John McCririck

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John McCririck
John McCririck 2.jpg
McCririck in 2006
Born (1940-04-17) 17 April 1940 (age 78)
Surbiton, Surrey, England
OccupationHorse racing pundit, journalist, presenter
Years active1978–present
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][clarification needed]


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 a 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] taking Channel 4 to an employment tribunal. 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 television station and IMG (the production company) that he was dropped because he was "offensive" and "disgusting".[7]

In 2018 John joined the editorial team at The Racing Paper as a weekly columnist.

Other media appearances[edit]

McCririck appeared in a 1989 episode of You Bet!, during Bruce Forsyth's tenure as host. He forfeit when he failed his challenge 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!"[citation needed]

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. McCririck has also appeared during ITV's Snooker coverage also in a betting capacity.[citation needed]

In 1997, McCririck was tricked by two separate episodes of spoof TV show Brass Eye.[citation needed]

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]

In 2006 he appeared in the Episode Drama on the show Still Game as himself on Channel 4 racing telling Winston Ingram which horse to back.[citation needed]

In September 2007, he appeared on The Alan Titchmarsh Show and ran into conflict with Ingrid Tarrant in discussing her marriage to Chris Tarrant. He claimed that she was no good in bed and this was a cause for his marital infidelities. Following his comments live on air he was forced off the show by host Alan Titchmarsh.[citation needed]

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. 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]

In 2011, he was featured in the 4th episode of the British version of Celebrity Ghost Stories recounting his experiences of a haunted passageway at Harrow School.[citation needed]

On 26 June 2015, on the sixteenth series of Big Brother, it was announced that McCririck would be returning to Big Brother, taking part in Big Brother's Hotel from Hell the following week, where he would be staying in the house and other ex-housemates would join him on Monday 29 June.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

McCririck 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.[13] McCririck is also a well known supporter of both Newcastle United F.C. and Coventry City F.C.[citation needed]

In early 2018, McCririck contracted the flu which resulted in a chest infection. The illness caused him to have dramatic weight loss.[14]


  1. ^ Elizabeth College Register, Volume IV (1940–1975), student number 4720, p. 182, compiled by Keith Bichard, published 2000 in Guernsey
  2. ^ "Headlines".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Interview: John McCririck – The Guardian –".
  4. ^ "John McCririck sacked from Channel 4 racing team". The Daily Telegraph. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  5. ^ "John McCririck accuses Channel 4 of ageism after racing veterans axed". The Guardian. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  6. ^ "John McCririck -v- Channel 4 Television Corporation and IMG Media Ltd".
  7. ^ Claire Duffin "'Unpalatable' John McCririck loses his age discrimination case against Channel 4", The Daily Telegraph, 13 November 2013
  8. ^ "Programmes – Most Popular – All 4".
  9. ^ "Weakest Link – what time is it on TV? Episode 94 Series 7 cast list and preview".
  10. ^ "McCririck cooks up a stir at 'Hell's Kitchen'". 29 April 2005.
  11. ^ "Big Brother news and gossip – Unreality TV". Archived from the original on 5 October 2013.
  12. ^ "The Big Interview: John McCririck". The Times. London. 13 March 2005. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
  13. ^ "Celebrity Wife Swap – Episode Guide – All 4".
  14. ^ Mitchell, Bea (5 October 2018). "John McCririck shocks Big Brother's Bit on the Side viewers with huge weight loss". Digital Spy. (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 5 October 2018.

External links[edit]