Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lord Bonkers' Diary: Defeating the Black and White Minstrels

Rutland's most popular fictional peer continues his reminiscences of the early days of television.

The Black and White Minstrels get a bad press these days. As they launched Mr Lenny Henry upon an unsuspecting and, in large part, innocent world, I suppose they rather deserve it. (Mind you, Henry went on to marry the comedy duo French & Saunders, so deserves our sympathy more than our condemnation.) However, I must record that the Minstrels were mustard keen cricketers and that my XI’s fixture against them was the highlight of many a summer. The details of those games have rather faded into the mist, but I do recall one of the TV Toppers taking a good running catch to dismiss Wallace Lawler when he seemed well set.

I am sorry to report that our relations soured in 1969 when, let down at the last minute by the touring West Indians, I prevailed upon the Minstrels to play in their stead. The crowd saw through this ruse distressingly quickly and I was obliged to return all of the gate money to placate them. Had the Minstrels not still insisted upon receiving their match fee, I should probably not have written my ground-breaking and influential article on racism in popular entertainment for the Manchester Guardian that autumn.

Lord Bonkers was Liberal MP for Rutland South-West 1906-10.

Previously in Lord Bonkers' Diary...

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