So, here's the thing! Hordes of fans, well a few anyway, have said how they'd like to see the Parish & Richards books adapted for television - I agree! Well, I would wouldn't I, but no... I'm being serious. I mean, what's on the TV worth watching these days? Bugger all is my answer - excuse um moi! Ha, ha, you didn't know I could speak French, did you? Anyway, A Touch of Frost came to an end, and that was brilliant. Dalziel & Pascoe came to end, and that was just as brilliant. What have we got left? Oh, there's been some other adaptations.
Mark Billingham's Thorne is quite good. David Morrissey does a reasonable job as DI Tom Thorne, but for the life of me I can't recall any of the other characters, which is not good. You've probably guessed I'm a character man, I love creating characters, and that's what a lot of the reviews say - "Parish & Richards are wonderful characters, and they want to hug the Chief..." Then there's The Body Farm - not good. Now, Waking the Dead was brilliant - why? Because Trevor Eve and Sue Johnston were brilliant. In The Body Farm, Tara Fitzgerald and her bunch of weirdos have no personalities - they're one-dimensional. Silent Witness was also very good, but I quite fancied Emilia Fox who plays Nikki Alexander. I'll do some more, but I'll let you into a little secret now - Of course, there has to be a good storyline, but unless there are some three-dimensional engaging characters, it's generally no good because people want to root for or hate your characters.
Stephen Tompskinson also does a good job with Peter Robinson's DCI Alan Banks, and I also like Andrea Lowe as DS Annie Cabot (but I think I might have a bit of crush on her!) The Killing (Danish version) was also fantastic, but the ending was rubbish - again the characters were suberb. Sofie Grabol as Inspector Sarah Lund was really excellent - sacrificing everything to get to the truth. Her partner, Jan Meyer was very good as well. Also, there's a 2nd series due to be aired on BBC4 on 19th November - only nine days to go - Excellent!
Now, you'll note that I've only been discussing British TV crime series - Well, that's because I live in Britain, Toady! But hey, I'm not a complete anglophile - I've just ordered the complete Prison Break (series 1 - 4 including the Final Break) just in case there absolutely nothing on over Christmas, which is probably a dead certainty!
Now, let's continue on, Toady. Taggart - getting a bit dated, and without Mark McManus it was never the same. Sherlock Holmes - I'm afraid I still like the Black & White ones with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Hawthorne (I know, call me a dinosaur!) I definitely don't like that weird-looking Cumberpatch doll! Midsomer Murders - dear me! Morse with John Thaw and Kevin Whately was brilliant. The spin-off Lewis isn't bad, but without Thaw, well it's just not the same is it. Agatha Christie's Poirot with David Suchet is also excellent, but again a bit dated. New Tricks and Foyle's War I've never fancied. Luther was very good, but I began to lose sympathy with the character. The Wire in the Blood with Robson Green and Hermoine Norris was fabulous, as was Rebus with Ken Stott, and Spiral - the French series, Rose & Maloney with Sarah Lancashire and Phil Davies (I particularly like Phil Davies - I think he's a superb actor, and was excellent in this series). Linda LaPlant's Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren was brilliant. In the past, there was Cracker with Robbie Coltrane, which was wonderful. There are some I've not mentioned, which are okay, such as George Gently and Criminal Minds.
So, the common thread running through each of the TV crime series that are successful is a strong lead character(s), and strong supporting characters as well. In the Parish & Richards series we've got Jed Parish, Mary Richards, Ray Kowalski, Chief Day, Doc Michelin, and Paul Toadstone. I know there are others, but let's focus on Parish and Richards to start with. Who do you think should play these two?
Now, I've looked at some male UK actors, but none make me think of Jed Parish. I think I'd have better luck trying find someone to play Mary Richards. So, I don't want to colour your judgement, who do you think should play these two? Now, that's not necessarily a redundant question, because I'm teaching myself scriptwriting with a view to writing a Parish & Richards script for TV - How hard can it be? Anyway, I'll keep you in the loop, but books and scripts to write Toady, so toodle-pip for now!
Here's the thing! I used to teach Psychology to Sixth Form girls before I retired. (I know, you're thinking 'lucky dog', but being in a room full of chattering females was one of those levels in hell that Dante Alighieri wrote about in the Divine Comedy). Anyway, stop trying to distract me! Before becoming a civilian teacher I did a lot of teaching in the Army related to psychology - like leadership, methods of instruction, physical training, and drill (the picture is of me taking part in a parade as a Drill Sergeant in about 1985/86 - Note the lithe body!). Anyway, I began thinking about the personality types of writers! Well, you do when it's a slow day, don't you?
I conducted a quick search using the nice Mr Yahoo's engine again and found a four-fold classification by the famous writing coach Jill Dearman who lives in New York city (which is a little place outside London if I'm not too much mistaken)! There's lots of questionnaires that try to analyse you - learning styles, thinking styles, urgency index, mindset, team profile, but I particularly like this personality inventory: NEO-PI (Short). I used to get all my students to complete it and then analysed their conscientiousness score - pretty accurate in terms of identifying those who were motivated to succeed! Try completing the inventory when you're looking for something to do other than write.
So, the beautiful and captivating Ms Dearman reckons there are four types of writers: 1) The Distractionist - A quick-thinking person who is never at a loss for great ideas, but somehow loses interest by the second draft; 2) The Dictator - Knows how to keep her eye on the prize and her butt in the chair, but her unwillingness to change makes her inflexible, stiff and often frustrated. As the needs of readers and the marketplace evolve she refuses to; 3) The Perfectionist - Grabs the reader at the first sentence, yet she cannot move on to the next brilliant line because she is still agonizing over the punctuation in the first; and 4) The Commitment-phobe - Takes him a while to settle on one project, and when he does, he inexplicably becomes obsessed with 'the one that got away.' Which one describes you? If you were wondering, I'm a Distractionist - I hop from project to project like a damned grasshopper!
Are you a Type A or B personality? Here's a survey to find out: Survey! So you can compare, I did it and I'm a Type A+ personality - that's why I had a heart attack two years ago. Here's what it said: You're driven to succeed every single second of the day, and you don't let up on your goals no matter how tired you are. You've already achieved a lot in your life... but it's not enough for you. Always on the go, you tend to get things done quickly and effectively. You have the personality to be a successful entrepreneur. Just remember to play a little too, even if play is the most difficult thing for you! True... so true! It's not the first time I've done the questionnaire - and it always comes out the damned same.
Here's another Survey: What Type of Writer Should You Be? I completed it and apparently I should be a Film Writer: You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind. You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life. Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling. And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen! Now, call me a donkey's hee-haw, but this is damned accurate! What about you? What type of writer should you be?
Maybe my next project should be a movie script! Exit stage left... Now, that's spooky, because I was only reading an article on Scriptwriting in one of my Writing Magazines today and thinking, Maybe I'll have a go at that! Is someone trying to tell me something? Are the planets in conjunction? Ha! Asking all these questions reminded me of Bill Cosby's 'Why is there air?'. Now that guy was funny. I was stationed in Germany in 1972 at the British Military Hospital in Iserlohn (when I was training to become a nurse) and the barman used to play one of Bill Cosby's comedy records. I loved Noah, My Dad's Car, Medic, Tonsils, $75 Car, oh all of them - they were brilliant. Here's a page full of Bill Cosby's videos on YouTube. If you want to laugh 'till you die - watch them! Below is Noah to give you an idea of what I mean.
In fact, now I come to think of it, Bill Cosby was probably one of my inspirations for humourous writing - he was the master. But, before I forget, let's talk about my next project - what, didn't I say it was going to be a big-budget Hollywood script with lots of whistles, bangs, and car chases that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have already signed up for? - Well, it is! I have a working name for it - Mr & Mrs Jones! What do you think, hey, hey? So anyway, as soon as I learn how to write a script after doing some research in the BBC Writer's Room, Steven Spielberg will be emailing me toot sweet begging me to do a treatment (Ha! I love that - a treatment - what the hell is one of those?) Here's a definition from that very nice Wiki person - Treatment! Right, I'm going to go now, but stay tuned to the same Bat Channel (do you remember that TV series - Zapp! Kapow!) because I might just write something about book reviews next time!
Hi, I'm Tim Ellis - I write a lot and I hope you enjoy what I write.