John Cleese swaps cricket stories with Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

We met John Cleese at the weekend. I say ‘met’, met virtually while he was recording Oborne & Heller on Cricket, which is produced by The Chiswick Calendar.

What makes this all the more remarkable is that he’s known for not giving interviews, and indeed he talked about campaigning for Hacked Off over the misdeeds of the press. He’s sued “about five times” successfully for things that have been written about him which he has proved to be untrue.

“It’s very seldom that I do an interview with a newspaper because I cannot trust them to do an honest interview” he said.

He did the podcast because he has huge respect for Peter Oborne as a journalist, and the podcast is not so much an interview as a conversation. He was as interested in what they had to say as they were in him, as they chatted quite happily for an hour and a half, swapping stories about cricket, showbiz, politics and life in general.

He was delightful.

A bad case of the ‘Yips’

One story he told was of watching England and Somerset cricketer Maurice Tremlett go to pieces as his ability to bowl appeared to desert him. Cleese was only about 12 but he felt his ‘humiliation’ and he says fear of the humiliation of messing up a live performance is something he has carried with him in his own career.

Terror-struck on live TV

He recounted a moment during a live TV sketch when he was only 24, when he froze with sheer terror, on stage with Ronnie Corbett.

Bowling out Denis Compton

He joyfully described the highlight of his own schoolboy cricketing career – bowling out Denis Compton, despite his team mate’s refusal to cooperate because he wanted to see the great England star bat.

Taking to task a “nasty” and “dishonest” press

Here he is explaining why in his view the current standard of our politicians is “very poor”, because of journalists who are “sociopaths”.

You can listen to the whole podcast on The Chiswick Calendar website here

Images above: Richard Heller bowling; Peter Oborne batting

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

See also: Episode 28: Talking with Pakistan Women’s Former Cricket Captain Sana Mir

See also: Episode 29: Jill Rutter on watching cricket with Prime Ministers and others

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.