'Hard-hitting and hilarious' - James Acaster
'Funny, moving and compelling' - Mike Costello
A heart-warming, hilarious true story about fighting and family, based on the acclaimed stage show. For fans of books by Dave Gorman, James Acaster and Danny Wallace, along with boxing tales from the likes of Tyson Fury and Ricky Hatton.
Terry Downes - the charismatic cockney known as 'The Paddington Express' - was a world champion boxer, US Marine, gangsters' favourite and later a film star and businessman.
James McNicholas' PE teacher once told him he was so unfit he'd be dead by the time he was 23.
James has spent his life pursuing a career in acting and comedy. In reality, that has meant stints as a car park caretaker and river cruise salesperson. After Terry's death, James finds himself in reflective mood, comparing his story of underachievement against that of his world champ grandad. What follows is an increasingly colourful journey through post-war Paddington to the blood-soaked canvases of Baltimore and Shoreditch, via Mayfair parties with the Krays.
Along the way, James begins to dig into his own story, confronting the dysfunctional elements of his childhood, describing his often hilarious efforts to make it in the world of showbiz, and attempting to recreate Terry's trials by enlisting in a brutal military boot camp and boxing gym. When James is diagnosed with a frightening and mysterious neurological condition, the two tales of the fighter and the writer suddenly collide, and what began as a nostalgic journey takes on a far more important significance altogether.
'A wonderfully funny and heartfelt story of what family and lineage means. Even made me like boxing' - Josh Widdicombe
'An extraordinary family history, told with warmth and wit. Two remarkable underdog stories - come for the cockney scrapper who conquered the world, stay for the grandson and the fight of his life' - Greg Jenner
'If you like comedy and boxing this is the perfect book. James McNicholas is a very funny man and a brilliant writer' - Rob Beckett