Barry Johnston's first book An Evening with Johnners was published by Partridge Press in 1996 and was in the Sunday Times top ten bestsellers for two months. This was followed in 1998 by Letters Home 1926-1945, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, which was also a Sunday Times top ten bestseller. Then in 2000 Barry was commissioned by Virgin Books to edit a compendium of three of his father’s autobiographical books called A Delicious Slice of Johnners. This proved to be so popular that it was followed by two more volumes, Another Slice of Johnners and A Further Slice of Johnners. Barry has also compiled and edited The Wit of Cricket and The Wit of Golf which were published in 2009 and 2010 by Hodder and Stoughton. A special centenary edition of An Evening with Johnners was reissued by Quiller Publishing in 2012.
An Evening with Johnners
In early 1993, at the age of eighty, Brian Johnston embarked on a nationwide theatre tour with his one-man show called An Evening with Johnners. This book was first published in 1996 and contains all the material from the original recordings of the show, as well as additional stories from his second and final tour.
There are hundreds of hilarious memories, stories and anecdotes, all told in his inimitable, friendly style and he also describes the famous "leg-over" incident. This centenary edition has been updated by the editor, Brian's eldest son, Barry Johnston, and includes new illustrations by John Ireland.
‘… What really sticks out is his innate decency as a person. As Johnston points out, it is some feat never to have had an argument with all the disparate members of the Test Match Special box over the years, including the spiky late Fred Trueman. He changed the whole approach to cricket commentary on TMS, puncturing some of the pomposity that surrounded the game. In some ways this culminated in the most painfully funny bit of schoolboy japery with Jonathan Agnew when Ian Botham couldn’t get his ‘legover’ the stumps at The Oval in 1991. Cricket 365.
‘If you’re having a down day, don’t reach for the pills or the whisky, look no further than ‘An Evening with Johnners’ – full of wit, warmth and his legendary anecdotes … a must for cricket lovers.’ Countryside.
‘Every page is filled with hilarious memories, comical stories and anecdotes.’ Lincolnshire Life.
The Wit of Cricket
A bumper collection of the funniest anecdotes, jokes and stories from cricket's best-loved personalities proves that cricket is a funny game – even when rain stops play!
Now you can read not only the most popular stories by five of the game’s all-time great characters – Richie Benaud, Dickie Bird, Henry Blofeld, Brian Johnston and Fred Trueman - but also the humour of modern players including Michael Atherton, Andrew Flintoff, Darren Gough, Kevin Pietersen, Shane Warne and many others.
Here are dozens of hilarious anecdotes about legendary Test cricketers such as Ian Botham, Geoffrey Boycott, Denis Compton, Michael Holding and Merv Hughes – not to mention broadcasting gaffes, sledging, short-sighted umpires and the first male streaker at Lord's!
'The Wit of Cricket has been a best-selling audiobook for three years. Now in book form, this is worth the purchase price for the last chapter alone, an account of the "Stop it, Aggers" incident and its hilarious consequences.' Waterstone's Books Quarterly.
'A quirky collection of anecdotes, jokes and stories from commentators and players alike and pulled together by Barry Johnston, Brian's son. Alongside stories such as Darren Gough dressed as Santa Claus
and John Snow bowling a bar of soap, there are illustrations throughout the book by the respected caricaturist John Ireland.' The Wisden Cricketer.
An Evening with Johnners
In early 1993, at the age of eighty, Brian Johnston embarked on his first ever concert tour, a one-man show called 'An Evening with Johnners' which blended stories from his life and career with the many, often awful, jokes for which he was renowned. The show was a sell-out and the two recordings which were made from it were bestselling audio CDs.
This book, edited and introduced by his son Barry Johnston, combines material from both shows in one volume, and Brian Johnston’s skill and warmth as a master raconteur shine through its pages.
‘You don’t review a book like this one. You clasp it to your bosom and reveal a few of its secrets to aficionados. Brian Johnston’s An Evening with Johnners, edited and affectionately introduced by his son Barry, is, to my knowledge, a first. We have had books of films, plays, TV shows, radio programmes, but this is the first book of the Talking Book … it is full of after-dinner stories.’ Daily Express
‘This compilation of vintage Johnners, edited by his son, is drawn from the immensely popular one-man show which he embarked upon in his eighties, shortly before his death … settle down, read a few pages and you will almost hear Johnston’s voice in your ear again, its playfulness magnificently intact.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Brian Johnston loved making people laugh. This volume re-creates his stories, complete with corny jokes like the lady driving up the M1 while knitting. A policeman unwound his window and said, “Pull over!” “No,” she said. “A pair of socks”'Daily Mail
‘This book, edited and introduced by Brian Johnston’s son Barry, broadly comprises the transcripts from the best-selling audio tapes of his one-man stage show, plus photographs and cartoons. A nice souvenir and a sure-fire big seller.’ Kettering Evening Telegraph.
Letters Home 1926-1945
From the year Brian Johnston went to boarding school in 1920 until he was demobbed in 1945, he wrote a letter to his mother almost every week. She kept a great many of them and, to his family’s surprise, a bundle of over 400 of Brian’s letters were found hidden in a box in his study after his death in 1994.
They cover Brian’s years at Eton and Oxford, his job in the family coffee business in the City, Hamburg and Brazil, and his service with the Grenadier Guards during the war. Edited and introduced by his eldest son Barry, they provide a remarkable insight into one of our most loved radio and television personalities.
‘Johnston’s son Barry has done an excellent editing job … These letters show Johnners in the making.’ Literary Review
‘Lovingly compiled … it is a meticulous piece of editing.’ Sunday Times
‘Delightful … A remarkable social document of a time when families regularly went to the theatre together and when sons wrote to parents with heartfelt thanks for a wonderful holiday or leave.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Brian’s son Barry has brought coherence to a dusty box of letters in masterly fashion.’ The Cricketer
‘The themes of Johnston’s life – the love of cricket, cakes and terrible jokes – shine through
from the earliest days.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘This is perfect reading for a summer’s afternoon. You can almost hear the sound of ball on bat as Johnston ambles through his youth.’ Daily Mail
‘A charming confirmation of what we knew already and an artless evocation of a Woosterish world of country house cricket, clotted cream, clubs and digs, pranks and wheezes, raffish motor cars, West End shows and pretty girls.’ The Express
‘There have been three best selling books on the life of Brian Johnston – this will surely make that four.’ Liverpool Daily Post
A Delicious Slice of Johnners
Brian Johnston was a man who admitted: 'I have this absurd hankering to make people laugh.' He also summed up his books as 'the meanderings of a remarkably happy and lucky person, to whom life, like cricket, is a funny game and still a lot of fun.'
Edited and introduced by his eldest son Barry, this is a wonderfully enjoyable compendium of three of Johnners' best-loved books, the autobiographies It's Been a Lot of Fun and It's a Funny Game, and Rain Stops Play.
'A high quality compilation... beautifully presented and easy to read in every sense.' The Cricketer
'Edited by his son Barry... this book reminds us that Johnners was one of that increasingly rare species identified with the great cause of cheering us all up.' Choice
'[This] anthology of delightful material from the man known as Johnners has been lovingly and meticulously edited by Brian Johnston's eldest son, Barry.' Newbury News