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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read
I found this book to be a very enjoyable read, not least because Tommo (as he is generally known to the public) has confessed to some serious flaws. Don't we all have those? I can't say I agree with all of Tommo's opinions, nor can I endorse everything he has done, but overall I think he has been good for British racing. It seems that he had a good start in life, being...
Published 21 months ago by Peter Durward Harris

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy Derek's story
Derek Thompson is a controversial figure. Undoubtedly hard-working, enthusiastic about horse racing, he is an outstanding racecourse commentator, a good radio and television broadcaster and showed a positive attitude in his successful battle against bowel cancer. Against that has to be balanced the less desirable aspects of his character..

Derek Thompson is...
Published 11 months ago by Trevor Newstead


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read, 18 Oct. 2013
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tommo: Too Busy to Die (Hardcover)
I found this book to be a very enjoyable read, not least because Tommo (as he is generally known to the public) has confessed to some serious flaws. Don't we all have those? I can't say I agree with all of Tommo's opinions, nor can I endorse everything he has done, but overall I think he has been good for British racing. It seems that he had a good start in life, being born to parents who have been very supportive. A lot of us haven't been so lucky, as Tommo acknowledges. He also made a lifelong friend at the age of 4 who also became famous - Bob Champion.

Tommo's life and career have been quite eventful. He worked for BBC radio in the 70s, when he contributed part of the commentary for the Grand Nationals; he did the bit near Valentine's. Less famously, he originally tried being a jockey, but was unsuccessful. His only victory came many years later, when he rode against Prince Charles and some others in a special event. Another bizarre episode was the Shergar kidnap, in which Tommo was asked to be one of the negotiators to free him. Completing a trio of bizarre episodes was the Top Cees court case, in which Tommo was subpoenaed to be a witness. He did so reluctantly, knowing that if he refused he might go to prison, and that if he obeyed the court order, he might alienate a lot of people.

Tommo has had three wives. Little is said about the first, which was childless and may have been a case of both parties marrying too young, but the second and third marriages both produced children. The second marriage was to Janie, a daughter of rugby commentator Bill McLaren. Tommo is full of praise for Janie, saying how wonderful she was as wife and mother, but this didn't stop him eventually getting into a relationship with another (younger) woman. Janie left Tommo and died of cancer within a few years, still only in her mid-40s. Tommo can think himself fortunate that he remains on good terms with his and Janie's sons.

The book contains a lot about his TV and radio career, but it seems he missed a golden opportunity. He once asked the Queen if she would appear on the Morning Line one Saturday. When she asked if that would mean putting up with McCririck, he said yes, so she declined. What might have happened if he had suggested that just for her, it might be possible to leave him out for that day?

As another reviewer has said, Tommo is somewhat full of himself, but he has also acknowledged some flaws - and I might yet buy My Autobiography: The Voice of Rugby to see what he has to say about Tommo and Janie - so I enjoyed the book. I always thought of Tommo as a 5-star presenter and still do. I also think this book is a 5-star book, but maybe Tommo the man only deserves 4 stars. I heartily recommend this book to every fan of British horse racing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy Derek's story, 22 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Tommo: Too Busy to Die (Hardcover)
Derek Thompson is a controversial figure. Undoubtedly hard-working, enthusiastic about horse racing, he is an outstanding racecourse commentator, a good radio and television broadcaster and showed a positive attitude in his successful battle against bowel cancer. Against that has to be balanced the less desirable aspects of his character..

Derek Thompson is repeatedly boastful. Launching Sue Barker's television career, Robbie Williams going solo and saving Channel 4 Racing are three of his many claims.. His dislikes include John McCririck, not for one of many understandable reasons, but because of Big Mac's justifiable criticism of the rip-off telephone tipping lines, one of which gave Thompson such a good living for many years. Daniel Craig, Bo Derek and Sir Bruce Forsyth all come in for a good kicking for minor acts of rudeness.

He acknowledges his wrong behaviour in the break up of his his second marriage and neglect of his children, but certainly seems to have struck lucky with wife number three.

There is a clear inconsistency between being the self professed 'man of the people' and his desire to open as many betting shops as possible. He is clearly a bookmakers' man even if he suggests the opposite. Bookmakers want punters to lose as much as money as possible. Derek Thompson is helping them in their quest.

The main criticism to be made against him is his conduct in the Top Cees case and how he came away from it more or less unscathed. His behaviour in the scandal displayed the duplicitous side of his character. He states that for legal reasons he cannot repeat a conversation he had with jockey Kieren Fallon, but the exchange has been recorded elsewhere. After the resulting court case in which the judge severely criticised his conduct, Thompson should have offered his resignation from Channel Four Racing. He should have been sacked when he didn't'.

Horse racing is a sport that does not do itself any favours. All terrestrial racing is now on Channel 4, with far fewer viewers than when the BBC covered it as well. The annual awards are named after a jockey jailed for tax evasion, conduct like Thompson's is tolerated and there is an increasing involvement from Middle East royalty who turn a blind to democratic values in the societies they run.

The foreword to the book is written by Jeremy Kyle. Oddly appropriate perhaps.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertainingly frank, 23 Sept. 2013
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You need to be a Thommo admirer to fully appreciate this candid account. The parts dealing with his BBC and Channel 4 career are particularly revealing and how he came to terms with and fought his illness are movingly described. Since he hardly ever seemed to take any time off his recovery is remarkable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 22 May 2014
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This review is from: Tommo: Too Busy to Die (Paperback)
I'm not into this horse racing malarkey but the man in my life is. Bought as a gift for him this book has managed to have him reading instead of watching the TV. He tells me it's a brilliant book and often quotes interesting sections.
So my recommendation comes from a man who knows about the racing world and really appreciates this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid read, 29 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Tommo: Too Busy to Die (Paperback)
Good fun read that was ideal for a flight. Tommo leaves no stone unturned and you get to learn a lot about the racing industry behind the scenes.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read, 3 Oct. 2013
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Mr. A. G. Pilgrim (Great Yarmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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a good racing book by one of racings top reporters. a great insight into the racing world and television racing programes. I recomend this book to all interested in the world of racing.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Disappointing, 7 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Tommo: Too Busy to Die (Hardcover)
I am an avid reader of autobiographies and horse racing in particular. This is probably the worst that I have read.
I quite enjoyed Thommo as a commentator but here he comes over as shallow, conceited and an extremely mean person.
There is very little racing substance in a poorly written book. A huge disappointment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fab - highly recommended, 3 Dec. 2013
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Very honest and funny. Tommo is a legend and channel4 racing is dull to say the least without him. I agree with him that I think Dubai will withdraw and Ch4 will cease coverage. Serves them right.
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4.0 out of 5 stars tommo, 26 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Tommo: Too Busy to Die (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this autobiography of Derek Thompson but some parts made me cringe. He comes across as loud and pushy which I would say is the very least thing he would be. Overall an interesting book which well illustrates the world off sports presentation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Nunthorpe to Newmarket - and all points in between!, 5 July 2014
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This review is from: Tommo: Too Busy to Die (Paperback)
Interested in down to earth horse racing? Read this book.
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Tommo: Too Busy to Die
Tommo: Too Busy to Die by Derek Thompson (Hardcover - 13 Sept. 2013)
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