THE fact Tony Greig has one of the most distinctive voices in sports broadcasting was both a blessing and a curse for Alexander England.
The former Albury actor plays the ex-England cricket captain in the new TV series Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War starting this Sunday night on WIN.
England said one of his focuses was mastering Greig’s South African accent which was layered with traces of the cricketer’s time in Britain and the vocal influences of his Scottish father.
“Tony’s not one who’s ever been shy of the camera and that means everyone’s aware of what he sounds like so, if you get it wrong, everyone’s going to be well aware of that,” England said.
“But the upside is that there are plenty of recordings, plenty of stuff to listen to in trying to recreate his sound and his accent.”
Greig shades England when it comes to height but the Albury actor said it wasn’t a major problem.
“I’m tall and blond, so we were halfway there,” England said.
“He’s six feet six (197cm) and I’m six feet three (190cm) — I’m about the closest they could get.”
England and another ex-Albury actor, Travis McMahon (who plays comedian Paul Hogan) feature in Howzat!
“Travis and I didn’t have any scenes together but I knew he was an Albury boy, so I introduced myself on set and we had a chat,” England said.
England’s latest television role is very different to his last, as the gentle young bushranger giant Conrad Fischer in last year’s Seven Network series Wild Boys.
“There are fewer horses, which is good,” said England who fell from his steed and dislocated a knee.
“It’s different playing someone who’s a real-life person rather than just a character.
“It is a little strange when you know the actual person’s going to be watching but I decided a long time ago I’d just give it my best.”
Greig’s decision to join the Kerry Packer camp lost him the English captaincy and made him the most vilified cricketer of his era.
At 31, Greig decided on the radical and risky move to secure his family’s future.
In a newspaper article last weekend, Greig said he was nervous about how he would be portrayed by England.
The actor, 26, said he did not think Greig had anything to worry about.
“I was aware of everything he risked to get it going, It’s kind of inspiring the lengths he went to to pursue what he thought was the right course of action,” England said.
“Cricketers were paid decent money for the first time.”
Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War will premiere at 8.30pm on Sunday on WIN.