McCririck in 2006
17 April 1940 |
Surbiton, Surrey, England
|Education||Elizabeth College, Guernsey; Victoria College, Jersey; Harrow School|
|Occupation||Horse racing pundit, Journalist, Presenter|
|Years active||1978, 1981–2013 (Contract not renewed)|
|Spouse(s)||Jenny McCririck (m. 1971)|
Born in Surbiton, Surrey, McCririck was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, Victoria College, Jersey; and Harrow School where his fellow pupils included later fellow racing journalist Julian Wilson. He left with three O-Levels, having also run the book on cross country races.
After failing to get into the diplomatic service, he was briefly a waiter at the Dorchester hotel. During the era when off-course betting was illegal in the UK, he worked for an illegal bookmaker, before becoming a bookmaker himself, which he admits that he failed at. He then became a tic-tac man.
He began his career in journalism at The Sporting Life, where he twice won at the British Press Awards for his campaigning journalism; he was sacked in 1984. He joined the Daily Star, but was later sacked by the newspaper after allegations emerged that he was in debt to his bookmaker; he later successfully sued the paper at an employment tribunal.
Having previously become a results sub-editor on the BBC's Grandstand, from 1981 he joined ITV Sport's horse racing coverage; he had previously appeared in a debate about fox hunting on the ITV children's programme Saturday Banana in 1978. During 1984 and 1985, horse racing moved from ITV to Channel 4 as Channel 4 Racing, where his role was expanded and he reported from the betting ring. His signature flamboyant attire of large deerstalker hat, sideburns and brightly coloured, matching suits and trousers, coupled with huge cigars, became a recognisable personal style.
In October 2012 it was announced by Channel 4 that McCririck would not be included in the team presenting racing from January 2013, which McCririck blamed on ageism. On 13 November, the tribunal ruled against McCririck: "The unanimous judgement of the Tribunal is that the Claimant's claim of direct age discrimination fails." It continued, "All the evidence is that Mr McCririck's pantomime persona, as demonstrated on the celebrity television appearances and his persona when appearing on Channel 4 Racing, together with his self-described bigoted and male chauvinist views, were clearly unpalatable to a wider potential audience." The panel was told by witnesses from the television station and IMG (the production company) that he was dropped because he was "offensive" and "disgusting".
Other media appearances
McCririck appeared on the 1991 Bullseye Christmas Special, winning the top prize for his chosen charity. He has also appeared in the Celebrity Poker Club television series, reaching the Grand Finale of series one, won by Sir Clive Sinclair.
In 1997 McCririck was tricked by two separate episodes of spoof TV show Brass Eye.
In January 2005 he was a contestant in the third series of Celebrity Big Brother. He has competed on the Weakest Link twice: once as a solo contestant on the 2005 Reality TV Special, and on the B list Celebrity Duos Special with his wife, Jenny.
McCririck appeared on an episode of Hell's Kitchen (season 3, episode 8) in which Head Chef Marco Pierre White refused to serve him after McCririck told him that his consommé was 'greasy', in spite of being informed that it contained foie gras and truffle oil. Pierre White commented after the sequence, "I know John. He's awkward, he's got no taste. All you have to do is look at how he dresses."
McCririck also appeared in a 1989 episode of You Bet!, during Bruce Forsyth's tenure as host. His forfeit when his challenged failed was to milk a cow live in the studio. Before his challenge, he tried to teach Forsyth all the symbols involved in horse racing betting, leading Forsyth to eventually quip, "We're going to run out of tape!"
- Elizabeth College Register, Volume IV (1940–1975), student number 4720, p. 182, compiled by Keith Bichard, published 2000 in Guernsey
- Interview: John McCririck | The Guardian | guardian.co.uk
- "John McCririck sacked from Channel 4 racing team". The Daily Telegraph. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- "John McCririck accuses Channel 4 of ageism after racing veterans axed". The Guardian. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- Claire Duffin "'Unpalatable' John McCririck loses his age discrimination case against Channel 4", telegraph.co.uk, 13 November 2013
- John McCririck - Celebrities - Big Brother
- Radio Times - Weakest Link Special Edition
- McCririck cooks up a stir at 'Hell's Kitchen'
- John McCririck enters Ultimate Big Brother
- "The Big Interview: John McCririck". The Times (London). 2005-03-13. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
- Celebrity Wife Swap - Edwina Currie and John McCririck
- John McCririck at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview in The Guardian, July 4, 2001
- Channel 4 Horse Racing
- John McCririck profile at Biogs.com