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Publisher's Summary

Read by Michael Whitehall, featuring Jack Whitehall and Hilary Whitehall.

Standing in front of a full-length mirror in my dressing room at ITV studios, waiting to go on to the set of Backchat, I had a brief conversation with my reflection.

'Michael, what the f*** do you think you're doing?'

Theatrical agent Michael Whitehall spent a career pushing others into the spotlight. He had been involved behind the scenes with the careers of many prominent actors, including Colin Firth, Richard Griffiths, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Courtenay, Ian Ogilvy, Judi Dench, Edward Fox, Michael Fassbender, Angela Thorne and Nigel Havers.

But then, much to his surprise, his son Jack becomes a successful comedian and actor and decides that his new comedy partner should be his father. Whitehall Snr. finds himself reluctantly appearing on stage and then television, cast as the archetypal grumpy old man and thrust, in his early 70s, into a whole new career in front of the camera. Minor fame comes at a sedate pace: one of the highlights being a record £300,000 win for charity with Jack on Channel 4's The Million Pound Drop.

In this enchanting memoir, Whitehall looks back on his life, from growing up in suburban London in the 1940s and '50s with his saintly father and social climbing mother, who coined the phrase 'à la carte' to describe people who were posher than she was and whose company she craved, to falling into a career as a successful theatrical agent and producer. As he says, 'Actors can be egotistical, greedy and vain, but they're not half as bad as agents and producers'.

Charming, gossipy and above all very funny, Backing into the Spotlight is no ordinary show business memoir.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our desktop site.

©2017 Michael Whitehall (P)2017 Little, Brown Book Group

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  • Kim Velk
  • North Troy, Vermont USA
  • 11-15-17

Lots of Fun

its 6:53 in the morning and I've just finished listening to this book despite my intention to get back to sleep sometime before I had to get up and out for work. I resent this slightly. It's Michael Whitehall's fault for being so winning. He's got great charisma and is a gifted narrator. The book wanders a little, here and there, but who cares. Lots of references and names dropped may be lost on an American audience but you get the point, even if you've never heard of Sir Rupert Skirting-Board or Penelope Chipping Cleghorn or whatever. I came for the personality and the voice and stayed for that and enjoyed it all. I'm glad Michael stuck his head over the parapet and became an entertainer.

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  • Cavfan
  • 12-02-17

couldnt switch off!

i loved this ! I have enjoyed Michael's appearances on TV with Jack and find his irascible style very endearing! Hes clearly had an interesting life and it comes across in this book. He tells the story very well- his delivery is what I expected it to be and that makes me laugh anyway! I was sad when it finished as it has made what would otherwise be boring car journeys up the A1 really very enjoyable!

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  • James
  • 11-26-17

Utterly charming and bitingly funny

Listened to it in one and it didn't disappoint. Fascinating and funny anecdotes, delivered in wonderful deadpan.