Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Beefy: Double-0 Ashes

You know it's getting close when Ian Botham is in town. Golf courses, restaurants, wineries and fishing boats are all vying for His Beefiness' business over the coming months. And it just wouldn't be the same without a newspaper quote: "This is the oldest Australian side I've ever seen," Botham said in his latest Dad's Army jibe.

I will have the pleasure of interviewing Beefy (or at least trying to) this Winter for a series of weekly podcasts. I don't expect an easy time of it either - just follow the Ian Botham tag below for a series of adventures tracking down the former Ashes giant.
In a storyline not too dissimilar from Daniel Craig's double-0 efforts, I have attempted to track Beefy down when he has been: on a speedboat to Ravi Shastri's abode in Mumbai; in a helicopter on his way for a round of golf with Dean Jones in Delhi; filming a Weetabix advert in Australia when I thought he was still in Sri Lanka and losing mobile contact on a mountain pass in Pakistan. (A far cry from playing himself in Emmerdale in 1995, right). It even went as far as trying to order some fish in a Sri Lankan restaurant, only to be told that a table (Beefy's) had eaten the lot earlier that day.
So when I heard that Beefy would be doing an Ashes walk Down Under, I resigned myself to hiring a van for an Outback expedition. Luckily his walking exploits were consigned to raising thousands last month in the UK, but I'm still taking my speargun and wetsuit out if I'm having difficulty on the Gold Coast.