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Autobiography and Biography

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

downloadIn his first book, David Jason told us about his life so far, from his time growing up at Lodge Lane, Finchley to the TV actor we all know and love today. In this, the follow-up, he tells us more about the characters he has portrayed from Granville in Open All Hours, Frost and not forgetting Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter from Only Fools and Horses.

I am a huge fan of David Jason and over the years I have loved his portrayal of some of the most iconic characters on British TV, my favourites being the aforementioned Del Boy and Detective Inspector Jack Frost. I’ve also always had a soft spot for Blanco from Porridge and was pleased to see him referenced in this book. Only Fools and Stories is a delightful behind-the-scenes look at all of these programmes featuring numerous tales that I had never heard before. It was satisfying to read about the genuine friendships that developed on Only Fools and Horses and I enjoyed the stories of practical jokes played on other members of the cast.

It was interesting to see how the different characters came about and his role in developing them. I was disappointed to read that there was potentially a Frost spin-off in the pipeline, featuring the retired detective as a private investigator, but that it never materialized. I would have loved to have watched Frost’s continuing development.

One of the things I enjoy about David Jason’s style of writing it that it is easy to imagine his voice as you read the words. This made it a very entertaining read and a perfect follow-on to this previous autobiography. I just hope that he continues to entertain us for years to come, providing him with enough material for a third autobiography.

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Walter Dew: The Man Who Caught Crippen by Nicholas Connell

51z4a1hexblPerhaps most known for his transatlantic chase to apprehend the suspected murderer Dr. Crippen and his alleged accomplice Ethel Le Neve, Walter Dew: The Man Who Caught Crippen tells the story of the detective’s humble beginnings to his retirement from the police force after almost thirty years of service. Containing original research and excerpts from Dew’s own biography, Nicholas Connell gives a fascinating insight into one of the twentieth century’s most notorious criminal cases.

As someone who has an interest in nineteenth and early twentieth century crime, this book begged to be bought when I saw it at a local bookshop. I had also wanted to read more about Walter Dew after reading the fictional The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey. I have read many books of this genre and find that, sometimes, there can be too much emphasis placed on quoting trial transcripts ad verbatim. This was not the case here and I found this book a very easy yet informative read.

Although much of the book is taken up, understandably, by the Crippen case, I was pleased to see that there was also a large section devoted to Dew’s involvement in the Jack the Ripper investigation. Dew’s recollections of being one of the first policemen on the scene of the Mary Jane Kelly murder were absorbing and gives readers an awareness of how horrific it must have been to witness what he did.

I was also pleased to see a little cameo role for the pathologist Bernard Spilsbury – a personal favourite of mine!

Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in true crime.

The World According to Danny Dyer: Life Lessons from the East End

41nk2ofpkdlNow a household name playing Mick Carter on Eastenders, life hasn’t always been a bed of roses for Danny Dyer. Born in Custom House, in London, Life Lessons from the East End gives us an insightful look into what it was like growing up in an area where becoming an actor was not exactly top of everyone’s career choice list.

More a collection of stories and anecdotes than an autobiography, it is hard to read this book without hearing the voice of the man himself due to phraseology being used. For those not able to translate the Cockney rhyming slang throughout the book, a glossary of terms is provided at the back! Danny is very forthright with his opinions and while some of them may not be to everyone’s liking, he certainly makes a lot of sense on a great many issues.

I found this a very funny read with quite a few genuine ‘laugh out loud’ moments. Danny comes across as a very normal, down-to-earth man and while the liberal use of profanities may offend some, if you are reading this book you must surely know what language to expect!

An enjoyable read.

 

Legacy by Tim Cahill

The son of a Samoan mother and an English father, ‘Legacy’ is the autobiography of Australian footballer Tim Cahill. Known primarily in the UK for his many years spent at Everton, the book charts the beginning of his career in the country of his birth, to his arrival in England with Millwall and leads up to his time at current team Shanghai Shenhua.

One thing that can be said about this autobiography is that if you are expecting scandal then this is not the book for you. A lot of the book centres around how his great work ethic has propelled Tim from his humble background to, arguably, the most successful footballer in Australian history. Unlike a lot of autobiographies, this is not simply a recount of various dressing room tales but more of an account of how he got to where he is today.

His liking for all his previous clubs is apparent but it is his love for Everton that shines through; from the players and management to the backroom staff and fans, it is clear to see that Everton is in his heart. This is not just about club football, however, as much of the book is taken up with his international career – something which he is seemingly very proud of.

It will be interesting to see if he achieves his aim of buying an A-League club when his playing days are finally over. Any chance of a role at Everton first, Tim?!

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