Jilly Cooper to penetrate the world of football in her steamy new book, Tackle

The new novel will be set in an altogether different world to the usual middle-class horse-riding milieux of Polo and Riders

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Writer Jilly Cooper has enjoyed literary and TV success with her so-called ‘bonkbuster’ novels set among the horse-riding set of the Cotswolds.

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Her racy tomes like Riders and Polo have attracted million of fans and the former was also a hit 1993 TV film starring Michael Praed. It’s famous cover was controversial at the time but is now one of the most famous ever produced.

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But now the author is taking on an altogether less familiar terrain – that of professional footballers.

Cooper reveals in today’s edition of Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 that her new book will be called Tackle and she has researched it partly by following her local team, Gloucestershire’s Forest Green Rovers. 

“I have suddenly decided to write my next book about football and we have a lovely little team called Forest Green who are absolutely sweet,” she tells Kirsty Young in today’s Desert Island Discs.

Cooper, who is now 79, adds that she went to see them try to qualify for the football league last year but they lost their game against Grimsby Town 3-1, which she said was “heartbreaking”.

Cooper also tells Kirsty Young about her life writing and the pain of losing her husband Leo after more than 50 years marriage. She includes Brahms, as well as Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier, among her eight records.

She also reflects on how her books were seen as controversial at the time of their publication and were even banned in the school libraries of her two adopted children.

As well as Riders, Cooper’s novel Octavia was adapted as a single film for ITV by Jonathan Harvey, starring Tamsin Egerton.

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Jilly Cooper’s Desert Island Discs is on Radio 4 on Sunday 31st July at 11:15am