First Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival.

Finish Holby City on Sunday and then pack bags to go to the first Gibraltar International Literary Festival @GibraltarLitFes  It offers a great programme and has attracted writers such as Ben Okri, Joanne Harris, Kate Adie, Gavin Hewit and Peter Snow. Also two terrific crime writers, Thomas Mogford and Jason Webster. I'm joining them for a 'Crime In The Sun' session, chaired by David Freeman, on Saturday 26th.

Meanwhile, I'm about a month behind schedule for the publication of my second Sullivan and Broderick murder mystery - 'Poisoned Rock'. It's a story of World War Two espionage, that has deathly consequences in the present day. Another job for the Royal Gibraltar Police Force and its newest recruit!

Also on the scene, bookwise, is my dear friend Christopher Matthew. His new book, 'The Man Who Dropped The Creuset On His Toe', is published this month. The writer of the hilarious 'Crisp Diaries' and the 'Now We Are Sixty' series, will no doubt be at his usual hilarious best.

Another old mate, William Humble, has also sent me his terrific stage adaptation of David Niven's autobiography, 'The Moon's a Balloon'. Hollywood tales of brilliance and, most probably, massive invention. It's certainly wet my poor appetite for treading the boards.

That's news breaking from me. Hope all is well and happy with you.



Clashing Swords of Honour once more.

Eleven years after playing Major Hound in William Boyd's adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's 'Sword of Honour' trilogy for Channel 4, I'm back on Radio 4 for their summer classic series of the same. This time I'm giving of my Arthur Box-Bender and the books have been adapted by Jeremy Front. 

Start next week and am looking forward to it very much indeed. 

Other than that, have been avoiding 'the acting' this summer in order to finish my next Sullivan and Broderick murder mystery. Two great research trips to Gibraltar and a lot of work done. Terrific support from friends old and new out on the Rock.

Out in September.

The heat would be wonderful if it wasn't for these damned mosquitos!


Fork 'andles

Have been attempting to recreate some of the classic sketches from the Two Ronnies for Radio 4's afternoon play, 'Goodnight From Him'. With Aiden McArdle, James Lance and Matt Addis giving splendid renditions of Ronnie Corbett, David Frost and John Cleese, I have tried to do some justice to the 'Guvnor', the great Ronnie Barker. Terrific fun, in spite of several pisspronunciations. Broadcasts in May.

Also, coming up next week on BBC1, is Ben Elton's 'The Wright Way'. I'm in it from Episode 2 onwards, bossing David Haig around as Mayor Len Winkler. Was lovely to do, but just as vulnerable to pisspronunciations. Ben had decided at the last minute to make my character speak in completely deconstructed english. A kind of management lingo in reverse. Stanley Unwin gone town hall lingo barmey. Deep joy and joy deep.

But for now, the kids are back at school and I actually felt the warmth of the sun on my face this afternoon for the first time in living memory. Spring is here. Life is skittles. Life is beer!


Brain Movies

There can be few more effective conversation stoppers available than the classic, 'I had an amazing dream last night!' Admit it. The sight of the end of that last sentence sent a shiver down your spine. Sadly, spilling your dreams is not the way to get on and influence people. Even your nearest and dearest are likely to switch onto immediate automatic pilot - mind you, mine don't even require that excuse to slip into a trance. The fact is, other people's dreams are boring - unless you've recently fallen in love and all sense of ordinary balance has been lost to you.

Dreaming for me is something that I know gets done and something I vaguely remember images of for a split second upon waking. However, my main memories of the night are usually the desperate 3 o'clock wide awake terror of trying to figure out how to pay the next set of bills. Funny how those concerns manage to stack above your head awaiting clearance for landing in the wee small hours of the morning.

Not for me the bedside note book and pencil, plus trusty Freud bothering Dream Dictionary. Such discipline and interest in self knowledge is at present beyond me. So night by night I go about my unconscious business for the most part, unconsciously. Or so the story went, because you see I had an amazing dream last night! And before you all go into an unfollow frenzy, I promise not to dwell on story or detail. In short it was the most extraordinary movie I've ever seen. A beautifully shot and extraordinarily edited series of breathtaking scenes and images that quite frankly would have been beyond the capabilities and technical resources of our most gifted conscious-world film and computer generated creative artistes and craftspeople. My brain was clearly using the most extraordinarily advanced and sophisticated software not known to man. I know the human brain operates in all sorts of wonderful and unfathomable ways every nano-second of our lives, but this dream was just showing off big time. An Oscar winning Brain Movie.

I dearly wish I could discover exactly what software my dreaming self had downloaded. Finding that out would definitely bring my 3am bill paying anxieties to an end.




On Team GB, Heroes and Trolls

Well it's the last day of these most extraordinary Olympic Games and there is no let up in the pride and joy most of us have experienced during this past fortnight. Farah, Pendleton, Wiggins, Ennis, Hoy, Adlington, Trott et al have made their names immortal for a generation and beyond. Together with the amazing talents of their fellow Olympians from around the world, they have brought us the very best in sport and human endeavour. 

Amongst all this, one of our most gifted athletes, Tom Daley, fought his way to a Bronze Medal having dealt with an all too common attack from an internet 'troll'. This he did with dignity and calm. The fashion of hate dwellers to criticise in this anonymous and deeply cowardly way is a sad by-product of the wonders of the internet age. To all those who have suffered in this manner, these words by Teddy Roosevelt may offer some comfort.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena...who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."