Deng Yaping featured in the BBC Documentary to be shown on Monday 11th September 2006
Planet Ping Pong is the title of a documentary to be shown by BBC4 Television at 10.00pm on Monday 11th September 2006; BBC4 is the digital channel.
Time Shift enters the world of table tennis and traces how an English parlour game once known as ‘whiff-whaff’ became the most popular sport in Asia, championed by Mao Zedong and how did it almost brought an end to the Cold War.
The programme revisits the glory days of table tennis in the 1930s and 1940s, when thousands packed Wembley Stadium in London to watch heroes like Johnny Leach do battle with the greats of Europe.
It researches how a simple bat made of sponge changed the game forever in 1952 and the programme interviews one of the game’s mavericks, the New York hustler Marty ‘the Needle’ Reisman.
The programme features interviews with Britain’s only World Men’s Singles champion, Johnny Leach, China’s former World and Olympic Women’s Singles champion, Deng Yaping and members of the American team who visited China in 1971 plus writers Howard Jacobson and Matthew Syed.
There is a wealth of images of celebrities and famous figures playing table tennis, including Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Prince Charles and Camilla, Tony Blair, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart.
Executive Producer is Michael Poole, the Series Producer John Das and the Producer/Director Robert Murphy.
For further information about the programme, contact:
Robert Murphy, BBC Bristol
Phone: 0117 974 7604 or 07711 305 818