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Channel 4's weekday teatime show Coach Trip is my guilty secret. The premise of the show, for those who are unfamiliar, is that various British pairs take a coach trip (surprised surprise!) around Europe where they complete activities and vote each other off. In charge of the coach and the assortment of passengers is real life international tour guide, Brendan Sheerin. My colleague and I are big fans of the show and I bought her a copy of Brendan's autobiography as a secret Santa present last year. She guessed it was me and kindly lent it back to me so I could read it too.
To be honest the only autobiographies I tend to read are about travelling, I very rarely read a 'celebrity' autobiography. Brendan is not a 'real' celebrity (although some could argue that he is now better known than some of the has-beens and Z-list stars that have appeared on celebrity versions of the show) and became involved purely by accident. He writes positively and engagingly about his Irish-Catholic upbringing in Yorkshire, how he wanted to be a priest and then a teacher and how he dealt with his homosexuality.
He writes frankly about the love of his life, Les, and how after a summer job working as a holiday rep with Les in Spain, Brendan's career choices changed. He is modest in the fact that the opportunities that Coach Trip presented came about due to a simple e-mail from a friend at a low point in his life. Brendan comes across as grounded throughout, and loves his brushes with celebrity when he is interviewed on TV and gets put up in nice hotels and chauffer driven to the TV studios. He comes across as he does on TV - charming, entertaining, genuine and slightly camp. You can hear his voice is the writing, there are no pretentions to him, what you see is very much what you get.
As far as his Coach Trip tales go, he is very discreet. He describes the characters on the show and some key events which regular viewers may recall, but he doesn't dish any dirt, and you get very little insight to what happens behind the scenes. He is also very pleasant about all the people he has met and worked with on the way, and makes sure to name-check everyone.
The book is not going to be a challenging read and will no doubt have limited appeal outside of fans of the show. Brendan's writing is straight-forward and honest, without bitchiness or bitterness. The book is broken down into various chapters about different parts of his life, and as such is easy to pick up and put down. I read it whilst ill, when I was struggling to find a book I could get into and hold my attention. I am not going to claim that is the most insightful autobiography you will ever read, but if you enjoy the show and love Brendan's character than I think you will really enjoy this light read.
I paid £8.99 for my hardback copy (RRP £14.99). The book is available in Kindle format and the paperback version is realsed in May. The book contains a few pages of colour photographs.