Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Long Road to Recovery; after a Devastating Accident in Which He Nearly Lost a Leg, TV's Motorbike-Mad Journeyman Charley Boorman Tells HANNAH STEPHENSON He's Back in the Saddle and Planning More Adventures

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Long Road to Recovery; after a Devastating Accident in Which He Nearly Lost a Leg, TV's Motorbike-Mad Journeyman Charley Boorman Tells HANNAH STEPHENSON He's Back in the Saddle and Planning More Adventures

Article excerpt

Byline: HANNAH STEPHENSON

HE HAS travelled the world, motorcycling around the globe with his good pal Ewan McGregor for the TV series Long Way Round and Long Way Down and doesn't know what career he would have followed had it not been for his love of two wheels.

But just over a year ago, TV presenter and adventurer Charley Boorman had a horrendous motorbike accident in Portugal. His left leg was so badly shattered - the bone was protruding from the skin - doctors thought he might lose it.

He also broke and dislocated his right ankle, broke his hand and ended up in a protective leg cage for three months.

When Ewan heard he had been hurt, 50-year-old Charley recalls: "He couldn't believe it. He said, 'Charley never crashes'. He was away working when I had the crash but the minute he got back, he came over to see me and we hung out a bit. He was shocked at the severity of it."

Today, the genial, ever-optimistic Charley admits he still walks with a limp and sometimes takes painkillers - but he just makes himself get on with life and is already planning his next trip.

"I'm hobbling but I'm back on the bikes. I've been sneaking on to a moped since July, but wasn't really telling anybody. I couldn't help myself.

"With a moped I didn't need to change gear. But I've been properly back on the bike since January."

The London-born journeyman's convalescence has given him time to write Long Way Back, which charts his road to recovery, interspersed with memories of his childhood growing up in Ireland and Los Angeles - his father is famous film director John Boorman, whose films include Deliverance (in which Charley makes a fleeting appearance), Zardoz and Hope And Glory.

He'd had accidents and broken bones before, but the crash in Portugal was his worst Charley's protective the yet. He was overtaking a car when it turned left, clipping him and sending him careering into a wall. He was conscious throughout but in excruciating pain.

"The thing I remember most was flying through the air and seeing the pavement and wall coming towards me and thinking, 'This is going to hurt'. After the initial impact, I remember tumbling really hard. It felt like my whole body had been jarred.

"I've crashed a lot in the past. I've broken my hand and collarbone but what made this one complicated was that I broke both legs, which is why I ended up lying in bed for three months. It was six months before I could walk on one leg."

His injuries initially required six hours of surgery and he had to wear a frame to protect his left leg for three months to allow the bone to knit properly. Even now, he's not sure if he'll need further surgery.

Today, he chuckles when recalling the moment he was told he might lose his leg, but he wasn't laughing when the Portuguese surgeon broke the news. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.