Freddie Flintoff on The Book Of Fred

Virgin Radio

28 Oct 2021, 09:42

Credit: Getty

Credit: Getty

The presenter and former international cricketer joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about his new book, his cricketing career, his battle with Bulimia, and his transition from sportsman to TV personality.

The Book Of Fred, which is out today (28th October), is full of anecdotes, observations and opinions, and is taken from all stages of his life. Freddie told Gaby Roslin and Ricky Wilson, who are in for Chris: “It’s a broad spectrum of subjects… the Bulimia, it talks about that, and mental health, to things like having dinner with Elton John and Desmond Tutu!”

Speaking more about The Book of Fred, the former cricketer said: “When you’re playing sport, you’re always trying to not give anything away and you give a persona of someone sometimes you’re not, and then since retirement, you learn to live with yourself a little bit more and you accept your failings. And the book, I suppose, is about lessons that I’ve learnt through my life. It’s not preachy, or telling people to do this, do that.”

Bulimia, which Freddie speaks about in the book, was also the subject of his 2020 documentary, Freddie Flintoff: Living with Bulimia. When Gaby asked him about it, he said: “Through the documentary, I learnt a lot of things about myself and about Bulimia. One of the things was, I thought Bulimia was the act of being sick, and it wasn’t; it’s more the relationship with food. And, you know, excessive training is a form of bulimia. And I think during lockdown, possibly the first time round, I was guilty of that a little bit. 

“From where I was, I think the documentary helped me more than I thought it would do. I learnt a lot of things about myself. Being really open about it was a weight off my shoulders.”

In cricket, Freddie was one of the sport's leading all rounders, a fast bowler, middle order batsman and slip fielder. The 43-year-old told Gaby and Ricky: “I suppose when you retire, you lose a bit of your identity, and I miss it, but my boys play, so I’m just around cricket all the time, watching them, taking them to matches, and I’ve fallen back in love with it.” 

In The Book Of Fred, Freddie discusses his series-winning performance in the 2005 Ashes, singing Elvis Presley’s ‘Suspicious Minds’ in front of a live audience, accidentally upsetting the lovely Bruce Forsyth, why ‘having a go’ leads to self-respect, and making the transition to TV presenter. Of the latter, he told Gaby and Ricky: “All I ever wanted to be growing up was a cricketer. I managed to do that professionally for 15, 16 years, retired at 31, and then thrust into this TV world, which was never the plan, I just stumbled into it, and it’s amazing what you find yourself doing.”

Following his retirement from sport, he joined the panel of BAFTA-winning A League of Their Own, and is a presenter on BBC's Top Gear. “That’s bizarre, isn’t it?” he said. “Because you grow up and you watch Top Gear, and you see Clarkson and May and Hammond doing it.... You dream about doing it, but never do you think you’ll be doing it, and I still find it strange that I do it, to be honest with you.”

Freddie also won the first series of the Australian version of I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2015. He said: “I did the jungle in Australia and it was the easiest month of my life. It was amazing. I just laid there and did nothing for a month. I had to eat a few things and do a few challenges, but it was amazing. There’s not many times in life you get the chance to do nothing, and I took it up!

“The thing about it was, it was a month in Australia, and the first two weeks you’re on a fixed contract, and fixed rate, so I just got a bit of sleep, and when they went to day-rate, with people getting voted out, I put a shift in!” 

Freddie added: “I was sat there thinking, ‘You know what, if I stay another couple of days, we might go on holiday when I get back! If I’m in til Monday, I’ll get the patio done!’”

The Book Of Fred is out now.

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.