In February 2016, motorcycle adventurer Charley Boorman suffered a major road traffic accident in Portugal. Having spent all of his life on some form of motorbike, his world came crashing down after he was knocked off a Triumph Tiger Explorer, shattering his left leg and breaking his hand and ankle. It was unclear if he would ever walk properly again, let alone ride a motorbike.
Told in his own words Long Way Back is both a story of Charley’s recovery back to health and the story of a life lived without fear.
Moving between past and present, Long Way Back recounts both Charley’s recovery back to health and his totally unique life story. From child actor starring in Deliverance to a painter-decorator, jobbing actor, TV presenter, UNICEF ambassador, surviving cancer and professional biker covering thousands of miles travelling to the four corners of the earth, Charley has always been on the lookout for his next big adventure.
In alternating chapters, as his inability to walk for several months provokes introspection, Boorman recounts his childhood, where his passion for motorbikes began, and the formative influences in his life – from his father, the film director John Boorman, to his long-time friend Ewan McGregor, and Sean Connery’s son, who first introduced him to bikes. As Charley struggles to cope with this potentially life-changing situation, it is these touchstones who will give him strength on the long way back to health.
Born in 1966, the son of German costume designer Christel Kruse and English film director John Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur) Charley Boorman, had an idyllic childhood growing up in Ireland with three siblings and still feels very connected to his Irish upbringing. Now married to Ollie they have two daughters, Doone and Kinvara the family live in South West London but visit Ireland regularly. Charley’s passion for motorbikes started from a young age when he and Jason Connery (Sean Connery’s son) mucked about on a Honda monkey bike in the fields around Charley’s family home in Ireland, whilst his dad and Sean were working on a film together.
Thirty years later in 2004 Charley teamed up with another motorcycle buddy Ewan McGregor, who he’d befriended on the acting circuit back in 1997, for an epic motorcycle adventure. Long Way Round saw the duo travel from London to New York via Europe and Asia, and was made into the bestselling TV series and book (590,000 sales). Their next adventure together was Long Way Down which saw the pair bike across the world from John O’Groats in Scotland to Cape Town again the series and the book were a huge success, (book sales 405,000). In between these massive adventures, Charley also competed in the famous Dakar rally, making a TV series and book about it and became an ambassador for UNICEF. Charley is also very lucky to be alive, having survived testicular cancer, which was only discovered after his wife took their dog to the vet to have its testical removed and then made the connection with Charley, and he is now an ambassador for Movember.
This Official Autobiography is published on 1st May 2017 and will cost £20 in hardback.
Charley’s other adventures have included By Any Means a journey from county Wicklow to Sydney where he had to travel around the world “by any means” of local transport available – a mish mash of boats, bikes, elephants – you name it, Charley used it! Right to the Edge which saw him travel from Sydney to Tokyo by motorcycle with 1500 riders joining him for the first leg up the coast of NSW! While Extreme Frontiers saw Charley racing across Canada, from Newfoundland to the Rockies, by motorcycle.
Enjoy more Back Street Heroes reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.