life and Career
Blowers tumbled into this world, so he was reliably informed, on 23rd September 1939. His first cricketing mentor was Miss Paterson whose splendid swingers went both ways when she bowled to him at Sunningdale School. He somehow managed to pass an exam to get to Eton and he played cricket for Eton against Harrow at Lord's when he was fifteen. A year later he slogged a hundred at Lord's for the Public Schools against the Combined Services. But a year after that he gallantly took on a bus with his push bicycle and took no further interest in this world for 28 days.
He went up to King's College, Cambridge where he never scored a run against the examiners and was kicked out after two years. He somehow blagged his way into the Cambridge cricket side in 1959 and had the luck to play in first-class matches against Denis Compton and the great Australian allrounder, Keith Miller. And he scored a first-class hundred at Lord's.
After three ghastly years in the City of London, bowler hat and all, he began to write about cricket as a freelance for The Times in 1962. Broadcasting came along ten years later when he joined the famous Test Match Special team for two one-day games against Australia and he has been clogging up the airways on the programme ever since.
The first article he ever wrote, about a second eleven football match, in 1956 for the Eton College Chronicle, earned him a robust interview with the headmaster for being rude about Bradfield School which was not a particularly auspicious omen for a career in journalism. In a crazy moment The Times decided to use Blowers as a freelance cricket writer in 1962. The following year The Guardian decided that they would find a home for his cliches and he remained with them as a freelance until The Independent set up shop at the start of the eighties. By then the Sunday Express also provided a home.
His years were spent watching county and a certain amount of Test cricket in England - there was only one year when he commentated on every Test for TMS - and in the winter he toured the cricket playing world. He probably watched more neutral series overseas than those involving England and he often worked for more than one newspaper and often the BBC as well
For about fifteen years he spent part of each winter in Australia where he wrote a column for The Australian and also worked for a network of commercial radio stations led by Radio 2UE in Sydney who broadcast an alternative form of commentary for the international games, to the rather more staid government owned ABC. Blowers spent a month or two most years thereabouts in New Zealand where he became a member of the TVNZ commentary team.
Blowers began to write books in 1970. He has produced fifteen titles, mostly about cricket and most of them were easily resistible! The one he wrote about The Kerry Packer invasion of the cricket scene in Australia, The Packer Affair, was a success and so too was his autobiography, A Thirst for Life.
His theatrical career began in 2002 when Dudley Russell, a theatre agent who is married to Pam Ayres, thought he would be able to do a one-man show. He has moved agents a couple of times since until finding a comfortable home at ebp under the supervision of Ralph Brünjes. He has since been on three tours with great friend Peter Baxter, two hugely successful tours with great friend Graeme Swann and most recently his solo tour '78 Retired' was a complete sellout across the UK and due to demand he is going again in Autumn 2018 with a further 35 shows.
Although cricket inevitably forms a part of these shows, they are really more about the extraordinary life he has led and the fascinating people he has bumped into along the way. His family name was of course pinched by Ian Fleming for the name of one of his chief villains in the Bond books, Ernst Stavros Blofeld. He met Fleming who introduced him to Noel Coward at a lunch party in Jamaica. Coward became a friend and Blowers tells some highly amusing stories about him.
Clive Dunn, aka Corporal Jones in Dad's Army, is another friend and there are some splendid stories here too. Blowers also does his share of after dinner speeches, his distinctive voice has been used for a number of radio and television commercials, and he does some work for David Folb who founded The Lashings World XI especially on the beautiful ground of the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi where they go on a short tour each year., Blowers has led a varied, entertaining and extremely full life.
Everywhere he has gone, on countless cricket tours around the world, Blowers has lived life to the full regarding each day as an orange and squeezing it dry of the last drop of juice before moving onto the next day. He is a medical freak having defied a heart by-pass operation which went horribly wrong, a gall bladder that behaved like a deprived monster, picking up the dreaded MRSA along the way. Since then, back and hip operations have followed two-a-penny, but all have been submerged by guffaws of laughter and bottles of Burgundy (both red and white) and life still goes on in capital letters. Blowers has always been and continues to be outrageous and irresistible fun!
Henry retired from Test Match Special in 2017 to huge adulation from the entire nation as well as a standing ovation during a lap of honour at the home of cricket, Lords. His 2017 autobiography Over & Out was a Sunday Times Best Seller and a top 10 bestselling memoir of 2017. In February 2018 it was announced Henry will present a new show for Classic FM 'Blowers Around Britain'.