The remarkable memoirs of the BBC’s long-serving racing correspondent Julian Wilson, who recalls his society lifestyle and describes the turmoil within the Corporation in a fascinating look behind the scenes in racing’s corridors of power.
Julian Wilson’s life story is one of colour and controversy. His early years were spent satisfying his hunger for horse racing amid the escapades of cricket and rugby. From London to Glasgow, then on to Newmarket, the home of racing, where he developed his passion for the sport, he went on to join the BBC as a radio broadcaster.
In his flamboyant style, Wilson reminisces about the great horses of his time – Hyperion, Pontenuovo, Red Rum and Shergar – while under the microscope go a host of owners, trainers, jockeys and commentators, among them Lester Piggott, Walter Swinburn, Peter O’Sullevan, Des Lynam and David Coleman.
Off the track, he relives the merry-go-round of parties, gambling and infidelities with the smart set that were such a feature of the Swinging Sixties.
There is also Wilson’s forthright and at times brutally honest account of the internal strife at the BBC which followed financial cutbacks and the loss of racing contracts.
His autobiography is essential reading for devotees of horse racing’s ‘high life’ as well as punters seeking a unique insight into the sport.
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“lively and full: frankly recalled, beautifully written and always entertaining.”
The Racing Post
From school at Harrow to the mean streets of Glasgow; from low life on Manchester’s Moss Side to high life in Barbados and St Moritz, via the King’s Road in the Swinging Sixties: the frenetic pace and colour of Julian Wilson’s extraordinary, incident-packed life belies the quiet-voiced urbanity so familiar to millions of BBC Television viewers until his retirement in 1997.
Always a sporting achiever, and always passionate about his chosen sports, Wilson’s addiction to racing began at the age of nine as he listened to the radio commentaries of the great Raymond Glendening. Joining the BBC as their television racing correspondent in 1996, he embarked on a long and distinguished career during which he has never been shy of controversy.
Now, in these remarkably frank memoirs, Wilson’s not only exhumes hitherto untold escapades from his own colourful past – some of them hilarious, some truly shocking – but draws back the veil on a rollercoaster life at the BBC and his sometimes stormy relationships with fellow broadcasters including David Coleman and Peter O’Sullevan.
A lifelong involvement with the Turf, which began with his arrival in Newmarket as a rookie reporter with nowhere to live and no contacts among racing’s notoriously stand-offish Establishment, has given Wilson an unrivalled inside knowledge of the sport and its most famous names. On horses and jockeys, trainers and owners, betting and the politics of the racing industry, Julian Wilson has a story to tell – and he does so, characteristically, without pulling punches.
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