This may seem
like an ideal solution to an annoying problem for cricket
lovers living outside the UK, but it’s only fair to set out
the disadvantages of using a proxy server. Generally
speaking these servers appear to be rather
unreliable in that connection speeds are slow and that
one that works well one day may not work at all the next. In
fact since I wrote the first version of this piece,
I would say that fewer and fewer of the proxy servers listed
on the net have any functionality at all. You may get
lucky, and find a connection that offers a fluent audio
stream without annoying buffering breaks every fifteen
seconds, but be prepared for a lot of
The decline in available proxy servers is
baffling, but I’ve found enough evidence from like-minded
cricket nuts to suggest that the BBC deny access to proxy
servers as they find them. No doubt this involves paying the
techies a substantial amount for their time – nice to know
that the licence fee is being so usefully spent!
Even if you are lucky enough to get a
proxy server to work, be aware that there is a potential
security issue here in that you are routing the flow of data
from the Internet to your computer via a third party about
which you know very little. If you’re just listening to the
cricket there’s no risk involved, but I strongly suggest you
revert to normal browsing for things like online
banking. All you have to do is uncheck the proxy option,
and the proxy IP address and port will be saved but
greyed out. You can always re-check the option and use the
proxy again when the next match starts.
2: Much more efficient but you have to pay
can get programs that hide or disguise your IP address for
you. Basically, the program routes your internet connection
via a proxy server in a country of your choice. These proxy
servers are much more reliable as you pay a subscription for
them and they are therefore well-maintained. The program I
use is called Hide IP and
here’s the link. The program itself
is free and you pay a reasonably priced subscription for the service.
I’ve used it extensively with Internet Explorer and unlike the free proxies, the connection is reliable and fast enough to provide a continuous audio stream.
Hide IP also works with Firefox and apparently with Chrome, though I have not used the latter.
I am generally very happy with the program, though I can’t pretend that it’s not rather creaky. Some of the UK IP addresses on offer either don’t work at all or do work but don’t fool the BBC site (the latter may be down to the BBC hunting down proxy IPs rather than a fault with the program). There is always at least one UK IP that does get you through, however, and problem IPs do eventually get repaired or removed. You may have to be selective in which of the UK IPs you use, though despite this reservation I still recommend the program. A few minutes of fiddling around is a small price to pay for being able to listen to a five day Test match.
A tip for those who do get this program: if you have tried to connect to the cricket using your non-UK IP address, you will probably need to clear out your cookies and temporary Internet files before you can get the cricket using Hide IP’s UK proxy.
There are, of course, some people who use proxy
servers to mask their identity for more sinister reasons. I
neither condone, nor take responsibility for, the use of a
proxy server to secure anonymity for mindless or criminal behaviour. I wrote
this article simply to help those like myself who are
frustrated by being unable to get hold of TMS while abroad.
Enjoy the cricket and good luck to our
This piece was written in the late noughties when the broadcasting restrictions for TMS came into being. I’ve updated it several times since then, including removing a rant about the BBC’s decline in quality and blatant left-wing bias. After all, expats desperate to find a way to listen to Test matches abroad are unlikely to want to wade through a polemic.
I stand by what I said, though – especially about bias. You don’t have to take my word for it: Peter Sissons, a long-serving BBC presenter, said the same, as did Mark Thompson, and he ran
the BBC. Recently I found a cricket blog where the blogger, who had read an earlier version of this page, poured scorn on my assertions of bias with that kind of leaden sarcasm which some people think passes for rational argument. It turns out that the blogger is a card-carrying leftie, so that’s vindication on a plate!