Sport legends Henry Blofeld and Graeme Swann, Aka Blowers and Swanny have teamed up (Image: Steve Reigate)
Resplendent in a pink shirt, red pants, and blue tie, Blofeld turned 80 last Monday and shows no signs of slowing down. He made his name in the Test Match Special, but now with former England cricketer Graeme Swann is embarking on a two-man tour we're here to talk to in a bar in central London, occasionally disturbed by poachers. autographs and people looking for selfies.
The duo have done two previous tours with great success and their chemistry and warmth are instantly apparent. (Since everyone in sports needs to have a nickname, Blofeld refers to "blowers" and Swann is inevitably "Swanny").
"It's not really a cricket show. It's fun, it's humor," Blowers explains. "We've done two previous tours. Of course Swanny was in Strictly Come Dancing – that sounds great.
"We hope many more girls and girls will come to visit Swanny and keep their fingers crossed."
Certainly Swann, for whom the tall, dark and handsome phrase could have been invented, contrasts sharply with Blofeld.
But he has no illusions about the incredible influence of appearing on Strictly, jokingly "and me … coming in an incredible seventh!"
Taking 255 shutters in 60 tests is an achievement, but apparently can't rival the BBC's show of prime-time crown for family entertainment.
After Swann appeared on Strictly, the two hope the tour will appeal to non-sports people (Image: BBC)
"Until then, I didn't realize that Strictly is a huge TV show," he says. “Every sportsman has his own importance, thinking it's a household name. But in Strictly, you assume a new level of recognition. "
“I was home every Sunday and I went to the local store. The only person who stopped me was the guy behind the counter to talk about cricket.
“I used to wait for our conversations, and the first weekend after Strictly, I wore the same disgusting shorts I wear every week, and upon leaving the store, there were two families with girls waiting for me because of the show.
"It strictly provided me with more stories (for the theater) in ten weeks than five years in cricket."
Swann danced well dancing, but Blofeld doesn't agree with Strictly's first team: “My hips forbid it. I will not settle for anything but Love Island.
The current tour is called Dancing down the Wicket and, Swann admits, has not been "widely researched."
"We just sit and talk, really," he says.
Blofeld says Strictly has given him a new level of public recognition (Image: Getty)
"It's about what has happened in the last 12 months in the world of cricket, but also in the world of Henry Blofeld and Graeme Swann."
But before Love Island, Blofeld is part of a TV series he is currently not allowed to talk about. "My role is to be a good guy," he says.
To which Swann adds, "What Henry must always do."
And he does it very well.
They really are chalk and cheese, Swann of Nottingham, Blofeld went to Eton. "But I'm not an old Ethiopian professional," he insists. "I don't use a flag. The only thing none of us can do is choose our parents, which is what it comes down to."
Swann is the right man for Blofeld's comedy, but it works. Once we know each other, Blofeld's 80th birthday celebration should extend over 10 days at his home in Minorca.
This is twice the duration of a test match.
"It's like an Indian wedding," says Swann dryly. He can't go, but Blofeld notes, "When I told them you weren't coming, they breathed a sigh of relief that you were heard in the southern hemisphere."
A comment that would almost qualify as a "sled" in cricket, where opposing players make barbed comments among themselves, hoping to drive away their opponents.
Blowers is not a fan of the practice.
"I can't stand sledding when it comes to a really personal level," he says. Although in his next book he seems to show a furtive admiration for the way of dealing with former England captain Michael Atherton.
When Atherton snatched a ball from the bat and was caught, the referee did not deliver it.
Australian player Glenn McGrath stared at Atherton and asked why he wasn't walking (admitting it was a trick question).
It's not something Australians do, so Atherton just smiled and said, "When in Rome, dear boy …"
To which wicketkeeper Ian Healy replied, "Mate, I don't understand that. We're playing Sydney."
Which just proves that even the sleigh can fall on stony ground.
Blofeld adds that he has to be witty to work. "If you told David Warner (Australian scout), you can only do it if it's funny, he'll never open his mouth."
In addition to theater performances, Blofeld is frequent on Cunard cruises. "They call them lectures, but that's just a pompous word to try to make people laugh."
England captain Alastair Cook celebrates with & # 39; Swanny & # 39; and son Wilfred (Image: Getty)
He already has a servant for Christmas.
“The only person who protests is my liver. It's already waving the white flag, ”he says.
Other cruise passengers are subject to the judgment of Blofeld. "You know lovely people and others that you wouldn't miss," he says.
From one of his previous marriages (he has been married three times and divorced twice), he ironically notes, "I was thrown by a ball that I should have left alone."
Swann, on the other hand, just wants to spend Christmas at home.
After years of cricket tour, one of his daughters once asked mother Sarah, "Will Dad be home for Christmas this year?"
"It's kind of like hearing it heartbreaking," says Swann.
So what does the future hold? Swann says, “Henry is the guy I envy. I guarantee I will end up like him.
To which Blofeld responds, "In that case, we will both be sleeping hard." This is after Love Island, of course.