Cricket on the radio: TMS, fake Nazis and how to blend fact and fiction

When commentating on Test Match Special, I am sometimes tempted to drift off into fantasy to paint a picture for listeners. Apparently, I’m not the only one

By Daniel Norcross for The Nightwatchman, of the Guardian Sport Network

It’s May 1941 and you’re a German soldier relaxing with a cheeky bottle of local French wine, tuning into your shortwave radio. Suddenly, on a station called Gustav Siegfried Eins, you are greeted by the voice of Der Chef. This foul-mouthed, trenchant, Prussian military veteran is railing against the feeble-mindedness and effete ineffectuality of the Nazi high command. They’re soft. They’re corrupt. They’re incompetent. Most importantly they’re betraying the noble ideals of the mighty Führer with their lascivious behaviour and failure to get on with the vital job of subjugating all Europe and bringing it under the worthy yoke of Nazi Germany. What he says shocks you and undermines your faith in your superiors. Your morale is sapped. Your suspicion of every command and every order given to you grows with every broadcast from Der Chef. Only it turns out you’re actually hearing the voice of Peter Seckelmann, a journalist and crime-thriller writer who got the hell out of Nazi Germany in 1938, headed straight to London, and is now working for your enemy’s counter-intelligence team.

Seckelmann made more than 700 of these disruptive broadcasts and can truly lay claim to being, if not the godfather of fake news – that’s probably Herodotus, with honourable mentions for Julius Caesar and the Emperor Constantine – then certainly the most noble exponent of its art.

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