InterviewRobert Cooper

'I enjoy the amusing side of life - if I were ever going to be hanged I like to think I'd have a joke with the noose man'

Robert Cooper, soon-to-retire racing TV legend, talks meditation, cage fighting and looking forward to the unexpected

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Senior features writer
TV presenter Robert Cooper in his garden in the Cotswolds 25.6.24 Pic: Edward Whitaker
Robert Cooper in relaxed mood in the garden of his Cotswolds farmhouseCredit: Edward Whitaker

Robert Cooper reappears through the back door of his lovely Cotswolds farmhouse with a contented expression, mustard yellow shorts and a bottle of beer. It is only one of those stubby little French ones, not a full-blown pint, and he insists he doesn't make a habit of lunchtime drinking, but there's really no need for an apology.

This is one of racing's most beloved characters in his element, making perfect sense of his decision to retire from racing broadcasting after 41 years of selfless toil. Although the date, July 30, is ringed on the calendar, he's not dancing a jig, but he's not wearing a look of grave foreboding either as he wanders from the sun-dappled terrace, across the tidy lawn he mowed this morning, and into his own bucolic idyll.

At the bottom of the garden is a babbling brook that used to be a ditch when he moved here more than 30 years ago. Dotted around the grass are ladies of a certain age, dabbing peacefully at water colours under the gentle tutelage of Robert's wife Mandy. Even the knowledge that Jeremy Clarkson lives just over the hill – mercifully out of sight – can't spoil their day.

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Published on inThe Big Read

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