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Penguins Stopped Play by Harry Thompson

Penguins Stopped Play

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A very funny book about an amateur cricket team, the Captain Scott Invitiation XI, formed by a group of Oxford undergraduates in the 1980’s. Harry Thompson was one of the founder members and went on to forge a career as a TV comedy producer, best known for co-creating Have I Got News for You and They Think It’s All Over. Sadly diagnosed with lung cancer he died just after completing this book.

The book follows the team as they embark on a mission to play cricket on each continent of the world. Lots of funny anecdotes about matches, opponents & nights out for the team told in a fluid light hearted manner. An enjoyable yarn of sporting incompetence.

If you like Harry Thompson you might also like to read books by Barry Unsworth, Alistair Macleod and Neal Stephenson.


Penguins Stopped Play by Harry Thompson

It seemed a simple enough idea at the outset: to assemble a team of eleven men to play cricket on each of the seven continents of the globe.

Except – hold on a minute – that`s not a simple idea at all. And when you throw in incompetent airline officials, amorous Argentine Colonels` wives, cunning Bajan drug dealers, gay Australian waiters, overzealous American anti-terrorist police, idiot Welshmen dressed as Santa Claus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and whole armies of pitch-invading Antarctic penguins, you quickly arrive at a whole lot more than you bargained for.

Harry Thompson`s hilarious book tells the story of one of those great idiotic enterprises that only an Englishman could have dreamed up, and only a bunch of Englishmen could possibly have wished to carry out.


'A rip-roaring and at times touching account of a global tour by a bunch of village cricketers' * Oxford Mail * 'A very funny, peculiarly British travel book' * Markus Berkman, Daily Mail * 'Harry Thompson wrote with such verve and wit that he could have made a trip round a multi-storey car park into an adventure' * Celia Brayfield, The Times * 'As funny as you would expect from the writer of Have I Got News For You' * Daily Express * 'Funny and inspiring...Thompson writes with a novelist's sympathy about a wonderfully mixed bunch of characters' - Hugh Massingberd * Literary Review * 'Very funny . . .he fills his warm-hearted book with a satisfying selection of tales' * Sunday Times * 'Isn't only a marvellous read but in many ways captures the very essence of the game' * Observer * 'Even people who despise cricket will adore this' * Times * 'Surely the funniest book ever written about the English addiction to cricket...a beautiful tale of classic British humour, self-deprecation, great courage' * Daily Mail * 'Crammed with sharp observation, comic and cruel characterisation and a great many very good jokes... Gloriously funny and life-affirming' * Daily Telegraph * 'Rare, clever, creative ... a maverick, pushing boundaries with outrageous jokes' * Guardian * 'A real gold standard sense of humour' * David Baddiel * 'Actually completely brilliant' * Ian Hislop * Praise for Harry Thompson and Penguins Stopped Play: * . *'

About the Author

Harry Thompson

Harry Thompson was the inventor and editor of many TV comedy series including Have I Got News For You and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He was the author of acclaimed bestsellers, including Peter Cook: A Biography. His most recent book was a historical novel, This Thing of Darkness. He worked as a producer at Talkback TV and in his spare time ran an infamous cricket team, the Captain Scott XI. He died in November 2005.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th April 2007


Harry Thompson

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John Murray General Publishing Division


320 pages


The Real World
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