AS the veteran Radio 1 broadcaster begins work on his £1.5m biography, John Peel tells Globe readers of his Wirral upbringing and reveals how he used to be terrorised by children from Ness.

BROADCASTER John Peel has just sold the rights to his autobiography for an astonishing £1.5m - not bad for a boy that used to be terrorised by children from Ness.

John Peel was born in Heswall in 1939. He grew up in Burton and went to a small boarding school in North Wales.

Speaking exclusively to the Globe, the BBC veteran said: "I spent the first 16 years of my life in Wirral and I went to what I suppose you would call kinder-garten in Neston.

"The war was on at the time so it was quite isolated.

"Burton was a real working village in those days and there wasn't much for young people to do.

"For entertainment I can remember travelling to Neston to watch Ken Cranston play cricket. He was quite a phenomenal player and it was rather extraordinary to see this England international playing for a tiny village team.

"I remember seeing him hit a six once, the ball went straight up in the air and landed in a baby's pram! The baby's mother was much less impressed with him than I was."

When John finished his military service in 1962 he travelled to Dallas, Texas, where he used his Liverpool connections to help him get his first job in radio.

John told the station that he was a friend of The Beatles, a white lie that was to start an illustrious career of over 40 years.

"My parents spoke with what you would call received pronunciation so I never really had a scouse accent, it was always rather middle class and posh," said John.

"My friends were also rather posh. I can remember that when we were young we used to be terrorised by a group of children from Ness. They would chase after us and pelt us with stones.

"In those days we used to walk all over the area. There was a road from our house in Denhall Lane, Burton, all the way to Neston alongside the marshes. It was a really good walk but we had to be careful not to go onto the marshes because the Americans used it as a firing range."

John occasionally visits the borough but is astonished by the changes that have taken place since the war.

"When I went back to visit recently it was barely recognisable, it has changed so much," he said.

"My grandmother used to have a house in Queens Drive in Heswall and a year or so ago I went to look at the old place but it had completely changed.

"There were these enormous wrought iron gates at the front entrance and it looked quite ridiculous."

In 1967, John returned to England and started his job at Radio 1. His eclectic musical taste has inspired millions of listeners and last year earned him 43rd place in the BBC's 100 greatest Britons of all time.

"People who listen to my shows will know that one of my favourite bands of all time are from Wirral," he said.

"Half Man Half Biscuit are from Tranmere, and they write very funny, very well-observed songs about the sort of people they meet and I'm a good friend of the band's songwriter Nigel Blackwell.

"A few years ago I was asked to do a TV programme where they wanted me to explore a certain city or town and its musical history.

"I ended up choosing Meols because when I was a kid I always thought that something fantastic must be happening there.

"All the buses from Burton always had Meols on the front so I thought everyone must be travelling there for a reason.

"Nigel came with me for the show and it turned out to be really interesting. He pointed out a phonebox that was mentioned in one of OMD's songs and the flat that John Lennon's first wife lived in.

"So the area really does have quite a rich pop history!"