Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

McCririck 'resting' after illness

John McCririck is resting in hospital after falling ill

John McCririck is resting in hospital after falling ill at a racecourse, with his wife blaming his poor health on the stress brought on by a falling out with Channel 4.

The 72-year-old racing pundit and former Celebrity Big Brother star, known for his distinctive sideburns and deerstalker hat, complained of feeling unwell during the first day of the Cheltenham Festival yesterday and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

He was kept at Cheltenham General Hospital overnight for further observation.

His wife Jenny McCririck said today: "John's just resting and there's no comment at this stage."

She told the Daily Mirror she believes the stress from an ongoing disagreement with former employer Channel 4 caused his illness. Mrs McCririck told the newspaper: "Look at the stress from Channel 4. He was perfectly OK, he had a check-up two weeks ago, but Channel 4 have done this to him."

In January, Channel 4 dropped McCririck from its racing coverage when it unveiled its new presenting team, headed by Clare Balding.

McCririck then announced he was to sue the broadcaster for £3 million, claiming it axed him because he was too old.

The presenter, known for his outspoken views, appeared in Celebrity Big Brother in 2005 and famously refers to his wife as the Booby.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: "We wish John a speedy recovery."

Cheltenham General Hospital said McCririck was "comfortable", and plans to attend the festival on Friday for the Gold Cup.

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