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Jilly Cooper

Kirsty Young interviews writer Jilly Cooper.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer Jilly Cooper.

Her long writing career spans newspaper columns for the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday, non-fiction books on class, marriage and animals in war and novels that sell in their millions. Her romances set in the late seventies - including 'Bella', 'Harriett', 'Imogen' and 'Prudence' - were followed by 'Riders' in 1985, the first of her Rutshire Chronicles. Set mainly in the Cotswolds, they are racy and raunchy page-turners exposing the scandalous - and often hilarious - goings on among the British upper classes.

Born in 1937 in Essex, she was brought up in Yorkshire and enjoyed a happy childhood surrounded by dogs and ponies. At boarding school she earned the nickname, 'the unholy terror' and having failed to get into Oxford and being sacked from a number of jobs for her inability to type, she turned to journalism before publishing her first book, 'How to Stay Married' in 1969.

She married Leo Cooper in 1961 and, unable to have children of their own, the couple adopted Felix and Emily in the late 1960s. The couple were married for 52 years before his death in 2013.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

37 minutes

Music Played

  • Franz Schubert

    Das Wandern

    Performer: Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau. Performer: Gerald Moore.
    • Die Schöne Müllerin.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Julie Andrews & Christopher Plummer

    Something Good

    • The Sounds of Music- Original Soundtrack Recording.
    • RCA.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15

    Performer: John Lill. Orchestra: Hallé. Conductor: James Loughran.
    • Brahms Concerto No. 1.
    • Academy Sound and Vision.
  • Elvis Presley

    Can’t Help Falling in Love

    • Blue Hawaii.
    • RCA.
  • Richard Strauss

    Des Helden Weltflucht und Vollendung

    Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Daniel Barenboim.
    • Ampassionata – The Music from the Book.
    • Warner Classics.
  • Bob Marley

    Buffalo Solider

    • Legend.
    • Tuff Gong.

    • Felix Mendelssohn

      He, Watching Over Israel, Slumbers Not

      Choir: London Symphony Chorus. Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Roderick Elms.
      • Mendelssohn: Elijah.
      • Chandos.
  • Band of HM Coldstream Guards

    Here’s to the Heroes

    • Heroes.
    • Decca.

    The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations


    A sack of nuts


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Jilly Cooper
Producer Cathy Drysdale


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