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'The clip shouldn't have even gone out as I was only keeping the lads amused'

Riding legend John Francome: "I'm still coming out with the same stupid stuff now. I'm 68"
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A routine interview with top jockeys John Francome and Richard Rowe in 1984 about their eating habits on Christmas Day turned into comedy gold for Derek Thompson when Francome revealed his x-rated method of burning off the excess weight.

The outburst probably wouldn't beat the censors these days and the clip was never meant to be shown until it turned up on YouTube many years later.

Derek Thompson, broadcaster

Years ago I used to do the sports show on Central TV on a Friday night and one day in the run-up to Christmas they suggested I went out and did something live at Leicester races. I rang Francs [John Francome] and Rowsie [Richard Rowe] beforehand and asked if they would be up for an interview and they agreed.

So off I went with a cameraman to Leicester, where we were at the side of the winner's enclosure, and it was an interview along the lines of what they were looking forward to over Christmas with the King George at Kempton coming up. I think it was around the time of Burrough Hill Lad with John then number-one jockey to Fred Winter and Richard number one for Josh Gifford, so both had some good rides to look forward to.

Broadcaster Derek Thompson: "Even I was gobsmacked but those in earshot just erupted"

All was going okay until halfway through the interview. I mentioned that like many others I was going to get stuck into the roast turkey and Christmas pud on Christmas Day, but as jockeys they probably couldn't do that in order to keep the weight down. Suddenly Francs says 'Oh, I'll be getting into all of that on Christmas Day as well. I love it.' Well, I'll never, ever forget what happened next. When, rather puzzled, I inquired how he then got the weight off to ride on Boxing Day he replied, 'I just go to bed with the wife in the afternoon and give her a good humping!'

Even I was gobsmacked but those in earshot just erupted and we all just fell about laughing. To this day, I thank God it was a recorded interview and not live. Francs is the funniest lad I know and comes out with this sort of thing all the time, even now. I don't know what it would be like now but in those days you could half get away with it but no-one complained at the time that it was a rude thing to say and it was just so funny. 

John Francome, jockey

The clip shouldn't have even gone out as I was only keeping the lads amused. It was completely unplanned and off the cuff and I think I did it to keep Richard Rowe amused more than anything. It's the sort of thing that I say every day of the week and I'm still coming out with the same stupid stuff now and I'm 68.

The thing was that Tommo didn't bat an eye at the time as you can't shock him – he's absolutely bombproof. I remember many years ago Michael Stoute had an odds-on favourite beaten somewhere and nobody else wanted to talk to him afterwards but Tommo walked straight up to him and said 'that must have been disappointing?' to Stoutey. Unbelievable.


Read more from our Magic TV moments series:

How a pundit proved his critics wrong with a 50-1 winner in America's top race

'The television didn't lie, they came pretty close' – France's craziest race

'If I said I'd scripted it that would be a lie' – Tommo's words that went viral

The legendary Peter Casey: 'I was aware he could say anything but I never thought he would say that'

Oli Bell: 'The Queen said to me – you're the lunatic that ran on the track!'

Jim McGrath: 'It's one of those bizarre occasions I'll never, ever forget'

Luke Harvey: 'The cameraman followed me – and I've never found out why!'

'He was a real showman and there was no-one before or since like him'

Rishi Persad: 'The thought in my head was 'holy s***, this is massive'

Derek Thompson: 'I simply assumed it was a woman and still laugh about it now'

Hayley Moore: 'It was a random thing to do. I didn't expect it to go viral'

Luke Harvey: 'It very soon dawned on me that I was part of television gold'


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The thing was that Tommo didn't bat an eye at the time as you can't shock him – he's absolutely bombproof
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