This film is part of Free

Basil D'Oliveira at Weston-super-Mare

Basil D’Oliveira signs autographs for young fans as he becomes the focus of the sporting world

Sport 1968 1 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


A universally accepted truth in the D'Oliveira Affair is that Basil D'Oliveira or Dolly conducted himself like a true gentleman. Here he signs autographs as a political storm brews. The South-African born player of Indian-Portuguese descent moved to Britain in 1960 escaping apartheid. In 1964 Dolly joined Worcestershire CCC and went on to play for England. In the Fifth Ashes Test against Australia at the Oval he scored an impressive 158 runs which helped to seal victory.

At a meeting chaired by Doug Insole of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at Lord’s on 27 August 1968 the England team to tour South Africa was selected. Lord Cobham and MCC President Alec Douglas-Home were keen not to isolate Pretoria so D’Oliveira was left out. There was a public outcry. On 16 September D’Oliveira was called up and on 17 the South African Prime Minister B J Vorster announced that he would not accept Basil D’Oliveira as a member of the MCC touring team. The D’Oliveira Affair had international repercussions and marked the complete isolation of an apartheid South Africa in official world sport until Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1993.