Willie Carson OBE

Willie Carson OBE

Age: 68
Date of Birth: 16th November 1942
Phobias: Heights
Missing any special occasions? Yes I am letting down quite a few people in terms of social occasions. I only decided to go in the jungle a couple of weeks beforehand.
Relationship Status: Married

As a five times’ British champion jockey, he is one of the country’s racing legends, but Willie Carson admits his street credibility will be even higher when he enters the jungle.

The popular jockey – who during his distinguished career won 17 British classic races – reveals his grandchildren are huge fans of the hit reality TV show and he hopes they will be over the moon when they see him camp outside with his fellow celebrities.

Given he is one of Britain’s most successful jockey’s, it comes as no surprise to learn he also thinks he does have plenty of fighting spirit. “I am competitive,” he admits. “Would I like to win the show? Well I don’t know how far the course is yet!”

And rather than choosing fellow jockeys to join him in the jungle, Willie would like nothing better than to spend few hours around the camp fire talking to Nelson Mandela. “And I’d love my wife to be in the jungle with me too!” he adds smiling.

As well as enjoying a distinguished sporting career, Willie – who was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to horse racing in 1983 – has also become popular on TV, first as a team captain in the 1980s on A Question of Sport, and then more latterly as a co-presenter of BBC Horse Racing, alongside Clare Balding.

As for what he will miss the most, he thinks not going to sleep every night in his own bed will be tough. “I am going to miss my bed,” he says. “I will also miss my dogs and horses.”
But whatever happens, the jockey says he will definitely not walk out. “I won’t break down in front of the cameras either,” he adds. “I would get worried about myself if I did! I have never been asked to do a reality TV show like this before and I want to have a good time…”

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Updated: Thursday 10 November 2011
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