Here’s the real life Spitfire pilot.I loved the enthusiasm with which Baxter communicates his skill in and love of flying.Given the BBC’s abysmal TV coverage last Sunday of the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames, I dare to suggest that all potential BBC commentators should be required to read and learn from this book.Baxter unflinchingly demonstrates the truism that excellence in communication is only achieved by a strong underpinning of a knowledgeable and passionate love of one’s subject.Baxter was superb when reporting from the Farnborough Air Show, and when presenting ‘Tomorrow’s World.”In this book I particularly enjoyed his description of flying in a Hawker Harrier (pgs 112-121).

However, what I did NOT like about this book was the introduction effected through an episode of “This Is Your Life”; a long-running TV show which I’ve always thought artificial and patronising.Its use in this book to create a start and a finish came over as a simply crass statement of self-adulation; a quality I’d never before associated with Raymond Baxter.I just hope that it was Tony Dron’s (the collaborative author) sad idea, and not Raymond Baxter’s.

Overall, I thought that in content this was a very interesting and quite enjoyable read of a person who in order to successfully commentate on real-life to a TV audience needed to acquire the practical skills to do so.Which he did, and very successfully too.But perhaps there will always be a curious and slightly odd difference between those who spend their lives as followers describing, and those who spend their lives leading by doing.