BBC Radio 4, 25 June 2010
Danny (Jason Done) is an angry man. Blinded as a result of a fight in
a pub on New Year's Eve 2008, he now spends his days lying on the sofa trying to come to terms with his new life. Unable to
do much except grope his way unsteadily round the house, he feels that life has turned against him, and he vents most
of his frustration on his long-suffering girlfriend Beth (Victoria Brazier).
In a last-ditch effort to help him, Beth suggests that he joins the local blind cricket
team. Typically Danny dislikes the idea; when he could see, he preferred football, even though he had been a talented cricketer
at school. Many of his prejudices are class-based: cricket is a game for snobs, and excludes the working classes.
As the action unfolds, so Danny overcomes his prejudices and learns how to play blind
cricket using a ball filled with ball bearings. He understands how to listen to the silences, to judge when the ball has been
delivered and when he should hit it. After several abortive attempts, he learns how to wield a bat, and is eventually selected
for the big game - a match against a sighted cricket team.
However Bell in the Ball is not just about the game of cricket: dramatist
Peters focuses more on how Danny acquires self-knowledge as a result of playing the game. He not only forges friendships with
his team-mates, including skipper Brian (Robert Hudson), and wily bowler Floyd (Marlon G. Day), who sees even less than Danny,
but discovers how fragile many of their egos can be. Danny moves heaven and earth to participate in the big game; but does
so at Floyd's expense. This costs Danny his friendship. In a climactic final scene, Danny goes out to bat in the game, hits
one ball and then retires, allowing Floyd to come in and act a substitute. This act of altruism does not automatically restore
the friendship, but at least it goes some way towards salving Danny's conscience.
Bell in the Ball emphasizes how cricket is more than just a game; a team
can only be successful if every one of its members understand the importance of loyalty and mutual understanding.
This applies to anyone playing the game, whether sighted, partially sighted or blind. The producer was Gary Brown.