Award another boost to broadcaster’s career

November 29 2017
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FORMER Wells Blue School student Charlie Taylor is more hopeful than ever that one day he might join the Test Match Special team after winning an ECB cricket journalism award.

Charlie has become the first broadcaster to win the Christopher Martin-Jenkins Young Cricket Journalist of the Year award for his Cricket Show on BBC Somerset.

“I am proud of the work I do for the Cricket Show and know it’s good quality, but there are so many excellent journalists working at a national level I thought I’d barely get a look in,” said Charlie.

“I was almost speechless when the ECB rang me to say I’d won. It’s made me feel very proud of what I and the BBC do in covering county cricket, a game often judged for its seemingly small support base compared to football.”

Charlie started working in radio in 2009, aged 17, when he volunteered for Glastonbury FM, the local community radio station. From there he moved to BBC Somerset on a weekly voluntary basis and now works there six days a week.

He said: “My absolute dream is to work for TMS. I think the show provides an incredible service to fans, striking the perfect balance between serious cricket analysis and commentary and bringing out the silly side of the sport. To be part of that would really be an honour, be it on mic or behind the scenes.”

His cricket-mad family encouraged his love of the game, which became a real infatuation during the 2005 Ashes series. His first experience of watching the professional game in the flesh came when an uncle took him to a Test match at Lord’s when he was 14.

“I loved it and from there is where I started following Somerset more,” he said.

Four years ago he set up the Cricket Show on BBC Somerset to give listeners greater access to the county clubs. It is broadcast every fortnight, from April to September, and covers every level of cricket from Somerset international players down to rural village and pub teams. Women’s cricket is covered on every show, and disability cricket is regularly featured.

In the last couple of years Charlie has become a player for Axbridge CC, a team which only plays friendly matches.

He said: “It’s been brilliant to play in such a fun side, and actually gives me a better understanding of the game which I can use in the commentary box. Even if the pace of the game’s a bit slower with Axbridge than Somerset.”

Charlie says he he loves the quirkiness of cricket: the scrutiny of the turf before a game, the fact that you can play for five days without a positive result. And in his opinion, no other sport requires such mental strength: “I have so much respect for cricketers. It’s a complex sport that can push one’s mental strength to the edge. Equally its grace is a huge draw for me. Seeing a perfectly-timed cover drive or a spinning delivery move as it bounces is a beautiful thing to watch. Plus its history and in particular its importance to Somerset makes it all the more appealing.”

Charlie said that apart from working for TMS, the BBC gaining the rights to show live cricket on TV again in 2020 and beyond gives him another target to aim for in his broadcasting career.

He added: “Earlier this year I made my national commentary debut on 5Live, so coupled with winning the ECB Young Journalist of the Year I feel I’m going in the right direction. If it doesn’t happen and I continue local commentary and presenting BBC Somerset’s Cricket Show throughout my career, then I’ll be very happy too.”