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Gift ideas for the cricket fan

PDCC looks at the best of the newly released cricket DVDs and picks out the best of an intriguing bunch.

DVD Reviews

PDCC rounds up the latest cricket DVD releases

Once in a blue moon a new company comes along who completely revolutionise their chosen field. Well in the relatively new area of cricket DVDs Hogg Films is one such company.

They have released an initial batch of fascinating discs, with promises of a lot more to come. The great thing about these new DVDs is that they combine unique and rare footage, attractive packaging and unbeatable value for money into a series of fascinating historical documentaries.

A Hundred Years of Tea Intervals

picture of a tea interval at Lord's
Lord's tea intervals are well represented in this collection; such as this rediscovered scene of Eric Russell's inaugural test Battenberg in 1952.

A Hundred Years of Tea Intervals is a 3 disc set covering many of the most fondly remembered tea intervals since records began in 1908. There is never before seen footage of the tragic tea break of 1913 at Lord's when Suffragette Wendy Pankhurst threw herself in front of the King George V's jam sponge thus rendering it inedible. On Disc 2 there is an interesting short feature on tea intervals during the Second World War and how the effects of rationing decimated the availability of doilies.

This is a great release and is a must for all hot beverage fans. All the most memorable intervals are here: - the controversial delayed tea break at the Boxing Day test at Melbourne in 1970, Ian Botham's Headingly 81 pie-fest and Dickie Bird's tearful final cuppa at Lord's in 1996 .There is audio commentary on Disc 3 by Christopher Martin Jenkins and Mr Kipling.

Rain Stopped Play

picture of Old Trafford
Dramatic scenes at Old Trafford as featured in Rain Stopped Play

Just as essential is another Hogg Films release Rain Stopped Play. This is a whopping 10 DVD Box Set giving the viewer over 25 hours of very rare footage of some of the wildest and wettest weather breaks ever to send players scurrying for cover. Monsoons, typhoons and hurricanes are all represented but the main interest of this release will be fans of traditional English rain. Hogg Films are promising that a companion volume of Bad Light will be available shortly.

Sit Down Sit Down

I was a little disappointed by another Hogg Films new release Sit Down Sit Down - a collection of people moving behind the bowlers arm. This is a full price DVD but is only 50 minutes in length with no extra features. I would have liked to see interviews with the main protagonists and possibly more footage of sightscreens being moved. There is definitely a market for a definitive DVD on this emotive subject but I'm afraid this isn't it.

A Complete History of Pitch Inspections

Much better is their final current new DVD A Complete History of Pitch Inspections. There's a long feature on the infamous George Davis Is Innocent inspection at headingly in 1975 as you might expect but this double disc covers much more than that. At 180 minutes this represents terrific value and would make the ideal gift for anyone interested in moisture, cracks and soil.

Amongst the other new DVDs on general release now are:-

picture of Detective Lieutenant Theo Kolpak
Kolpak on his way to the nets minutes after breaking up an East Side drugs cartel.

Kolpak - the complete series

Kolpak was an American cop show starring the late Telly Savalas as the eponymous New York City Police Department's Detective Lieutenant Theo Kolpak. Kolpak was a completely bald, grumpy, hard - nosed, lollipop sucking cop who also qualified to play county cricket due to his Greek origins. The series accurately portrays Kolpak's struggle to clear New York's streets of hoods and criminals whilst purveying left arm spin for Leicestershire. Kolpak's catchphrase "who gloved ya baby" became popular the world over.

This double DVD is a must for all fans of classic police shows and low quality cricket. There are some exciting episodes such as when Kolpak solves a particularly puzzling series of murders of bar hostesses whilst taking 0 -106 on a damp wicket at Chelmsford. I also liked the episode when Kolpak investigates the kidnapping of a rich society heiress whilst still padded up. I wont give the ending away but who would have known that those sausage gloves were bullet repellent?

picture of Robbie Coltrane
Angus Fraser (Robbie Coltrane) milks the applause after bowling out the West Indies at Lord's

All in all well worth a look. I much prefer this than the poor British cricketing cops like Paul Nixon of Dock Green or the earlier American equivalent Brian McMillan and Wife.

The Fraser Brothers - The Movie

On DVD at long last - this 2004 film had only a limited cinema release but is now available for everyone to enjoy.

Ken Loach's gritty drama tells the story of the cricketing Fraser brothers: Angus, the successful England fast bowling hero and Alastair, the failed jobbing country pro.

Robbie Coltrane makes a decent fist of playing Angus but I felt at times that looked a little heavy to be bowling 25 overs on the spin at Antigua. Better cast is Nicholas Lyndhurst as the unlucky and ultimately doomed Alastair.

The DVD includes deleted scenes and an audio commentary by Graham 'Foxy' Fowler.