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Which University Challenge presenter failed his elementary Maths O Level six times? For which Dragons' Den investor was flogging leather jackets a lunch break activity? Which environmentalist was expelled at primary school for attempting to poison his classmates with deadly nightshade? Which adventurer and explorer spent his time at Eton shinning up the architecture? Through intimate conversations with journalist Jonathan Sale, some of Britain's leading personalities reminisce about their school and college days, revealing the portents, paths and false starts that led them to where they are today. With poignant and hilarious anecdotes spanning everything from those very first days at school to receiving their dreaded O level, A level and degree results, this book is brimming with recollections that every reader can associate with. Tributes are paid to the teachers who opened doors, whilst others tell tales on those who slammed them in their faces. And all credit to the teachers who were truly prophetic about their pupils. These personalities may be reticent with regard to their adult personal lives, but speak candidly about their childhoods, revealing fascinating insights into the role their formative years played in shaping them to become the people they are today. Clare Balding, Steve Redgrave, Jeremy Paxman, Terry Jones, Melvyn Bragg, Simon Schama, Krishnan Guru-Murphy, Gary Lineker, Trevor McDonald, Antonia Fraser, Phill Jupitus, Sue Townsend, Karren Brady, Ranulph Fiennes and many more...
JONATHAN SALE got 92 per cent on his O level Latin but has been going downhill ever since. He has written countless reviews and features for The Independent, The Times, The Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph and the booklover's magazine Slightly Foxed. He was features editor of the late Punch magazine and recently edited a new edition of a Victorian curiosity entitled Premature Burial and How It May Be Prevented, which is more entertaining than the title might suggest. He and his partner Diana live in London, as do 40 per cent of their children and grandchildren.