm not sure I'd describe
'unsportsmanlike' as belligerent.

Most Australians would
call it accurate.

I understand your position, sir.

But the MCC has said any decision
to cancel rests with the home side.

In that cable, they say they would
consent only with great reluctance.

It would certainly be a great shame

after all these years of healthy
rivalry and wonderful cricket.

Exactly the sentiments of
His Majesty's Government.

As I see it, the problem is this.

Given that the MCC has thrown the
ball back into the Australian court,

the board may feel obliged to
respond by abandoning the series.

What's wrong with the MCC
withdrawing its cable?

Oh, I don't think that's possible.

Not without the board
also withdrawing theirs.

Sounds a wonderful idea. We
could start from scratch.

There is another proposal.

Cancelling the series would
obviously affect relations

between Australia and England.

In such circumstances,

the Prime Minister could
prevail upon the board

to ensure that the tour continues.

I could. It's true.

In return...

I could also ask His
Majesty's Government

to see if Mr Jardine won't
temper his approach.

Why, I'd be happy to.
I'll do whatever I can.

"We have fullest confidence

"in captain, team and manager.

"We have no evidence that our
confidence has been misplaced.

"We hope the situation
is not now as serious

"as your cable would seem to indicate.

"But if you consider it desirable
to cancel remainder of program,

"we would consent, but
with great reluctance."

Out of bloody control.

I said it. Approach the lords
and it would end in a brawl.

Aubrey, there's no mileage in that.

We're in it now. We've
got to deal with it.

We've no choice. We've got to back down.
The tour must go ahead.

A tour's never been cancelled.
Not in the history of cricket.

I'm not convinced we should rush in.

We have commitments.
Contractual commitments.

Two-thirds of our income's
from Test cricket.

It'd be pretty humiliating for them
if their team were sent packing.

It could be a try-on.

We might make a conciliatory gesture
but keep the future of the tour open.

Jesus, mate... They
might meet us halfway.

Get Jardine to make some concession.

Allen, you're pissing in the wind!
Read this cable.

"We have the fullest confidence
in captain, team and manager.

"We are convinced they would do nothing

"to infringe either the
laws of cricket..."

Phone call, Dr Robertson.

I said no interruptions.

It's the Prime Minister, sir.

Robertson, Prime Minister.

Ah, Allen. Sorry to worry you.

I'm sure you've got
enough on your plate.

Not at all, sir.

No doubt you know why I'm calling.
I've just seen the MCC's cable.

We were just considering it now.

I know you're in a difficult position,

but the Government believes that
any cancellation of the tour

could have serious consequences.

I understand, Prime Minister.

There are larger issues at stake.

For a start, the relationship between
Australia and the mother country.

Certainly, sir.

The board wouldn't wish to do anything
that might embarrass the Government.


If it's any help, I've asked
His Majesty's Government

to see if they can
influence Mr Jardine.

Thank you, sir. Very decent of you.

Not at all. Let's hope
it has some effect.

We'll leave it at that, then, shall we?

Yes, Prime Minister.

Er... thank you.


That's it, then. I'll draft a reply.

Tell them we don't consider
it necessary to cancel.

Yes, that's an idea, I think.

Douglas. A word, please.

Plum. Yes, go ahead. In
private, if you would.

I'm sure Gubby and Bob
will keep a confidence.

Very well. I warn you, you
might find it embarrassing.

Please, sit down.

I have just had a call from Ernest
Crutchley, head of the British mission.


He tells me the Australians
are going to back down.

The series will be resumed.
Wonderful. Well done.

And he has asked that you
temper your approach.

Oh, has he, now?

And is Mr Crutchley conversant
with the laws of cricket?

My dear fellow, he is a representative
of His Majesty's Government.

You can't dismiss him
as easily as you do me.

And this is an official approach
on behalf of the Government?

Not exactly. It's the
result of discussions

with the Australian Prime Minister.

Ah. So, he has approached you at
the behest of the Australians.

How can you say that? How
can you be so ignorant?

The man is concerned with
international relations,

with the image of our country abroad.

How can you be so gullible?

The Australians are trying everything.

They were so certain of victory. Now
faced with defeat, they cry foul.

For the last time, you
are being asked to stop.

And for the last time, no.

In that case, I order you.

On whose authority?

Mr Warner won't be joining us.

One day, I trust, you will
see the tragedy of this.

Everything that our country
cherishes is being destroyed.

Honour, duty. Cricket itself.

Well, whatever happens, old boy, it's
on your head. I wash my hands of it.

I'm sorry. I've lost my appetite.

Oh, good Lord.

"We, the Australian Board of Control,

"appreciate your difficulty in dealing
with the matter raised in our cable

"without having seen the actual play.

"We unanimously regard
bodyline bowling,

"as adopted in some games
of the present tour,

"as being opposed to
the spirit of cricket

and unnecessarily dangerous to players.

"We are deeply concerned that the
ideals of the game shall be protected,

"and therefore appoint a subcommittee

"to report on action necessary
to eliminate such bowling

"from all cricket in Australia
from the beginning of next season.

"We'll forward copy of committee's
recommendation for your consideration

"and hope for cooperation in
application to all cricket.

"We do not consider it necessary
to cancel remainder of program."

They haven't withdrawn

Er, not explicitly, but, um...

I think the whole text of
the cable is conciliatory.

They've learned their lesson.

I'm quite satisfied.

Yes, I agree.

Let's say we leave the matter
there and get on with the game.

Have you seen this? It's the
text of the Australian cable.

They say, "We regard bodyline bowling as
being opposed to the spirit of cricket

"and unnecessarily
dangerous to players."


And they haven't even withdrawn
the word 'unsportsmanlike'.

Yes, I know.

Well, what are you
going to do about it?!

I've told you, old boy.
I wash my hands of it.

While that word remains on the
record, this tour cannot continue.

I refuse to listen.

Well... perhaps you'll
listen to the team.

Come in.


I want to see the team. In the bar.

Are you alright?

Come in.


I'm sorry to interrupt.

I'd like to see you two in the bar.

Yes, sir. Aye. Right, skipper.

That's bloody perfect timing, as usual.

Excuse us.

Oh, I'm sorry. Wrong room.

I apologise for the hour,

but we have reached a point where
decisions have to be made.

It's not necessary for me to detail the

bitterness that our
tactics have caused,

both on and off the field.

Mr Warner and I hold
sharply opposing views,

and earlier this evening,
this led to harsh words.

I would like to make it clear

that I take full responsibility
for the use of leg theory.

It is the captain's prerogative
to determine tactics.

But I believe that the
situation now demands

that the team should have their say.

For my part, I am sure the
tour would be a happier one

if we abandoned this approach.

But I don't believe that
we could win the Ashes.

If the team support the use of leg
theory, there remains one obstacle -

the word 'unsportsmanlike'.

I have learned that this accusation,
levelled against us all,

remains on the record.

I do not intend to continue the
series unless it is retracted.

It is a slur on our honour...

our prestige...

and our country.

Others may not think this,

and if this is the case,

then I shall stand down as captain
and withdraw from the team.

I shall leave the room, if you wish.

I'm a... much better
bowler than I am speaker.

By my reckoning...

we owe skipper a debt.

See, uh, selectors said I were too old.

But now I'm bowling faster than ever.

And people said Bradman
couldn't be stopped,

but Bill bowled him out for a duck.

And when we left, we were like
a team going to slaughter.

And now we've got them on the run.

And it were skipper that showed us how.

Now, we haven't come
12,000 miles to lose.

I want to keep playing Tests.

And I want to keep bowling leg theory.

And I want to win.

Speak up.

Does anyone feel differently?

As vice-captain, I'm sure
I speak for the team.

Douglas, you have our full support.

Plum, perhaps you could
use your good officers.

Point out to the Australian
board how we feel as a team.

Get them to withdraw the word.

Y-you know I'd do
anything for the team.

Plum, if they don't withdraw the word,

tell them that none of us will
be on that train tomorrow.

Thank you.

Thank you, skipper.

Goodnight, Douglas. Goodnight, Bob.

Goodnight, skipper.

Goodnight, skipper.