John McCririck

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John McCririck
John McCririck 2.jpg
McCririck in 2006
Born (1940-04-17) 17 April 1940 (age 74)
Surbiton, Surrey, England
Nationality English
Education Elizabeth College, Guernsey; Victoria College, Jersey; Harrow School
Occupation Horse racing pundit, journalist, broadcaster
Years active 1978, 1981–2013 (Contract not renewed)
Spouse(s) Jenny McCririck (m. 1971)

John McCririck (born 17 April 1940) is an English television horse racing pundit.

Early life[edit]

Born in Surbiton, Surrey, McCririck was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey,[1] Victoria College, Jersey;[2] and Harrow School where his fellow pupils included later fellow racing journalist Julian Wilson.[3] He left with three O-Levels, having also run the book on cross country races.[3]

Career[edit]

After failing to get into the diplomatic service, he was briefly a waiter at the Dorchester hotel.[3] 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.[3]

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.[3] 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.[3]

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.[3] 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,[4] which McCririck blamed on ageism.[5] 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."[6] 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 TV station and IMG (the production company) that he was dropped because he was "offensive" and "disgusting".[7]

Other media appearances[edit]

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 January 2005 he was a contestant in the third series of Celebrity Big Brother.[8] 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.[9]

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."[10]

McCririck was a housemate in Ultimate Big Brother in August 2010.[11]

Personal life[edit]

He refers to his wife Jenny as 'The Booby', and has been accused of frequent misogyny.[12]

In 2006, the couple took part in Wife Swap alongside Edwina Currie and her husband (also called John).[13]

References[edit]

External links[edit]