Swimming pool disasters. Drugs, and just say 'no'. Flying sausages. School like you'd never seen it before.
Lesbian kisses. Bodies under patios. Exploding shops. Suburban life like you'd never seen it before.
Bad boys on bikes. Loveable geeks. Leggy blondes. Students like you'd never seen them before.
Three classic TV programmes. One TV genius. This is the behind-the-scenes story of how a working-class lad from the Liverpool suburbs went from living on a housing estate to buying one, and from comprehensive school dinners to lunch with the Queen. Along the way he learned a lot of lessons, broke all the rules, and changed television for ever.
In this brilliant official companion to Gardeners' World, lead presenter Toby Buckland offers a complete guide to making you a better gardener.
Toby sees the garden as connected to the kitchen, the compost heap and the world beyond. He encourages us to turn gardening into an adventure rather than a list of chores. It becomes a workshop to fashion an apple press from skip-scavenged timber, or a warm greenhouse sanctuary. Borders aren't just for weeding, they're for strawberries by the punnet-load. Piles of golden leaves along the roadside aren't just the soggy debris of autumn but the potential for soil-enriching leaf mould.
Opening our eyes to these connections helps us appreciate the joy of gardening, and this book teaches you the craft. However big or small your plot, whether you are starting from scratch or looking for new ideas to refresh an established scheme, the Practical Gardening Handbook will show you how to bring your garden alive.
Double Olympic gold-medal winner, James Cracknell. His story before and after his life-changing accident.
In October 2011 James Cracknell, two-time Olympic gold-medal rower and one of the greatest endurance athletes the world has ever known, suffered a seizure at home as his young son looked on in horror. A man who had known no limits, a man who had practically achieved the impossible, was now struggling to master life's simple challenges.
A year earlier, as James undertook yet another endurance challenge in Arizona, he was knocked off his bike by the wing mirror of a petrol tanker. It had smashed into the back of his head at high speed, causing severe frontal lobe damage. The doctors weren't sure if he would recover and, if he did, whether he would ever be the same again.
Touching Distance is an extraordinary, honest and powerful account as James and his wife Bev confront for the first time the lasting effects that the accident has had on their lives. It is the story of a marriage, of a family and of one man's fight back to be the best husband and father he can be.
On 3 September 1939 the Prime Minister declared that Britain was at war with Germany. Thousands of young women, many of them barely out of school, were sent headlong into grueling training regimes that would see them become wartime nurses.
Sisters features over 150 previously unpublished interviews from the archives of the Royal College of Nursing. From the bombed-out wards of the Blitz to the harsh conditions of army field hospitals, and from the nurses' pioneering work in the treatment of burns to the challenges of delivering a baby in a blackout, these courageous individuals relate with candour, wit and compassion their memories of the war.
The members of this sisterhood found reserves of inner strength and made friendships that carried them through episodes of unrelieved horror. For many, wartime nursing was a life-changing experience and, in telling their vivid, poignant and riveting stories, Sisters captures their pride, grief and joy. It is a fitting tribute to their spirit and bravery.
By cooking food at temperatures that are far higher than conventional ovens pressure cookers drastically reduce cooking times enabling us to cook in a cheaper, healthier and greener way. Pasta and rice can be made from scratch in less than 10 minutes; thrifty cooks can tenderise flavoursome cheap cuts in just 20 minutes and pulses can be cooked without having to soak them.
As a busy working mother, Guardian writer Catherine Phipps is wholly reliant on her pressure cooker to produce quick and easy one-pot meals for her family. Her authoritative guide is aimed at those who are new to pressure cookers as well as established fans. Alongside mouthwatering recipes, ranging from pot-roast chicken and seafood risotto to Boston baked beans, pulled pork sandwiches and Scotch eggs, and even cheesecake and chocolate pots, Catherine offers handy tips on how to adapt conventional recipes for the pressure cooker, safety ideas and a guide to using certain ingredients.
With mouthwatering photography throughout this is an indispensable partner for every pressure cooker owner.
* 'Great Britain? What was that?' asks Simon Schama at the start of this, the second book of his epic three-volume journey into Britain's past. This volume, The British Wars, is a compelling chronicle of the changes that transformed every strand and stratum of British life, faith and thought from 1603 to 1776. Travelling up and down the country and across three continents, Schama explores the forces that tore Britain apart during two centuries of dynamic change - transforming outlooks, allegiances and boundaries.
* From the beginning of the British wars in July 1637, for 200 years battles raged on - both at home and abroad, on sea and on land, up and down the length of burgeoning Britain, across Europe, America and India. Most would be wars of faith - waged on wide-ranging grounds of political or religious conviction. But as wars of religious passions gave way to campaigns for profit, the British people did come together in the imperial enterprise of 'Britannia Incorporated'.
* The story of that great alteration is a story of revolution and reaction, inspiration and disenchantment, of progress and catastrophe, and Schama's evocative narrative brings it vividly to life.
Better Late Than Never is the extraordinary story of how a man born into poverty in London's East End went on to find stardom late in life when he was chosen to be head judge on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing. Len will be telling all about his new found fame, not only his experiences on Strictly Come Dancing, but also on the no.1 US show Dancing with Stars and his encounters with the likes of Heather Mills-McCartney.
But the real story is in his East End roots. And Len's early life couldn't be more East End. The son of a Bethnal Green costermonger - he spent his formative years running the fruit and veg barrow and being bathed at night in the same water they used to cook the beetroot. There are echoes of Billy Elliot too. Though Len was a welder in the London Docks, he dreamt of being a professional footballer, and came close to making the grade had he not broken his foot on Hackney Marshes. The doctor recommended ballroom dancing as a light aid to his recovery. And Len, it turned out, was a natural. At first his family and work mates mocked, but soon he had made the final of a national competition and the welders descended on mass to the Albert hall to cheer him on. With his dance partner, and then wife Cheryl, Len won the British Championships in his late twenties and retired soon after.
Funny and heart warming, Len's autobiography has all the honest East End charm of a Tommy Steele, Mike Reid or Roberta Taylor that we know works so well with book buyers.
The Punic Wars (eBook)
The Punic Wars (264-146BC) sprang from a mighty power struggle between two ancient civilisations - the trading empire of Carthage and the military confedoration of Rome. It was a period of astonishing human misfortune, lasting over a period of 118 years and resulting in the radical depletion of Rome's population and resources and the complete annihilation of Carthage.
All this took place more than 2,000 years ago, yet, as Nigel Bagnall's comprehensive history demonstrates, the ancient conflict is remarkable for its contemporary revelance.
Alice Munro captures the essence of life in her brilliant new collection of stories. Moments of change, chance encounters, the twist of fate that leads a person to a new way of thinking or being: the stories in Dear Life build to form a radiant, indelible portrait of just how dangerous and strange ordinary life can be.
Many of these stories are grounded in Munro's home territory - the small Canadian towns around Lake Huron - but there are departures too. A poet, finding herself in alien territory at her first literary party, is reescued by a seasoned newspaper editor, and is soon hurtling across the continent, young child in tow, towards a hoped for but completely unplanned meeting. A young soldier, returning to his fiancee from the Second World War, steps off the train before his stop and onto the farm of another woman, beginning a life on the move.
The book ends with four powerful pieces, 'autobiographical in feeling', set during the time of Munro's own childhood, in the area where she grew up. Munro describes this quartet as 'not quite stories' but 'the first and last - and the closest - things I have to say about my own life'. Suffused with Munro's clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these and the other stories in Dear Life are cause for celebration.
The Outsider: My Autobiography (eBook)
Jimmy Connors took the tennis world by storm like no player in the history of the game. A shaggy-haired working-class kid from the wrong side of the tracks, he was prepared to battle for every point, to shout and scream until he was heard, and he didn't care whom he upset in doing so. He was brash, he was a brat. He was a crowd-pleaser, a revolutionary. And he won more tournaments - an astonishing 109 - than any other man in history, including eight Grand Slam singles titles.
Only now is Connors ready to set the record straight on what really happened on and off the court. The rivalry with John McEnroe, that frequently threatened to turn violent, with Bjorn Borg, and Ivan Lendl. His romance with Chris Evert, which made them the sweethearts of the sport. The escapades with his partner in crime, Ilie Nastase. The deep roots of the fierce determination that made him the best player on the planet.
This is no genteel memoir of a pillar of the tennis establishment. Unflinching, hard-hitting, humorous and passionate, this is the story of a legend - the one and only Jimmy Connors.
Private Down Under (eBook)
P.I. Craig Gisto, head of the latest branch of Private, is enjoying the glamorous launch party with his new team when their celebrations are interrupted by the bloodied arrival of a boy with his eyes gouged out.
The boy is the kidnapped son of one of Australia's richest men - but investigating his death isn't their only pressing case. The rock star Micky Stevens is convinced someone's trying to kill him, and believes Private are the only ones who can help.
As if that wasn't enough, someone is murdering the wealthy wives of the Eastern Suburbs, in the most brutal way imaginable. And if they don't catch the killer soon, the next victim could be someone close to Private.
In 1957 a whole day's play of a Test Match was broadcast on BBC Radio for the first time with the slogan 'Don't miss a ball, we broadcast them all'.
This book celebrates 50 years of Test Match Special with anecdotes, behind-the-scenes stories, photos, reminiscences and champagne moments from five decades of top-quality cricket commentary. Sprinkled throughout are 'My First TMS Match' articles by a number of the programme's main contributors, including Jonathan Agnew, Harsha Bhogle, Henry Blofeld, Tony Cozier, Angus Fraser, Bill Frindall, Gerald de Kock, Simon Mann, Vic Marks, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Jim Maxwell, Shilpa Patel, Mike Selvey, Donna Symmonds and Bryan Waddle.
Edited by Peter Baxter, the organising brain behind TMS and the programme's producer for 34 years, this is a comprehensive and celebratory account of this most respected and prestigious brand in cricket and an essential read for all fans of the game.
'Your brother looked healthy, happy, natural. But everything else about him is extremely odd. Not faintly odd. Extremely odd. Except in appearance. He's the opposite of you.' Quentin Crisp
At the age of twenty-two, the youngest of five brothers, Jonathan Barrow, was killed with his fiancee in a car crash. He left behind the manuscript of a novel, The Queue, in which, among other things, he prophesied his own death. The story of a boy and a dachshund, populated by a kaleidoscopic menagerie of people and animals and an array of anthropomorphic in-betweens, The Queue is a vivid and irreverent portrayal of the world in which Jonathan and his awe-struck older brother Andrew were raised.
Jonathan and his book form the framework of a remarkable study of a young man's inner and outer effervescence, his family, England and high and low society in the Swinging Sixties. Filled with fascinating and fantastical anecdotes, Animal Magic documents a heady and peripatetic childhood in Lancashire, the Lake District and Wiltshire, misadventures at home and school, and the early working life of the two brothers, on the lower rungs of show business, backstage at Claridge's, and finally in advertising. This spellbinding elegy negotiates love affairs, family tensions, exhibitions, publishers' rejections and precarious living in a flat in Tite Street, Chelsea.
Punctuated with excerpts from The Queue and Jonathan's other bizarre and brilliant writings, Animal Magic is a book bursting with humour, wit and pathos and featuring an outlandish cast of characters, from an eccentric father, a mischievous family dog and a down-and-out ex-schoolmaster to curious stars of Swinging London like Mick Jagger and Tommy Cooper. It is a memoir unlike any other.
Happy Valley is Patrick White's first novel. It was published by George C. Harrap in London in 1939 when White was twenty-seven. It was praised by, among others, Graham Greene and Elizabeth Bowen, and won the Australian Literature Gold Medal in 1941, but, fearing that he had libelled one of the families portrayed in the novel, White did not allow the novel to be republished in English in his lifetime.
Happy Valley is a place of dreams and secrets, of snow and ice and wind. In this remote little town, perched in its landscape of desolate beauty, everybody has a story to tell about loss and longing and loneliness, about their passion to escape. I must get away, thinks Dr Oliver Halliday, thinks Alys Browne, thinks Sidney Furlow. But Happy Valley is not a place that can be easily left, and White's vivid characters, with their distinctive voices, move bit by bit towards sorrow and acceptance.
Happy Valley is the missing piece in the extraordinary jigsaw of Patrick White's work.
'How far did we go? As far as our imaginations would carry us, really. Those were the days of pure hedonism. LA in particular was like Sodom and Gomorrah ... It was my life - that fusion of magic and music.'
Jimmy Page was the leader, mastermind, guitarist and producer of Led Zeppelin, described by Rolling Stone magazine as "the biggest band of the seventies" and "unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history." While there is no shortage of written material out there on Led Zeppelin's legacy, none of the band members have ever written a tell-all book or co-operated with the press or a biographer. For the most part, their exploits are merely the stuff of legend. On the rare occasions that Page has opened his doors to journalists, he has done so with caution.
Over the last twenty years, Brad Tolinski, editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine, has interviewed Page more than any other journalist in the world and by asking incisive questions, he's been able to gain the trust of this greatly misunderstood artist. Sifting through over fifty hours of conversations that touch on everything from the 1960s music scene and his early years as England's top session guitarist working with artists like The Who, The Kinks, and Eric Clapton, to his wild years in Led Zeppelin, and post-Zep projects, Light & Shade will provide readers with the most complete picture of the media-shy guitarist ever published.
At the end of the nineteenth century, audiences were enthralled by the flickering image of an oncoming train in a Lumiere Brothers' short film; more than a hundred years later the immersive fantasy of Avatar enveloped audiences around the globe.
Film is a communal dream in which our fears and fantasies are revealed, often to startling effect. It has influenced our behaviour in small but significant ways, from the widespread abandonment of vests after Clark Gable's example in It Happened One Night to gangsters holding their weapons at movie-cool angles, improving their image but not their aim. It has intertwined with politics, helping to forge national identity, galvanise against a wartime enemy or warn of social upheaval via horror or science fiction. It has burrowed deep into our psyche, changing perceptions of history and memory - one study showed soldiers' recall may sometimes owe more to war films than actual experience. It has even raised romantic expectations that for us, too, 'the one' will arrive for that big clinch in the final reel.
Despite decades of rapid change, we are still hypnotised and seduced by the power of cinema; it remains our most persuasive mass entertainment. In this fascinating, entertaining and illuminating book Francine Stock takes us on a personal journey through a glorious century of cinema, showing in vivid detail how film both reflects and makes our world.