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John McCririck's Biography

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John McCririck was a rather eccentric racing pundit, who supported Newcastle United, and could often be seen on racecourses in a deerstalker and cape, waving his hands about in a fashion that purported to be that of a tic-tac man, and then shouting "Female - what's happening on the exchanges?"

David Elsworth in The Racing Post's version of Room 101 on 25 April 2004 had 'Big Mac' as the first item he would consign to the bin!

John McCririck had some rather right-wing views, hated the use of the whip in horse racing, and was often the subject of Paul Haigh's column in The Racing Post.

The Guardian's excellent article about McCririck gave a flavour of the man:

"If you switch on Channel 4's racing coverage on Saturdays, you will see a large man dressed in strange clothes and an outlandish hat waving manically at the camera ... You can love or loathe John McCririck (the television critic Nina Myskow said he had all the charm of an armpit), but he is hard to ignore. Big Mac, as his admirers call him, is tall and heavily built, smokes huge Lusitania cigars, has a voice as loud as his clothes, and stalks the racecourse betting ring as if he owns it."

John McCririck was a keen poker player, and if his television performances were anything to go by, he had an insatiable appetite for bluffing.

John McCririck was educated at Harrow, where he obtained three O-levels. Before getting into betting and sports journalism he was a waiter at The Dorchester.

In March 2010 it was revealed that John McCririck's exposure on Channel Four was being cut with him no longer featuring in the majority of their Saturday afternoon racing coverage.

Having been on Celebrity Big Brother in 2005, five years later, in 2010, John McCririck returned to the Big Brother house - this time as one of the ultimate housemates. However, he was the first housemate to be evicted.

In November 2013, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled that John McCririck lost his job at Channel 4 because his "pantomime persona" was "unpalatable". McCririck had claimed that he was dropped by Channel 4 from their horse-racing coverage after 29 years because of his age, but the tribunal came down in favour of the broadcaster.

In October 2018, the press reported on John McCririck losing three stones in weight.

He died on 5 July 2019, aged 79.

August 2010: John McCririck re-enters Big Brother

On 24 August 2010, John McCririck was selected as one of the housemates to enter the 'Ultimate Big Brother'. Three days later he was the first housemate to be evicted.

September 2007: John McCririck has two early exits

Hot on the heels of John McCririck and Booby's early departure from Hell's Kitchen at the hands of Marco Pierre White, McCririck was asked to leave The Alan Titchmarsh Show by Alan Titchmarsh after he told Ingrid Tarrant that her husband Chris strayed because she was "bad in bed".

30 April 2005: John McCririck in Hell's Kitchen altercation

No stranger to heated debate and strong opinions, John McCririck was involved in a feisty exchange with Jean-Christophe Novelli in last night's Hell's Kitchen.

Their argument ran:

Novelli: "I don't like you, I think you're a pig. The way you treat your wife is very unfair."

McCririck: "But I'm a punter. Is that how you treat your customers?"

Novelli: "Well you're a pig - I treat you the way you treat your wife. Just f**k off, just go away ..."

McCririck to his wife, Booby: "The Frenchman, bloody cheek, said he doesn't like me because of the way I treat my wife. I'm a customer. Bloody Frenchman - they want us to join the common market, it's potty, they want us to join up to the Euro. I've never heard anything like it. Luckily we didn't go with the blue kitchen."

29 January 2005: John McCririck receives tough words from Barney Curley.

Anybody who has read Barney Curley's autobiography, Giving A Little Back will realise that the man is a character. Yesterday, Mr. Curley launched a verbal assault on John McCririck, Luke Harvey and Matt Chapman on At The Races. McCririck had attacked the Jockey Club's decision not to hold an inquiry into the running of Curley's Cristoforo.

Curley said:

"You [Luke Harvey] are talking rubbish, you were an under-achiever in life ...Of course the stewards have looked into it, it couldn't have been the soft ground, he was beaten too far out, that's why you [John McCririck] don't know anything about racing. What have you contributed to racing? You are one of those take-out merchants, take all you can ...

"The stewards had an inquiry. To keep your name, John, you are always upping up things. You are a farce, and he [Luke Harvey] knows nothing about racing. He was an under-achiever and knows nothing. The show's over boys..."

17 January 2005: John McCririck evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother House.

Diet-Coke lover, John McCririck was evicted from Celebrity Big Brother tonight. He had claimed he wanted to get out as soon as possible and he didn't have to wait too long after missing out on the first eviction, which went to Jackie Stallone.

Here are some of Big Mac's pearls of wisdom whilst he was in the house:

  • "The best thing is for men to go out with ugly girls because they're grateful for what they get."
  • "Every time you fart, or flatulate, or whatever, you live another 10 minutes. You're getting the poisons out of your body."
  • "Picking your nose is really healthy, and eating it. Mine's very tasty."
  • "Always fly club class, never fly cattle truck."
  • "Vindictive, spiteful, not a nice person." (McCririck describing himself)

6 January 2005: It has been confirmed that John McCririck has entered the Celebrity Big Brother House.

It is totally unpredictable how McCririck will get on. Bookies and exchanges have him as an outsider, but Ed Pownall of Blue Square was not so sure, being reported in The Racing Post as saying:

"I just don't subscribe to the view that John should be a massive price because I think vote-wise, even at his ebullient best, people are going to keep him in because he is going to be entertaining ..."

A novelty bet is available at 12-1 that McCririck is going to be the subject of a sexist complaint from a fellow guest before Saturday's edition of The Morning Line.

Maybe there are people out there that believe it may come from Germaine Greer, but in my view Greer is an extraordinary character and totally unpredictable.

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