It’s difficult to recall exactly when the idea behind STALKERS first came to mind. It was quite a few years ago now – I recall that much. I’m pretty sure I was having a brain-storming session at the time, taking my dog for a walk with Dictaphone in hand, trying to come up with as many high concepts as possible – either for story, novel or script.
When STALKERS first jumped into my head, I remember being quite shaken because it was so grotesque a notion that I couldn’t see it working outside the horror genre, and even then it might have been deemed gratuitous. However, the more I thought about it, the more I began to see how it could also fit into a police thriller context – that way it could be more about the investigation than the crimes themselves.
Ever wondered how you make the leap to become a writer? This month sees Paul Finch recall the transition from his days in the Police to his time as a scriptwriter for The Bill in his fourth blog piece for Killer Reads.
The first time I ever put pen to paper to write a serious thriller, it was just after I’d finished serving as an actual police officer. The piece of work in question was a speculative teleplay entitled Knock Off Job. It concerned a murder inside a suburban police station, and presented every member of the shift, both uniform and CID, as potential suspects, none of them knowing who to trust.
Now that I look back on it, it was very talkie: lots of tense conversations in dim corridors and cramped offices, lots of frank, fraught interviews, lots of suspicions being cast in every direction. It wouldn’t work today simply because modern police stations are filled with CCTV, and the comings and goings of staff and non-staff are more carefully monitored. But the concept was of sufficient interest to the production team at The Bill to make them ask me to come in and see them. I accepted the invitation, and though I didn’t realise it at the time, my life changed as a result.