Tim Rice

Summer Notebook

As I left Lord’s at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon to go to The Lion King European premiere I felt uneasy. Not because I doubted England’s chances of overhauling New Zealand’s apparently modest 241, but because I felt guilty at deserting Bairstow for Beyoncé, Morgan for Mufasa. There was no reason to suppose the remainder of the day’s play would be anything out of the ordinary. I’d been to Lord’s literally hundreds of times and more often than not left the ground simply contented to have spent time in its life-affirming surroundings; it had not really mattered whether the cricket itself had been memorable. Okay, this was a World Cup final — but the last one I had attended at Lord’s had not been a gripper. Having to leave was a drag but I doubted that this was a misjudgment that would haunt me for the remainder of my days.

But duty called. My fault for writing the movie’s songs with Sir Elton in the first place. The wise folks at Disney had clearly not factored the cricket into their plans for the London launch of their latest blockbuster. So by 5 o’clock I was standing in my dinner jacket in a line of A-listers (and lesser mortals) in an increasingly warm cinema foyer in Leicester Square, wishing I had instead attended the Los Angeles world premiere a week earlier. My brother Jo was updating me with the score as Harry and Meghan were introduced to the team behind The Lion King, some of whom I had known and worked with for a quarter of a century, others new to me but, like Jofra Archer, clearly invaluable contributors to the enterprise they had recently joined.

By the time HRH got to me he was glad to be informed that Buttler and Stokes were turning things around, but it only began to be apparent that this was going to be one of the tightest finishes since W.G.

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