Cricket; Test match special

David Shepherd


One of England's most famous artists, a 90-year-old former Lancaster bomber pilot and a member of the Bee Gees... it could only be another interval on Test Match Special!

david shepherd cricket Robin Gibb, Jonathan Agnew, Group Captain Bill Farquharson DFC and David Shepherd

The unusual trio joined us during the break at the second Natwest one-day international at Lord's on Sunday to discuss a special commemoration of Bomber Command which is taking place at the ground. During the Second World War, Lord's was used as an "Air Crew Receiving Centre" , where young aircrew volunteers were received prior to being posted for training to the likes of Canada, the USA or South Africa before joining RAF squadons in the Bomber Offensive against Germany.

The Lord's museum is running a special exhibition to mark the 65th anniversary of the receiving centre being closed and handed back to the MCC, and on Sunday we were entertained by the RAF Central band and a fly-past of a Lancaster bomber.

david shepherd elephant cake David Shepherd brought TMS an elephant cake

Also in the crowd at the game were 20 veterans who were invited as special guests of the MCC including pilots, navigators, wireless operators, flight engineers and air gunners, several of whom were decorated for gallantry in air operations.

One of those veterans was Group Captain Bill Farquharson DFC who joined us in the commentary box to tell the amazing story of life as a bomber pilot. More than 55,000 people died in Bomber Command, three out of every five who joined, and Farquharson admitted that he was extremly frightened all of the time.

He told us that just before one mission a colleague asked him "'If you don't come back, can I have your hat?' You see, I had just got myself a new service hat. Well in fact I was reported missing and when I got back my hat was gone. However, it was returned to me in the end." Farquharson also told us about a very lucky escape. He said: "I went on one mission and we were hit by flak. I knew we had been hit but I hoped not too badly. When I got back and pulled my parachute from under me I noticed a large lump of flak stuck inside it. If it had gone any further, it would have been the end of my matrimonial prospects!"

Joining Group Captain Farquharson in the TMS box was wildlife and aviation artist David Shepherd who even brought us a chocolate cake with his one of his famous elephants on the top. He has painted a special picture which is being raffled off to try and raise money for a proposed memorial to those who died in Bomber Command which he hopes will be erected in a central London park.

Also working to raise funds is Robin Gibb from the legendary pop group Bee Gees who is president of the Heritage Foundation. Gibb told us that he had flown in especially from America to be at the event at Lord's.

As well as speaking passionately about the campaign, Gibb also told Jonathan Agnew some exclusive news about the Bee Gees. He told Aggers that six years after the death of his brother Maurice, the Bee Gees are going to re-form and play some live concerts again. "I've just been with my brother Barry in Miami and we have decided we are going to perform again". Gibb admitted that it had been a tough few years but "we have just got through the breakwater of emotions and now we can go forward".

All in all, it was quite a surreal day in the Test Match Special commentary box starting with the expected mickey-taking for Jonathan Agnew following his "Dieselgate" episode on Friday. In case you hadn't heard, Aggers managed to put a full tank of petrol into his diesel car on Friday and only discovered the error five miles later when his car broke down.

On Saturday evening I texted Angus Fraser to ask if he could join Aggers at the start of the match on Sunday and I mentioned that he should feel free to rib him about his fuel error. Gus replied a few minutes later "It will be my pleasure". So it was no surprise when Angus greeted Aggers with "Nice of you to join us for a change. I'm glad the weather is good so we won't need any of those diesel-powered hover covers."

Also part of our summarising team on Sunday was Phil Tufnell, fresh from rehearsals for Strictly Come Dancing. Well I say fresh - frankly Tuffers could hardly walk after his first full day in the dance studio. One listener e-mailed in to ask whether his dancing prowess was more like his batting or his bowling. Tuffers answered "Probably more like my fielding. Lots of mistakes with the very occasional flash of brilliance." We will have to wait until 18 September to find out!

Regular listeners to Tufnell on TMS this summer may have been surprised to hear Phil's eloquent descriptions of batting technique which perhaps were lacking a little when he was a player. Well, after one session on Sunday where he was discussing the best method to play the white ball, fellow TMS summariser and his former captain at Middlesex Justin Langer came on and said: "That's the biggest load of nonsense I've ever heard. He was probably the worst batsman I have ever seen.

"And he was probably the toughest human being I have ever had to captain - the best to have a drink with, but the worst to captain. I remember here at Lord's a few years ago, Tufnell just left the field at one point and then returned a few minutes later smelling of cigarette smoke. He said 'sorry skipper - I just had to have a fag'... he was a nightmare."

But Langer did fulfil a lifetime ambition during the Lord's ODI. When he was paired on air with Henry Blofeld, Justin exclaimed: "I have to say I am absolutely pumped. I've been listening to you for all these years and now I am sitting alongside you at my favourite cricket ground in the world in a commentary box full of chocolate cake. Life can't get any better than that."

Biography of wildlife artist, David Shepherd, CBE, FRSA, FRGS, OBE.
Internationally recognized as the world's best wildlife artist. David Shepherd has at all times felt that he had a duty in the form of conservation towards the world and the animals that inhabit our planet. In his lifetime, David Shepherd has painted and drawn many pictures, and is able to share his many tales and experiences with people internationally, often talking at charity dinners and prestigeous social events. His persona lends itself naturally to this cause, as he is a most approachable down-to-earth fellow who enjoys sharing his pleasure of art and his concern over the diminishing wildlife throughout the world. In his early days, he was 'thrown' into the creative world purely by chance, as he wasn't particularly keen about other college activities.

David Shepherd is commonly quoted as saying that upto his late teens his life was not very successful, as he always had an ambition to be a game warden in Africa. So after ending his schooling, David Shepherd left England with the concept of a career within the national parks of Africa. Unfortunately, he was promptly instructed that there was no place for him, and his childhood desires lay in ruins. Throughout school days, his foremost curiosity in art had been as a substitute for the compulsary games of rugby which left him with quite frightened.

Unable to understand what would possibly possess people to roll around a muddy rugby pitch and endure horrible injury, David Shepherd took refuge in the faculty artwork department where he produced a hideous picture of some birds, which he brings along with him to this present day when public speaking.

After his dissappointment at not been given the chance to be part of Kenya's game warden neighborhood, he managed to find a job in a neighborhood resort on the coast working within the reception for one pound per week. David Shepherd started to paint pictures of birds, and by chance managed to sell seven pictures at ten pounds a canvas, which allowed him to pay for his ticket back to England on the Union Castle steamship.

When back in England he saw two possibilities of career for himself. Either David Shepherd could try to make it as an artist, or drive a bus. After careful thought he decided the bus driver choice was by far the safest bet, as it was well-known that almost all artists had little cash or prospects. His father helped at this level and urged that if he actually needed to develop his artistic skills, he would want some training.

David Shepherd set off to the Slade school of fine art in London with his bird picture, unfortuinately he was told that he had no artistic ability and that instructing him would be pointless. Driving a London bus was beginning to appear the extra likely possibility, until by complete coincidence, he met an artist called Robin Goodwin who was regarded as a highly skilled marine artist. He never worked with apprentices, but luckily for David Shepherd, he agreed to see some of his work. The very subsequent day David Shepherd arrived at Robin Goodwin's studio in Chelsea with his 'bird' painting, and to David's sheer amazement Robin Goodwin agreed to help him. It is because of this artist that David achieved the creative staus that he enjoys in the present day, and has at all times a feeling of deep gratitude for the help he acquired from Robin Goodwin.


David Shepherd's first autobiographical book 'The Man Who Loves Giants' was published in 1976 which very quickly became a best seller. This was revised and updated in 1989 as subsequent editions were published. A second book illustrating his love for steam trains was published in 1984 'A Brush With Steam' and in 1985 'The Man and his Paintings' was the first comprehensive book showing a complete spectrum of David's work. 'An Artist in Conservation' was released in 1992 which illustrated some of Mr Shepherd's finest paintings. 'My Painting Life' and 'Only One World' were published in 1995 'Panting with David Shepherd, Unique Studio Secrets Revealed' was published in 2004

TV Documentaries

'The Man Who Loved Giants' was the title for this film of David Shepherd's life story produced in 1972 by the late James Stewart.
The documentary was shown worldwide.
'The Last Train to Mulobezi' tells an exciting story of the survival of an ancient locomotive and railway coach from the Zambezi
Sawmills Railway and their 12,000 mile journey back to England.
The train was given as a gift by Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the President of Zambia, and after raising enough money
through the sale of paintings in USA. A helicopter was bought and given to Zambia to help prevent poaching.
Thames TV produced a series of six half hour programmes titled 'In Search of Wildlife'
Illustrating the plight of endangered mammals throughout the world. These were later broadcast in the USA.
'Nature Watch' with Julian Pettifer began in 1990 and David Shepherd produced the first programme in the series.
Last but not least, David Shepherd has been the subject of the programme 'This is Your Life'.

David Shepherd Awards.

Honorary Degree in Fine Arts by the Pratt Institute in New York.
The Order of the Golden Ark by HRH The Prince of The Netherlands for his services to conservation.
Member of Honour of the World Wide Fund for Nature
The Order of the British Empire for his services to wildlife conservation. O.B.E.
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia awarded him with the Order of Distinguished Service.
was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
Honorary Doctorate of Science of Hatfield Polytechnic (now the University of Hertfordshire) in 1990.
Officer (Brother) of the Order of St. John.
Granted the Freedom of the City of London.
Awarded a C.B.E. for services to charity and wildlife
One website of great interest, to collectors of watercolour paintings, will be that of the internationally renowned artist Sir William Russell Flint,
his career as one of the world's finest watercolourists has made his work of tremendous investment potential,
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Visit the studio in Nottinghamshire, or arrange a private viewing of prints or original paintings in your home.

We will endeavour to better any quote and give you the finest possible service
99.9% of signed, limited editions shown below are in stock, although we usually have only one print of each title
For prices and information please call us 01623 799 309 or email

If you would like to visit the studio in Nottinghamshire, (Saturdays and Sundays are fine too) Please call 01623 799 309
We have a collection of over 500 David Shepherd signed limited edition prints and original paintings for sale.
A viewing can also be arranged at your home.

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