For those listeners who are not familiar with the Test Match Special from BBC Radio, there was a treat in store for the Today program of yesterday morning. Former cricket player Sir Geoffrey Boycott was invited to talk about his knighthood.
It wasn't long before he gave the full range to the abrasive and frank peculiarities that have made him one of the most loved and hated broadcasters.
In short, he called interviewer Martha Kearney & # 39; love & # 39; and he said lightly about the recoil that broke out over his knighthood because of his conviction in a French court for beating a former lover that he did not & # 39; throw & # 39; & # 39 ;.
Over the years, Boycott has been accused of many things – rude, selfish, vain and a chauvinist – and has rarely failed. But for over two decades he has loudly denied that he was a female beater.
Sir Geoffrey Boycott (left, last year) was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, a fine of £ 5,000 and was ordered to pay one franc of damages after being accused of 20 punches on his then girlfriend, divorced wife Margaret Moore (right) )
The incident, for which he was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, imposed a fine of £ 5,000 and ordered him to pay one franc of damages after being charged with 20 punches on his then-girlfriend, divorced wife Margaret Moore, has a long shadow thrown his career and reputation and – until this week – would have prevented the award of a knighthood.
This helps to explain why he was on the Today program because the claims re-emerged about what should have been one of the most proud days of his life.
Asked for criticism from a Women & # 39; s Aid Chief that his honor sent a "dangerous message" about domestic violence, 78-year-old Boycott replied: "I don't give a damn at her, honey. It was 25 years ago, so you can take on your political nature and do whatever you want with it.
"You want to talk to me about my knighthood, it's very nice of you to have me, but I couldn't throw."
It is clear that his sense of injustice in the case is still in the rankings. Claiming that he had been the victim of blackmail attempt, he said his experience with French courtrooms where & # 39; you are guilty until you are proven innocent – quite the opposite of England & # 39; one of the reasons was that he voted to leave the EU.
"It is very difficult to prove that you are innocent in another country, another language," he said, adding, "It is a cross that I must bear, right or wrong, right or wrong. I have to live with it, and I do that because I am clear in my mind. . . it's not true. & # 39;
Exactly what happened at the £ 1,000 per night hotel on the French Riviera on October 2, 1996 has since been argued about.
Margaret Moore, former girlfriend of England cricket captain Geoffrey Boycott, shows photos of herself with black eyes in the courthouse of Aix-en-Provence on May 3, 2000
Two cases in France have solved the case in favor of Mrs. Moore and, as the retired sportsman said yesterday, he has had to live with the consequences.
Behind all this lay a story of sex and money, of physical attraction and promises promised. Certainly an unseemly story, but one as old as time.
Boycott was always an unlikely sex symbol, but he had carried out female conquests in much the same way he had collected runs for England and his beloved Yorkshire, with determination and one-time application.
There have been a staggering number of things, many of them at the same time.
By the time he met the lusty Mrs. Moore, boss of a computer software company, at the swish Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados in 1992, the dice had long been thrown. As far as he was concerned, she was a sexual partner who, he thought, understood the rules. In other words, no obligations.
It was her appearance that attracted him. & # 39; If you have a good figure and you are in a bikini, you look good on the beach, & # 39; he said. "We talked, ate, and when we got back to Britain, I called her."
It was the start of an affair. "I traveled all over the world with my work," he explained later. "She would just fly in to join me. It hasn't changed my work or lifestyle. It was not like going home to a woman or living together.
"I would have breakfast with her and then go to cricket all day to do my job. She said she would meet customers of her software company. I would see her then & # 39; in the evening, we would eat and go to bed. It suited us both. We were both independent. & # 39;
The fact that Mrs. Moore, who lived in a mansion in Belgravia, seemed to be rich, was an additional attraction for the notoriously nasty boycott. It meant that he would never have to dig deep into his pockets.
He claimed she had told him that her company was worth £ 20 million and, certainly, her preference for first-class travel, luxury hotels and expensive couture embellished her image as a fashionable millionaire.
In fact, she was on the verge of bankruptcy – and her business would go into liquidation later.
It was certainly in trouble when Mrs. Moore arranged a vacation for them at the fantastic Hotel du Cap in Antibes, visited by stars such as Elton John, Tom Cruise and Elizabeth Hurley.
As for their relationship, Boycott later claimed that he was tired of her. What particularly annoyed him was that & # 39; she wanted to marry me and that constantly said in the summer of 1996 & # 39 ;.
"It was just so claustrophobic and oppressive. She wanted me to move to Monaco where she could run her business. I said I wanted to live in Britain. & # 39;
Former batsman from Yorkshire and England became cricket commentator Geoff Boycott sits on May 3, 2000 in the Court of Appeal in Aix-en-Provence, southern France, at the start of his appeal against Margaret Moore (sitting right)
Geoffrey Boycott (left, pictured today on ITV & # 39; s Good Morning Britain), received a knighthood for services to sports. The former test opener told interviewer Martha Kearney (right) that he was not asserted that the price of Theresa May was a & # 39; dangerous message & # 39; had sent
He may also have said there was another obstacle: the most sustainable figure in his life, his long-term lover, the raven-haired Anne Wyatt, who was known in cricket circles as the & # 39; Black Widow & # 39 ;. They met when he was an 18-year-old clerk and she was a 32-year-old supervisor at the Department of Pensions in Barnsley.
In cricket language, she was his opening partner and, after all his dalliances, he still returned to her.
So why didn't Boycott end his relationship with Moore? After all, he had generously changed partners over the years. "I don't know why," he said a few years later. "I was still physically attracted to her and. . . (thought) the relationship would go back to how it was. I was naive. & # 39;
Within days of arriving at the hotel, the couple argue about money.
Mrs. Moore said he complained that she had not had enough. "But I had paid all the bills, the hotel bills," she said. "I negotiated his contract with the BBC and newspapers." Although retired from first-class cricket for a long time, Boycott was a well-rewarded expert.
She told in court how she had taken a piece of paper at lunch and written his name on one side and hers on the other, & then wrote all the work I had done for him under my name & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Then I wrote by his side that he had bought me a ring and a necklace. Then I put the piece of paper in his briefcase.
"He got up and told me he would see me at the pool later, but when he was not there, I called the caretaker.
& # 39; He said Geoffrey had ordered a taxi to the airport and I found him packing in the bedroom. I was angry and threw his toilet bag and some clothes out of the window. I said, "You can't just leave," and he started screaming. "
"He grabbed my arm and threw me on the floor and then held me with his legs on top of me," she went on. According to Mrs. Moore, Boycott hit her hard. "He hit me in the face about 20 times. He is a very strong man. I screamed and screamed. I couldn't stop him. & # 39;
Geoff Boycott during his innings of 107 runs in the third test between England and Australia on Trent Bridge in July 1977
She said the blows didn't stop until the phone rang. "I reached for it and asked for a doctor."
In a statement to the local police, she said Boycott "hit me in the face, in the chest, on the body and on the limbs," and added, "Mr. Boycott is a violent man I'm afraid of."
According to Boycott, however, Mrs. Moore had become furious when she saw him packing and then climbed onto the windowsill, threatening to jump and shout, "I finally did it for you!"
He said he was sitting on the bed, his head in his hands, as she threw his toiletries, socks, and underpants out of the window. Only when she took one of his best suits out of the closet did he respond. & # 39; You never have that, & # 39; he said.
In his report, he said he was trying to control her, but in the battle for the suit they fell heavily together on the white marble floor.
Boycott bruised his left elbow; his lover said she had two black eyes, a cut lip and bruises.
Boycott denied hitting her and insisted that her injuries cause an accident when she hit her head on the floor.
What's more, he claimed they slept in the same bed for two more nights and added spicy: "And we had sex if you want to be blunt."
When the case was brought to court in Grasse in January 1998, it was heard in the absence of Boycott.
But determined to save his good name and career (the case cost him contracts with the BBC and Trans World TV), he appealed.
The legal rematch ten months later returned the same judgment. What's more, the female judge was horrifying about the rudeness of the former cricket player in court. She said his behavior & # 39; had damaged the reputation of the perfect gentleman with whom he had brought so many old friends and witnesses & # 39 ;.
Among those who spoke to him were two former mistresses, Carry On film extra Shirley Western, with whom he had a ten-year affair, and Rachael Swinglehurst – now his wife, whom he eventually married in 2003, and with whom he has a daughter, Emma Jane, now 31.
Geoffrey Boycott is interviewed prior to the fourth test between England and Australia at Old Trafford on Sunday
The second verdict was a crushing blow to the one-time English cricket captain, but in recent years he was gradually rehabilitated – helped in part by a campaign of MPs to assure him that knighthood.
Theresa May was a fan of the famous stubborn Boycot long before she became prime minister.
The campaigners got a boost amid reports four years ago that his conviction might be unsafe, after Mrs. Moore told a friend that her injuries were caused when she slipped and hit her head.
In an unrelated case before a British court, she was accused by a judge of a & # 39; deliberate lack of truth & # 39 ;. When she was last asked, she said: "I was beaten up several times by Geoffrey. I stick to what I said then. & # 39;
Asked if her allegations were financially motivated, she added: "I was not motivated by money."
For his part, Sir Geoffrey says that the first day of his new life as a knight of the empire is now indelibly soured by the BBC, accusing him of setting me up and discussing the issue of domestic violence.
It is unlikely that he will accept that his heady and peevish language has contributed in response to today's questions.
That would mean he admitted he was wrong.
Sir Geoffrey: I don't argue about shouting about knighthood
By David Wilkes, Neil Sears, Glen Keogh and Mike Keegan for the Daily Mail
Geoffrey Boycott said yesterday that he did not "throw" at criticism of his knighthood, calling for him to be robbed of the honor.
Domestic violence charities have attacked Theresa May because of the decision to give the former cricket star of England a gong in her dismissal list.
They said his prize had to be scrapped because of his conviction in France in 1998 for defeating then-girlfriend Margaret Moore in a hotel on the Riviera.
Domestic abuse charity Women & # 39; s Aid & # 39; s co-acting chief executive Adina Claire said it was "extremely disappointing" that Boycott had been given a knighthood.
Domestic charities have attacked Theresa May because of the decision to give the former cricket star of England a gong in her dismissal list (she was pictured with Sir Geoffrey Boycott in 2016)
She said, "Celebrating a man convicted of attacking his partner sends out a dangerous message – that domestic violence is not considered a crime."
But when presenter Martha Kearney mentioned Mrs Claire's comment during an interview in the BBC Radio 4 program yesterday, he replied: "It was 25 years ago, so you can take on your political nature and do whatever you want with it.
"You want to talk to me about my knighthood, it's very nice of you to have me, but I couldn't give a shot." Yorkshireman Boycott has always denied the attack.
Computer Consultant Mrs. Moore suffered bruises on her forehead and black eyes in the attack at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes in October 1996.
Boycott, who was fined £ 5,000 and was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, accused her of a & # 39; stain on my name & # 39; to have put and maintained her injuries by accidental slip and fall.
Boycott who gets a knighthood on the resignation list of Theresa May. It is shown in 2017
But prosecutor Jean-Yves Duval rejected Boycott's claims and said that the injuries were "absolutely incompatible" with an accident and that the lawyer of the cricket player Jean-Luc Cardona was not resistant to investigation.
Yesterday, Boycott again insisted that he was innocent of the Today program and told Miss Kearney that it was & # 39; very difficult to prove your innocence in another country, another language & # 39 ;. Later, during an interview yesterday in the Victoria Derbyshire BBC2 program, Mrs. Claire said she believed that Boycott & # 39; s knighthood & # 39; taken away & # 39; had to be.
Furious Boycott later refused to appear on BBC's flagship program in an apparent protest against the line of questions, it was claimed.
Sources said that pre-arranged interviews with BBC Breakfast and Radio 5 Live had to be suspended, with bosses saying they were angry with the payments he received from the broadcaster for his regular slots on Test Match Special.
Other campaign groups have also criticized the decision to grant him a knighthood.
Women & # 39; s Equality UK said: & # 39; It's amazing and hypocritical that Theresa May introduced the Domestic Abuse Bill as her last attempt at a domestic legacy, while also approving a knighthood for a man convicted of domestic violence. & # 39; MP Dawn Butler, Labor's Women and Equality Spokesperson, said the move & # 39; an insult to victims and survivors of domestic violence & # 39; and added: & # 39; Boris Johnson must withdraw his knighthood today. & # 39;
And former deputy Labor leader Harriet Harman told Sky News: "This is an honor from Theresa May and she has campaigned against the horror of domestic violence. So to give someone an honor who has been convicted of blackening the eyes and bruising the face of his girlfriend, I am very surprised and bewildered how this could have happened. & # 39;
But Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Tory MP for the Cotswolds, said, "It was a very serious and very stupid thing he did 20 years ago, but there is a point where people need to be rehabilitated for their offenses."
A spokesperson for No. 10 said yesterday: "It is a long-standing convention that the departing prime minister can draw up a list of resignation or dissolution and it is customary for the new prime minister to send the list to the queen for approval without amendment."
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