Riders (1993 film)

Riders, also called Jilly Cooper's Riders, is a British television film of 1993 based on Jilly Cooper's book of the same name in the Rutshire Chronicles series.

Riders (1993) DVD cover.jpg
Directed byGabrielle Beaumont
Screenplay byCharlotte Bingham, Terence Brady
Based onJilly Cooper's Riders (book)
StarringMarcus Gilbert, Michael Praed, Arabella Holzbog
Music byRoger Webb
Release date
  • 2 May 1993 (1993-05-02)
Running time
199 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

With a length of 199 minutes, broadcasters usually divide the production into a miniseries.


Rupert Campbell-Black (played by Marcus Gilbert) is a rich and upper class Englishman at the top of the world of international show jumping, while his arch-rival Jake Lovell (Michael Praed) is a man of humble gipsy origins now funded by his Sloane Ranger heiress wife Tory (Caroline Harker). Lovell is driven by an intense hatred of Campbell-Black, who had bullied him mercilessly as a small boy at their English prep school, and their fights over riding prizes and women reach a climax at the Los Angeles Olympics.


Anglia bought the film rights to the best-selling book and hired Charlotte Bingham and her husband Terence Brady to produce a script, giving the job of director to Gabrielle Beaumont. Some sequences were filmed at Heydon, Norfolk. This was the screen debut of Sienna Guillory, only sixteen at the time, chosen largely because her part called for a young actress who could ride.[1]


The film had an intense build-up as "a sex sizzler" in the weeks before its first broadcast on the ITV network on 2 May 1993, but some critics found it absurd. Writing in The Independent, Allison Pearson said: "Jilly Cooper's Riders (ITV), allegedly about mounting excitement, came with palpitating publicity. But it was all sound and furry animals, dignifying nothing." She continued by mocking Anthony Calf's portrayal of Billy Lloyd-Foxe: "I was trying to place Calf's acting style (do horses give you lockjaw?) when he turned up in the Gold Blend advert. All that rich, roasted alliteration is enough to drive anyone to suicide, which he wisely attempted in part two, only to have Rupert revive him ('England needs you, Billy').[2]

The strapline used on the present-day DVD cover, "Sex and horses: who could ask for more?" is indeed from The Sunday Telegraph, but was a comment on the book Riders in 1985, and not on the film.[3]


The Duke of Beaufort

In 2002, Jilly Cooper revealed that Rupert Campbell-Black was a composite of Andrew Parker Bowles, Rupert Lycett Green, Michael Howard, 21st Earl of Suffolk, and the 11th Duke of Beaufort, commenting on their place in the development of Campbell-Black: "a wildly dashing and exciting group, and their bravery and charisma were the essential elements... his shittiness was entirely my invention".[3]

Rowan Pelling has suggested in The Daily Telegraph that the outrageous Fleet Street columnist Janey Lloyd-Foxe is based on Jilly Cooper herself and the young Camilla Parker-Bowles.[3]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Marie Morreale, Sienna Guillory dated 6 December 2006 at ScholasticNews.com, archived 3 July 2007
  2. ^ Allison Pearson, TELEVISION / Sex, beasts and Jilly Cooper dated 8 May 1993 in The Independent online, accessed 18 January 2018
  3. ^ a b c Rowan Pelling, On its 30th anniversary, why Riders is the best erotic fiction of all time dated 7 March 2015 at telegraph.co.uk, accessed 20 January 2018

External linksEdit