Recently, on BBC2 late afternoon/early evening, two consecutive programmes featured croquet. First, in 'The Weakest Link', Quizmistress Anne Robinson asked 'in which lawn sport do Great Britain compete against New Zealand and Australia for the MacRobertson Shield' (She missed out the USA, not me). The contestant got it right.
Next up, 'The Simpsons' featured the episode in which Marge plays croquet in a country club. No doubt we will see a sudden rise in CA membership on the back of this publicity coup.
Another croquet mention again on BBC2 was in last week's Robot Wars. Presenter Craig Charles made a joke (I forget in relation to what) about thinking you're great jumping hurdles in the back yard before realising they were croquet hoops.
The creators of the Simpsons must have been backyard croquet players. Over the 10+ seasons of the show, there have been no less than 6 references to croquet in various episodes.
In "O Brother Where Art Thou" where Homer discovers his long lost brother (voiced by Danny De Vito) the kids play croquet on the lawn of their uncle's mansion.
In "I Married Marge" where Homer and Marge tell Lisa and Bart the story of Bart's birth, the kids become bored at one point and are seen through the window in the backyard playing croquet (Bart has his foot on his ball as he is about to send Lisa's ball into the distance)
"Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield" contains the scene mentioned in the original posting where Marge plays croquet and exchanges quips with the ladies at the Springfield Country Club.
In "Seymour Skinners Sweet Bad Ass Song" Groundskeeper Willie calls Principal Skinner (in a thick Scottish accent) a "...ye croquet playing mitt muncher (??)."
"Grade School Confidential" shows a croquet set in the backyard at Martin Prince's birthday party.
And finally there is a reference to croquet in the ninth Halloween special "Treehouse of Terror IX" but sorry the specifics escape me.
The millions among you who got through the French language version (with subtitles) of "le Compte de Monte Cristo" on BBC2 after Christmas - six one hour episodes - starring M. G. Depardieu, will have spotted a strange croquet like game being played in what may have been the Bois de Bologne. The period was meant to be about 1835-1840.
ITV's 'Who wants to be a millionaire' featured a question about croquet a while back too. I forget what question exactly, but I'm pretty sure it was about the final hoop - Is it called Rover, Spot, etc.? The person got it right
Croquet was featured in The New Yankee Workshop USA originating series (which shows Norm making a variety of woodworking projects, using power tools, and is carried on the cable channel Discovery Home and Leisure) which featured croquet. Norm made four (cylindrical) mallets, brass bound, and a seat with a box to hold the set.
There were some brief shots of croquet being played. I don't know when it will be repeated, but it might be worth looking out for.
It originally aired on PBS about a year ago. Oakley Woods Croquet was consulted during their research stage and worked with them through most of the show (from about a 1000 miles away). Norm did however, take certain design features into his own hands. I found it interesting to watch Norm as he made the mallet. After having discussed the more traditional mallet making techniques with his producer, I see how he puts a distinctive "small, old world workshop" spin on his methodology. Along with making the mallet, he builds a deacon's bench for outdoor storage/sitting space for his croquet court.
If you don't want to wait for it to be re-broadcast, WGBH sells video tapes of each episode. You can contact them through the New Yankee Workshop's website, www.newyankee.com/ The tapes and, for those with some woodworking skills, measured drawings can be ordered online.
Croquet was also mentioned in The Times on January 15th. In a short evaluation of Edward Stourton (currently a presenter of Today on Radio 4, but possibly for not much longer) under Humour, and I quote:-
"No hint of it on the air, and he sometimes seems too busy trying to sound well-connected (he's a member of the Hurlingham Club) to come up with killer questions. But his Who's Who entry lists croquet as his favourite sport. Now that's funny.