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See the Forest for the trees Nov 13

It’s been great over the last few weeks to be reunited with the Pensive Federation. I’ve been taking part for the second time in the Collective Project, their theatre project themed around collaborative working and group dynamics.

Over 12 days, two directors, eight writers (of which I was one) and twelve actors developed 12 new 12-minute plays, all of which are being performed this week at the Etcetera Theatre. Shows are at 7pm each night until Saturday 14th November, which a 2:30pm matinee on Saturday too. You can book tickets online.

Each play in the Collective Project has a collective noun as its title and thematic driver, although this year the Pensive team have added the complication of genres. Each play has been assigned a genre like period drama, sci-fi or, in one case, silent. But we’re not telling the audience which is which.

My play is called Forest and, like the others, features six actors. Usually when you’re writing a short play, you’re trying to keep it small and simple, so it’s a fun challenge to fit in six characters and ensure they all get a fair bite of the cherry. The cast and directors have done a fantastic job – I’m really happy with how the piece, and the whole show, has turned out.

Sunset Boulevard Sep 16

Sunset Boulevard posterSo this is exciting: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard returns to the London stage in October – and I’m in it!

Geoids Musical Theatre is producing the first amateur production of the show in London and it’s going to be epic. I’m part of the ensemble, singing, dancing and acting my way through an assortment of roles.

Sunset has a great story based on the Oscar-winning 1950 film, in which Gloria Swanson played faded silent movie star Norma Desmond. And that’s supplemented by a lush score and songs that range from comic relief to searing ballads.

We open on Tuesday 6th October at the Bridewell Theatre in Blackfriars and are performing every evening until Saturday 10th – including a matinee on the Saturday afternoon. There are just a handful of tickets left for Friday’s Gala Night, when you’ll get a free programme and a glass of bubbly in the interval .

It’s a rare chance to see this show in London so do come along if you can. Tickets are on sale now!

1001 reasons to buy this book Jul 28

1001 TV Series modelled by meI love cult TV so I jumped at the chance to be involved in this huge undertaking: 1001 articles about classic television series, from the 1950s right up to the present day.

A massive round of applause to editor Paul Condon who took on such a mammoth task, including all the arguments about what should go in and be left out, and turned out this beautiful tome.

I’ve contributed around 2.5% of the content with articles on some of my favourite series, including The West Wing, Columbo, the 1960s Batman, Dark Season and Forbrydelsen (The Killing).

There are plenty of non-fiction shows in there too, plus a good representation of excellent drama from around the world – it’s a truly international book.

1001 TV Series You Must Watch Before You Die is due out in October but is already available to pre-order.

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More Dark Shadows out now Jul 27

In the Twinkling of an Eye coverThe latest story I’ve scripted edited, Penny Faith’s In the Twinkling of an Eye is out now and available to order from the Big Finish website. It’s an atmospheric character piece with a wonderfully creepy undertone and a great vehicle for Marie Wallace. As with most releases in the series, while there’s extra reward for regular listeners, it’s also accessible if you don’t know anything about Dark Shadows.

I’ve also script edited next month’s release, Deliver Us From Evil by Aaron Lamont (which follows on from the events of my own story, The Enemy Within), and September’s CD, Daniel Collard’s Tainted Love. Plus you can still get hold of the first Dark Shadows drama I script edited, Alan Flanagan’s Carriage of the Damned.

Dark Shadows: Bloodlust volume 1If all that wasn’t enough, it’s also worth plugging the 13-part miniseries Dark Shadows: Bloodlust. It was storylined and co-written by me, Alan, and Joseph Lidster. Joe and his co-producer David Darlington wanted to get back to the TV series’ soap opera roots, so we came up with a tale has that ongoing feel, with character arcs weaving in and out of each other, while also delivering a self-contained supernatural murder mystery.

Big Finish released Bloodlust in twice-weekly installments earlier this year – a nod to the show’s daily television episodes in the 1960s and ’70s – and we’re really proud of how it turned out. The first episode (which I wrote) is available free on Soundcloud.