About the Book
Into the cut-throat world of Corinium television comes Declan O’Hara, a mega-star of great glamour and integrity with a radiant feckless wife, a handsome son and two ravishing teenage daughters. Living rather too closely across the valley is Rupert Campbell-Black, divorced and as dissolute as ever, and now the Tory Minister for Sport.
Declan needs only a few days at Corinium to realise that the Managing Director, Lord Baddingham, is a crook who has recruited him merely to help retain the franchise for Corinium. Baddingham has also enticed Cameron Cook, a gorgeous but domineering woman executive, to produce Declan’s programme. Declan and Cameron detest each other, provoking a storm of controversy into which Rupert plunges with his usual abandon.
As a rival group emerges to pitch for the franchise, reputations ripen and decline, true love blossoms and burns, marriages are made and shattered, and sex raises its (delicious) head at almost every throw as, in bed and boardroom, the race is on to capture the Cotswold Crown.
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Epub ISBN: 9781409032335
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a division of The Random House Group Ltd
A CORGI BOOK : 9780552156370
First published in Great Britain in 1988 by Bantam Press
a division of Transworld Publishers
Corgi edition published 1989
Corgi edition reissued 2007
Copyright © Jilly Cooper 1988
Jilly Cooper has asserted her right under the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser
The Random House Group Ltd Reg. No. 954009
4 6 8 10 9 7 5Table of Contents
About the Author
Jilly Cooper is a journalist, writer and media superstar. The author of many number one bestselling novels, she lives in Gloucestershire with her husband Leo, her rescue greyhound Feather and her black cat Feral.
She was appointed OBE in 2004 for services to literature, and in 2009 was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Gloucestershire for her contribution to literature and services to the County.
By Jilly Cooper
THE MAN WHO MADE HUSBANDS JEALOUS
ANIMALS IN WAR
HOW TO SURVIVE CHRISTMAS
HOTFOOT TO ZABRISKIE POINT
(with Patrick Lichfield)
INTELLIGENT AND LOYAL
JOLLY SUPER TOO
SUPER MEN AND SUPER WOMEN
THE COMMON YEARS
TURN RIGHT AT THE SPOTTED DOG
WORK AND WEDLOCK
ANGELS RUSH IN
LITTLE MABEL’S GREAT ESCAPE
LITTLE MABEL SAVES THE DAY
LITTLE MABEL WINS
THE BRITISH IN LOVE
VIOLETS AND VINEGAR
To Annalise Kay
who is as wise as she is
good and beautifulACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
A very large number of people helped me with this book. Most of them work in television and are exceptionally busy. They still found the time to talk to me and – particularly in the case of those from HTV – to entertain me with lavishness and generosity. All of them are experts in their own field. But as I was writing fiction, I only took their advice so far as it fitted my plot. The accuracy of the book in no way reflects their expertise. They were also all so nice to me that it was impossible to base any of the unpleasant characters in the story on any of them.
They include Georgina Abrahams, Rita Angel, William Beloe, Michael Blakstad, Roy Bottomley, James Bredin, Adrian Brenard, Doug Carnegie, Stephen Cole, John Corbett, Jenny Crick, Mike Davey, Geoff Druett, Ron Evans, Su Evans, James Gatward, David Glencross, Stuart Hall, Nick Handel, Tom Hartman, Barbara Hazell, Stan Hazell, Paul Heiney, Bruce Hockin, Alison Holloway, Patricia Houlihan, Bryan Izzard, Philip Jones, Barbara Kelly, Susan Kyle, Maurice Leonard, Barrie MacDonald, Billy Macqueen, George McWatters, Steve Matthews, Lesley Morgan, Malcolm Morris, Jack Patterson, Bob Simmons, Tom Walsh, Ann de Winton, Richard Whitely, Ron Wordley and Richard Wyatt.
Tragically, dear Eamonn Andrews, with whom I was privileged to work for four series on ‘What’s My Line?’, died in November, after the book was finished. His utter integrity, professionalism and gentle humour were a constant source of inspiration while I was writing it.
I should also like to thank the crews, the drivers, the make-up girls and the wardrobe staff with whom I worked over the years, who came up with endless suggestions.
I must thank the people who wrote three books which were invaluable to me in understanding the extraordinarily complicated process by which television franchises are awarded. They are Walter Butler, author of
How to Win the Franchise and Influence People
, Michael Leapman, author of
Treachery? The Power Struggle at TV-am
, and Asa Briggs and Joanna Spicer, joint authors of
The Franchise Affair – Creating fortunes and failures in Independent Television.
I am also eternally grateful to Peter Cadbury, former Chairman of Westward Television, for giving me access to his autobiography which unaccountably has never been published, to Robin Currie, of the Fire and Rescue Service HQ, Cheltenham, to Toni Westall, secretary to Captain Brian Walpole, General Manager, Concorde, and to Tim and Primrose Unwin for inviting me to some excellent hunt balls.
In addition I need to thank my Bank Manager, Keith Henderson, my publishers, Paul Scherer, Mark Barty-King and Alan Earney and all their staff at Bantam Press and Corgi, and my agent Desmond Elliott, for their faith and continued encouragement.
Three brave ladies, Beryl Hill, Sue Moore and Geraldine Kilgannon, deserve thanks and praise for deciphering my ghastly handwriting and typing several chapters of the manuscript; so does my cleaner, Ann Mills, for mucking out my study once a fortnight.
Finally, once again there are no words adequate to thank Leo, my husband, my children, Felix and Emily, and my secretary, Annalise Kay, whom I regard as one of the family, and who typed ninety per cent of the manuscript. Their collective good cheer, unselfishness and comfort over the past eighteen months knew no bounds.
‘Last Christmas’ by George Michael reprinted by kind permission of Morrison and Leahy Music.
‘The Lady in Red’ by Chris de Burgh reprinted by kind permission of Rondor Music (London) Limited.
‘I Get a Kick Out of You’. Words and music by Cole Porter © 1934 Harms Incorporated. Reproduced by permission of Chappell Music Limited, © 1934 Warner Bros. Incorporated. (Renewed). All rights reserved. Used by permission.
‘We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off’ by Narada Michael Walden and Preston Glass © 1986. Reprinted by kind permission of Carlin Music Corporation and Island Music, UK; Mighty Three Music Group and Gratitude Sky Music, USA; MCA/Gilbey and Rondor Music, Australia.