Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $31.21

After 2 months, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Read by Michael Whitehall, featuring Jack Whitehall and Hilary Whitehall.

Standing in front of a full-length mirror in my dressing room at ITV studios, waiting to go on to the set of Backchat, I had a brief conversation with my reflection.

'Michael, what the f*** do you think you're doing?'

Theatrical agent Michael Whitehall spent a career pushing others into the spotlight. He had been involved behind the scenes with the careers of many prominent actors, including Colin Firth, Richard Griffiths, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Courtenay, Ian Ogilvy, Judi Dench, Edward Fox, Michael Fassbender, Angela Thorne and Nigel Havers.

But then, much to his surprise, his son Jack becomes a successful comedian and actor and decides that his new comedy partner should be his father. Whitehall Snr. finds himself reluctantly appearing on stage and then television, cast as the archetypal grumpy old man and thrust, in his early 70s, into a whole new career in front of the camera. Minor fame comes at a sedate pace: one of the highlights being a record £300,000 win for charity with Jack on Channel 4's The Million Pound Drop.

In this enchanting memoir, Whitehall looks back on his life, from growing up in suburban London in the 1940s and '50s with his saintly father and social climbing mother, who coined the phrase 'à la carte' to describe people who were posher than she was and whose company she craved, to falling into a career as a successful theatrical agent and producer. As he says, 'Actors can be egotistical, greedy and vain, but they're not half as bad as agents and producers'.

Charming, gossipy and above all very funny, Backing into the Spotlight is no ordinary show business memoir.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our desktop site.

©2017 Michael Whitehall (P)2017 Little, Brown Book Group

More from the same

Narrator

What listeners say about Backing into the Spotlight

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    13
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Conner Quinn
  • Conner Quinn
  • 03-11-2018

best audiobook out there

Michael Whitehall has the perfect voice for this medium. he should do the narration to every story out there. I would seriously pay to hear him read anything. not to mention the fact that the story is quite interesting and well told. love it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for gojaw12
  • gojaw12
  • 01-12-2020

Charming and Witty

Michael Whitehall is the perfect narrator to bring to life his humor and perspective in this book. A genuine look into the people and experiences that shaped the author, peppered with his trademark wit.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for V. C. Noble
  • V. C. Noble
  • 13-02-2020

Such fun listen

I loved the stories of Mr. Whitehall’s life and it was wonderful to hear it in his voice. Loved the cameos from Mrs. Whitehall and Jack.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cathy Luby
  • Cathy Luby
  • 23-10-2018

omg

I loved it omg, so good. Def was a good read.
We’re some of the stories in his first book? Yeah, sure but who cares. Such a life filled with happiness and exploration. Makes you appreciate the journey which is life.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Celeste184530
  • Celeste184530
  • 15-03-2018

Charming, funny, enjoyable a bit unrelateable

Great and engaging performance with a peek at Whitehall’s charmed life. Definitely entertaining but I worry that it is a bit unrelateable for some.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kim Velk
  • Kim Velk
  • 15-11-2017

Lots of Fun

its 6:53 in the morning and I've just finished listening to this book despite my intention to get back to sleep sometime before I had to get up and out for work. I resent this slightly. It's Michael Whitehall's fault for being so winning. He's got great charisma and is a gifted narrator. The book wanders a little, here and there, but who cares. Lots of references and names dropped may be lost on an American audience but you get the point, even if you've never heard of Sir Rupert Skirting-Board or Penelope Chipping Cleghorn or whatever. I came for the personality and the voice and stayed for that and enjoyed it all. I'm glad Michael stuck his head over the parapet and became an entertainer.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cavfan
  • Cavfan
  • 02-12-2017

couldnt switch off!

i loved this ! I have enjoyed Michael's appearances on TV with Jack and find his irascible style very endearing! Hes clearly had an interesting life and it comes across in this book. He tells the story very well- his delivery is what I expected it to be and that makes me laugh anyway! I was sad when it finished as it has made what would otherwise be boring car journeys up the A1 really very enjoyable!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James
  • James
  • 26-11-2017

Utterly charming and bitingly funny

Listened to it in one and it didn't disappoint. Fascinating and funny anecdotes, delivered in wonderful deadpan.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lesley Griffiths
  • Lesley Griffiths
  • 22-12-2019

well worth listening to. good in sight to the man

brilliant and funny. relaxing calming and a good giggle. he should write more about his family and life

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for misskate
  • misskate
  • 27-12-2017

Hilarious and charming

I think Michael plays a brilliant part when seen on TV with his son Jack. He comes across as the grumpy, yet funny, old man due to his views and reactions to most things. This audiobook (and their joint one ‘Him and Me’) does of course show this same theme but also a softer side to Michael. He clearly adores on his family. Plenty of funny stories here!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Miss J.
  • Miss J.
  • 11-05-2021

Hilarious!

I absolutely love Michael Whitehall. This book is packed with hilarious anicdotes. It's fascinating to hear about Michael's career and his life at home, growing up with his parents. A great listen, very entertaining!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J Williams
  • J Williams
  • 14-04-2021

Dry, witty humour.

Thought this audiobook was brilliant. Very entertaining with a few laugh out loud moments. Cleverly written.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-12-2020

enjoyed very much

I really liked this Audio. narrating was great very light hearted some very interesting and sometimes funny stories I would love to spend a evening with Michael hearing more stories. great book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-10-2020

Good company

short and sweet. funny and direct. like coming of age and finally having a grown up chat with an uncle who doesn't like children

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anita Hargreaves
  • Anita Hargreaves
  • 31-08-2020

National treasure but don't tell him.

My father was at Normandy and Arnham and he reminds me of the twinkly eyed but quiet man who observes, like my dad. However my dad would be like him with no silver spoon, I think they would have agreed on a lot of things. Sad guarded Churchill at Chequers, Coldstream Guards but even though he never rise to money. He gave us all integrity. Sorry Michael, dad didn't like Churchill as he was amply supplied with coal when the chalkies and Loftys didnt. Fab listen, though diff opinions, grateful for a good read. Sad was in Malaya too and loved the book Onward Virgin Soldiers 🤗 Thank you for a good listen and love your famiky, Judith Chalmbers esq fun 😫 🙏 😧 💕

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jane Traill
  • Jane Traill
  • 28-05-2020

Thoroughly entertaining

As always Michael Whitehall kept me thoroughly entertained with his highly amusing accounts of his life. Such a joy to listen to his wonderful accent which in itself makes me want to laugh. Many laugh out loud moments which caused people to look at me as though I'd lost the plot. Definitely recommend this book. Just hope he writes another. Brilliant!

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.