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Australian TV miniseries from 1984, retelling the story of the "Bodyline" cricket series from 1932-33. The English team had developed an unusual — and highly dangerous — tactic to counter the seemingly unstoppable Australian batsman Don Bradman. Bodyline involved bowling very fast and short, bouncing the ball toward the batsman's shoulder, and keeping several fielders close in behind him to catch him out if he attempted to play it. Several players were struck and injured, and the violence of the tactic nearly caused a diplomatic incident between England and Australia.Takes its time, particularly at the beginning; the first episode is more or less an extended prologue. The first match of the series doesn't even start until episode 3. But while it takes a few liberties with the facts, it's very good at setting the historical scene. Stars Hugo Weaving as English captain Douglas Jardine.Plot summary to be added.
Ain't No Rule: The reason Jardine got away with Bodyline. The rules were subsequently amended.
Bad Boss: Jardine in the last episode, forcing Paynter and Larwood to play through injury and illness and holding their wages over their heads. note But at least one member of the team also admitted that "if it ever comes to a fight to the death, I want the skipper on my side"
Batman Gambit: Douglas' rise to the captaincy of England involved a couple of these.
Berserk Button: The MCC balks at the accusation of "unsportsmanlike" behaviour, and threatens to abandon the tour if it isn't retracted. Douglas' parentage is also one.
The Captain: Australian captain Bill Woodfull plays this trope to the hilt.
Cluster F-Bomb: The crowd at the Adelaide test when things turn nasty. The police were brought in to protect the English players — although even they are depicted as joining in the chant of "Bastard! Bastard! Bastard!"
It's been said that if one person had jumped the fence in that moment, the entire crowd would have followed.
Completely Missing the Point: The real Harold Larwood received hate mail on the series' airing, despite his relatively sympathetic portrayal and the consensus that Jardine bore the blame.
Composite Character: Chook the journalist, for the Australian media (including the actual journalist who invented the word Bodyline), and Jonesy (credited only as The Barracker).
In real life, once cricketers started wearing helmets in the 70s, Bradman commented that if someone had offered him a helmet during the Bodyline series, he would have worn it.
Jardine, in a textbook he wrote on the game, ridiculed such luxuries as thigh pads and chest protectors, arguing that a bat was enough defence and there was no reason for a grown man to encumber himself so, so it's doubtful he would have bothered with one.
Only Sane Man: Plum Warner is this for the English side. Jardine completely ignores him.
But also G.O. Allen, one of Jardine's fast bowlers, who refused to participate in Bodyline and instead bowled in an orthodox fashion throughout the series. As an amateur himself he had enough social cachet for Jardine to respect his principles - and he returned excellent figures, too.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Jonesy gets in to watch the players train by claiming to be Chook's photographer.
Lampshaded when asked about his dog. "Him? Never seen him before in me life. Stay." Works not because of the Idiot Ball but a sympathetic security guard.
Pay Evil unto Evil: Richardson suggests that the Australians try using the Bodyline tactic against the English. Captain Woodfull refuses. note Out of principle or because Australian fast-bowling resources were thin that season? You decide. A few seasons earlier England were welcome to all the bumps and bruises they liked against the Australians McDonald and Gregory. During one of the non-Test matches on the tour, Jardine was knocked off his feet by a fast ball from Aboriginal bowler Eddy Gilbert, which hit him on the hip-bone. He thanked the Australians who asked if he was all right, put his cap back on and continued batting. When he was out, and safely behind a closed dressing-room door, he swore extremely loudly and all but collaped; his team-mates removed his trousers to reveal a bloody weal the size of a saucer. Jardine had his faults, but had more than stomach enough for his own medicine.
Poor Communication Kills: Well, not kills, exactly, but the only reason the MCC did nothing to curb Jardine was that they couldn't actually see what he was doing. When the West Indies used Bodyline in England later that year, they finally realised what all the fuss was about. note This was Jardine's cue to stand up to the bowling of Constantine and Martindale and make the only hundred of his international career, proving that even Bodyline was surmountable to a batsman of skill, courage and technique. More — when wicketkeeper Ames was visibly in trouble, Jardine arranged to take most of the strike himself.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Jonesy, when Oldfield is hit.note not by a "Bodyline" delivery, and Oldfield candidly admitted it was his own fault. Particularly meaningful given he had earlier said that he would go along to the last day of a match even though it would almost certainly be over in a few minutes.
Also the Nawab of Pataudi, who refuses to play Bodyline and is dumped from the team by Jardine.
Justified in its historical accuracy: the Prime Minister and Sir Frank Packer did get involved, and the tour resulted in diplomatic tension between the two countries. There were serious economic ramifications to cancelling the tour.
Shout-Out: Douglas' initial drunken and incoherent explanation of how cricket works is a well-known quotation of unknown origin, titled "Cricket, As Explained To A Foreign Visitor".