An Anecdote

It took me a long time to find an agent for my first book. I was eventually touting it around by writing in alphabetical order to each agent in The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book. I got to the stage where I was looking for other ways of getting my hilarious work into the public domain so I could embark on a life of fame and luxury.

I decided that I could turn it into a sitcom and flog it to the BBC. (This was actually in the days predating Red Dwarf.) I duly prepared a script or two – I can’t honestly remember how much, and none of it now exists – and I sent it off to Robin Nash, who was BBC’s Head of Television Comedy.

Olivier starring in my sitcom as an invisible alien

Olivier starring in my sitcom as an invisible alien

He wrote a very nice letter back, noting that significant characters in my sitcom were bodiless, ethereal beings. Or, to put it another way, they were invisible. Robin pointed out that the televisual medium in which he operated was traditionally, in fact some might say fundamentally designed for things that could in fact, be seen. And he politely turned it down.

I considered remonstrating that he should consider the savings on make-up, costumes and physical direction before making a snap judgement, but decided against it. Instead I determined to think things through just a bit more thoroughly before making an idiot of myself!

Incidentally, Nash really did send a very nice and encouraging letter, asking me to submit to him anything else I came up with, but before I could come up with anything, I found my agent, the book was sold, and I followed a different path.

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