Spotlight On… David Robb

He’s best known, these days for playing Dr Clarkson in the hugely popular Downton Abbey, but actor David Robb has had a varied career to date including theatre acting galore! David is currently appearing on stage in Alan Bennett’s Single Spies and I had a chat with him to find out what his memories of Downton Abbey are as well as his opinion on the play he’s currently starring in.

How are you enjoying your roles in Single Spies and have you performed any Alan Bennett material, before?

I’ve never done any Alan Bennett, before, this is my first time. I’ve found it enjoyable on a certain level, although he writes slightly waspishly. The duality of the piece has certainly been picked up on by the audience. I do feel that Bennett lets the Cambridge Spies off lightly.

It’s an intense evening when I kick off in the second act, during rehearsals I had been talking for such a length of time that I had to have a glug of water. I said, “I’ll have to have a drink of water at some point” and that was worked in.

Are there any roles in theatre that you have an ambition to play or any particular theatres that you’d like to tick off your list?

Not particularly, when one gets to my age you’re grateful to be in work.

I worked at The Old Vic years ago and that was special, on stage where Olivier performed. Otherwise the venue to me is just a space one performs in.

You were excellent as Dr. Clarkson in Downton Abbey, what are your favourite memories from the show and do you think it was the right time for the series to finish?

It was possibly the right time to finish the series, although there is a conflict between the UK and the USA, whereas the USA feel bereft about the decision to end it. Of course, it couldn’t have carried on with Dame Maggie Smith, she would have been 112 years old and it was becoming hard to retain people. Nobody could have foreseen the massive success that the show has become, hopefully people will carry on buying the box sets!

It didn’t matter who one was doing a scene with, everyone got on, that is unusual in a large cast. Part of the show’s appeal is that Julian Fellowes has gone back to the Hill Street Blues days, where you have a massive cast and kill someone off unexpectedly every now and then.

What led you to become an actor and were you influenced by anybody?

I was at school in Edinburgh in the 60’s, it was an extraordinary time, in the course of a couple of years jet travel came in and there was pop music. Anything was possible and careers that seemed exotic were possible. I was roped into doing school plays, realised I was good at it and at the age of 16 I thought I could do it as a career.

What’s your preferred medium between screen and stage acting?

I’m classically trained so I find that the discipline of theatre acting keeps one grounded, but I prefer to be in front of the camera. I like having done a scene and then being able to move on. For me, there comes a point in theatre when you feel you’re repeating yourself.

What’s next for you after Single Spies?

I don’t know yet, but there is a possibility of a bunch of the Downton Abbey cast (depending on who’s around) going over to America for a few weeks. It will be a show that goes on tour with Question and Answer sessions. It appeals to me to go back and see more of America and ‘bob around’.


I’d like to thank David for his time, it was a pleasure to interview him!








Spotlight On… Julie Hesmondhalgh

She played Roy Cropper’s wife, Hayley in Coronation Street for 15 years and departed in 2014. Since leaving, Julie Hesmondhalgh has moved on to play a multitude of joyous roles and I had the great pleasure of watching her in her latest project, playing terminal Cancer patient, Vivian in ‘Wit’ at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.  I caught up with Julie to find out what ever happened to Hayley’s famous anorak and all sorts of other gossip!

The most important things I want to know first is, did you get to keep Hayley’s famous coat from Corrie?
Yes. I’m waiting for the right opportunity to auction it for charity, but till then I have it.
How does it feel now that you’ve left Hayley behind, do you miss The Street, at all?
I’ve honestly not looked back!  It’s been 25 months now and 30 jobs.  I loved Hayley, I loved the cobbles, I loved all my mates there (I still do) but it’s been such a lovely rich time for me, work wise, I’ve loved it.
You’ve taken a step into theatre work, now and speaking from experience, you’re doing an amazing job – what was your opinion of your latest character in Wit?
I was very nervous about playing someone so tough and isolated, so in her head and not her heart.  I was nervous of the accent (American), the last moment of nudity, of shaving my hair off, of being on stage for the whole 100 minutes…it was probably the most challenging role of my life, but I loved every minute. Vivian in Wit is such an interesting woman, and a female protagonist you see very rarely in culture: a lone wolf, in love only with her work (and even then in quite a dry and joyless way)…I loved playing her. And the ending was incredibly exciting and redemptive and joyful, after all my worrying.
Did you find the role challenging and draining or have you found that playing a character with terminal Cancer comes as second nature having played the storyline in Corrie?
Vivian literally could not have been more different from Hayley, in her relationships, her priorities and her approach to life and death, so it was really different. A lot of people asked me if I found it draining but not at all… as I say, the ending left me high as a kite!
Did you do any research for your role of Vivian in Wit?
Loads.  Medically, academically, in every way. I had to study the life and poetry of John Donne and the anatomy of Ovarian cancer, and I had a lot of lines to learn.  I started in April last year.
What are the main differences you’re experiencing between working on in front of the camera and working on stage?
I love both. I love the immediacy and seat-of-the-pants terror of theatre, as well as the world of going in to rehearsals and collaborating, and meeting the audience in the bar after the show. I love the world of theatre. But telly is always such a great experience. Always brilliant crews, make up, runners, extras, catering, drivers…it’s a little gang.  It always breaks my heart when a job ends. They practically had to carry me off the Cucumber set on the last day. I love radio as well.  I’ve done loads this last year and it’s a real joy. I’ve not had a job I’ve not loved.  I’ve been so lucky.
Is there a role that you have an ambition to play?
No, I love new writing the best, so I don’t know what the next one is.
Staying with the theatre related questions, is there a particular Director you’d like to work with or a specific theatre you’d like to play?
I’d love to work with Katie Mitchell.  I’d love to do something at the Everyman…and The National of course.  I did a play upstairs at the Royal Court last year with Vicky Featherstone and that was a dream come true.  I loved it there.  The people I met in that bar!  But I love Manchester the best.
I’m loving your performance in Happy Valley, what was that like to film and how did you enjoy working with Kevin Doyle from Downton Abbey?
Oh, I hardly do anything in Happy Valley but it was such an honour to be offered a part in it and to work with Sally Wainwright and with lovely Kevin. We have some great rows coming up and had a right laugh. Our screen kids were wonderful too.
Would you take a part in another soap opera in the future or do you feel you’ve done your ‘bit’?
I think so! I think I’d be hard pressed to find a part like Hayley again.
What drew you to an acting career in the first place?
A series of fortunate events.  A primary school teacher, Mrs Mulderigg, who saw something in me and encouraged me to do English Speaking Board exams, which set me on the path. Then some great teachers at secondary school, then the most inspirational teacher at FE College who made us feel like it was possible to be from Accrington and to be an actor.  He opened up a whole world of possibility for us and scores of us from that course went on to Drama schools (there were 5 of us at LAMDA at the same time!) and loads of us are still acting. Seeing loads of theatre with school and college made me fall in love with it all, particularly seeing stuff at the Royal Exchange.
What projects have you got coming up now that you’ve finished your run in Wit?
I’m running an Intergenerational Masterclass at the Exchange next week, I have some radio in the pipeline and a BIG telly in the summer that I can’t tell you about yet! Watch this space.
Favourite Things (give me your first reaction to these questions, please):
Favourite memory from Corrie?
Probably Amsterdam at the start of it all, or Blackpool towards the end, when it felt so precious and special.
Favourite co-star?
David Neilson of course!
Favourite childhood memory?
Big walks with my Mum and Dad on a Sunday in the Lancashire countryside.
Favourite song?
Reach by S Club 7 (a family classic)
Favourite way to spend your time off?
On a windy beach with my family and my dog, walking towards a cafe where they sell big mugs of tea.
I’d like to thank Julie for sparing the time to chat with me, she really is an inspirational lady!

Into The Hoods: Remixed

Into the Hoods: Remixed promised to make a real impact when they landed at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, a mixture of established dancers from all over the world make up Zoonation Dance Academy and they didn’t disappoint.

The appetiser prior to the main event was the Curtain Raiser performed by a group of young people ranging from age 16-21 who have been picked out from across the region to perform with the Zoonation artistic team. The opportunity to improve their skills and experience tutoring from individuals at the top of their game had clearly rubbed off on the troop and it was a show stopping performance.

The main show was a five star production from start to finish. Excellent story telling from all involved, they can all act as well as they can dance. The music was a combination of hit tune after hit tune and brought back to memory some real old skool beats from decades gone by. The group have boundless energy which is incredibly infectious and as an ensemble they work as one, yet as individuals their performances have a myriad of elements included. A hip hop version of Into The Woods, essentially, this show brings a modern edge to numerous inter-mingled fairy tales and Katie Prince, Director and Writer should be proud of an outstanding piece.

Everybody deserves credit, however various highlights included the arrival of Fairy Gee, played by Annie Edwards, Spinderella’s solo was also notable, Lucina Wessells who played her was perfectly cast. Duwane Taylor epitomised the Wolf and later on made a hilarious ‘Grandma’. Corey Culverwell as Jaxx displayed skills which rival any dancer I’ve seen, and Andry Oporia showed an engaging presence as both the Landlord and the Ugly Stepmum.

The set was instrumental in setting the scene for the ‘scary’ hood, it was utilised and changes were made as swiftly and sharply as the cast’s moves!

The show stays in Wolverhampton until tonight but you can catch the tour dates if you visit They’re heading to Blackpool next!



Also Recognised Awards 2016 
Shortlists announced as voting opens in second annual  prize-giving for Best Musical Direction and other fields.   Plus new award added for Best Musical Cabaret

MyTheatreMates, founded by Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock, have announced the shortlists in the second annual Also Recognised Awards.  These audience-voted industry accolades celebrate talent in fields often overlooked by other award bodies.  One of the awards is the UK’s first-ever prize for Best Musical Direction.

Voting is now open for all categories at
The Also Recognised Awards were launched last year with ten categories.  In addition to Best Musical Direction, these include six that had been dropped by the WhatsOnStage Awards, founded in 2001 by Paddock with the close involvement of Shenton:
o Best Ensemble Performance o Best Solo Performance o Best Shakespearean Production o Best Original Music o London Newcomer of the Year o Theatre Event of the Year

The Also Recognised Awards also, uniquely, put the spotlight on the creativity of digital marketing and advertising disciplines in theatre with recognition for Best Show Poster, Best Show Trailer and Best Twitter Engagement.   By popular demand, a new category has been added in 2016 for Best Musical Cabaret.  This field is dominated by two relatively new London venues that are fast becoming major destinations for cabaret lovers: the Studio at The St. James Theatre and Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zedel.

Nominations for the Also Recognised Awards have been drawn up by Shenton and Paddock, with input from Andrew Keates and Mike Dixon (the industry lobbyists who have been the driving force behind establishing creative parity for Musical Direction) and other members of the My Theatre Mates collective of independent theatre bloggers and commentators.  Voting for the winners continues until Friday 25th March 2016.  Results will be announced in early April.

MyTheatreMates invites suggestions for other new award fields not already covered elsewhere.  Recommendations with sufficient merit and industry backing will be introduced in future years.

Digital hub MyTheatreMates takes its name from the Ma in Mark and the Te in Terri.  In addition to hosting the Also Recognised Awards, it collates the best content from the individual sites of the founders and other independent bloggers. Regular contributors to My Theatre Mates include: Libby Purves, Jonathan Baz, Johnny Fox, Thom Dibdin, Edward Seckerson, Aleks Sierz, Susan Elkin, Chris Grady, Caroline Hanks-Farmer, Katharine Kavanagh, Laura Kressly, Matt Merritt, Kristy Stott, Helen McWilliams, Andrew Wright, Iestyn Edwards, Victoria Sadler and the As Yet Unnamed London Theatre Podcast. For more information on each, please visit

Mark Shenton 
Mark Shenton is one of the UK’s leading theatre critics and correspondents, whose regular credits include and The Stage, where he is associate editor and joint chief critic. He is also chair of the drama section of the Critics’ Circle, and hosts the annual Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, held at the Prince of Wales Theatre in January. He blogs independently at

Terri Paddock 
Terri Paddock founded and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. She now acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant
for theatres, producers and other clients. In addition to running MyTheatreMates, she recently launched, a pioneering social media directory for musical theatre. She is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent and the Times. She blogs independently at
And the nominees are…  found via this link:

Spotlight On… Carol Royle

Carol Royle is well known for acting on stage and on screen, she’s been in television shows such as Life Without George, Heartbeat and Doctors. At the moment she can be found portraying Huntington’s Disease sufferer, Emilie in BBC’s Casualty. As the estranged mother of Cal and Ethan she’s created quite a stir as fans of the series are so bowled over by her performance, they’re asking if she truly suffers from the condition. I caught up with Carol to ask her about this challenging role among other things.

Hi Carol, thank you for talking to Break A Leg Review, you’ve made a huge impact with your role as Emilie in Casualty, what level of research did you carry out in advance of filming the part and what was your initial reaction to taking on this challenge?

I was incredibly flattered to be offered the role, it’s quite a responsibility. I’m fond of research, and then I like to “jump off the diving board into the dark sea”. I used Google and Youtube to research, I came to know some of the people on Youtube and that was heart breaking. I had a meeting with the BBC ‘gang’ to Skype a Huntington’s advisor in Liverpool to find a level as everyone with the condition is different. We went to a Care Home and met with a Nurse, Michael Wooldridge who introduced us to people who suffer with Huntington’s. While on set at the BBC there was a Huntington’s Advisor present who helped with movement, for example a through movement.

Does portraying the character of Emilie affect you after filming is finished?

Yes, I find it exhausting, I understand how people with Huntington’s need 6000 calories a day. Playing the part is like patting head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. I don’t do method acting, however I drenched myself in this, prior to filming as well as during. I find I have to consciously stop myself from doing the movements of the character.

What has your overall experience of Casualty been like? 

I’ve done a couple of other episodes over the past 30 years and yes, it’s a show I’d like to work on permanently as they are such lovely people to work with. It has been such a good experience and I miss my boys (George Rainsford and Richard Winsor). The storyline has struck a chord because of the people I’ve met and how involved I was with the research. I feel it was an important and enlightening part.

You’ve enjoyed a long and varied career, do you have a preference between acting on stage and acting on screen?

They’re different, what they both have in common is the truth and integrity. I love both, I love theatre due to the live element and I love television due to the smallness and the subtlety.

In 2014 you were cast as Linda in the tour of Last of the Duty Free, what was it like to step into Joanna Van Gyseghem’s shoes as the only replacement member of the original foursome?

I went into it very naively, but once rehearsals started I sensed fear from those around me as I wasn’t ‘their Joanna’. However, soon I became ‘their Carol’. It was a shame the tour was cancelled, but I made great friends who I keep in touch with.

In your career so far, who have you most enjoyed working with and why?

That’s difficult because in everything I do, I make friends, apart from in one or two jobs. I worked with Dennis Potter on Black Eyes, he wrote, directed and edited it, and it was a fantastic experience. Having the Writer and Director as the same person was good. The working process was one of the best.

When you first started acting, what ambitions did you have and do you feel you’ve achieved them?

I wanted to have a go at everything and I’ve managed to do a lot of theatre and telly. I’ve also managed to keep working while raising two children. I may have compromised my working life as I wouldn’t go away from home for a job, but staying at home was important to me. I haven’t done any films and I fear it’s too late. My ambition now is to keep working and to play interesting roles.

Have you any advice for individuals wishing to go into an acting career?

If you’ve got to do it, you’ll do it and nobody will talk you out of it. It would be wise to go to drama school and also remember to keep strong in the face of adversity. If you get rebuffed, retain your confidence, don’t allow anyone to put you down, retain your self-esteem.

Favourite things (give me your first reaction to these questions):

Favourite way to relax?

Watching a film with my daughter.

Favourite theatre?

Theatre Royal, Bath.

Favourite film?

Old film – Bringing Up Baby.

Modern Film – The Matrix.

Favourite food?

Spaghetti bolognaise made with beans and lentils (I’m a vegetarian) and gluten free pasta.

Favourite hobby?

Reading, interior design is a close second!











Single Spies ~ Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Alan Bennett is a playwright that most are familiar with, if not for his plays then certainly for his films (which started as stage productions), History Boys and Lady in the Van. From my personal point of view, he never fails to astound with the topics he chooses to pursue and this particular piece pushes the boundaries, further.

There are two individual spy stories relayed, each one covering a myriad of emotions, heart-breaking with cringe-worthy moments which combine to create the humour. Bennett is an honest story teller who excels in finding the sublime in the ridiculous. An Englishman Abroad (previously a television move) has Guy Burgess as the central character, played by Nicholas Farrell who connected with the character on many levels. Burgess was a British radio producer who died in 1963, he was a member of the Cambridge Spy Ring that passed secrets to and from the Soviets before and during the Cold War.

Belinda Lang plays Coral Browne who was an Australia-American actress and who met Burgess in 1958. Lang plays her with a great deal of humour, grace and intelligence. The chemistry between Lang and Farrell is notable and the set embodies the piece, too.

A Question of Attribution which was also a television movie follows Sir Anthony Blunt who was an art historian but also a member of the Cambridge Five. David Robb plays Sir Anthony, his performance is witty and yet incredibly moving. Blunt is under scrutiny from Chubb (Farrell) and the dialogue moves backwards and forwards between them seamlessly. However, once Her Majesty the Queen joins the equation while Sir Anthony is at Buckingham Palace on a painting swapping exercise, there is a shift in the story. Lang’s portrayal of Her Majesty The Queen rivals that of Dame Helen Mirren’s. The interaction from there became more engaging due to the introduction of such a well known figure. The set for this particular piece was glorious, as one would imagine, the length and depth of the stage at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre lends itself to the grandeur Buckingham Palace.

This is Bennett at his best, observational, whimsical and deeply moving. It’s brilliantly cast and I am including the supporting cast in that. Single Spies stays at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre until Saturday 27th February and with a full house on the evening that I was fortunate enough to be present, this could be a sell out!

Visit for more information and to book tickets.

Photograph credits: Alastair Muir

The Legend of King Arthur Press Release

A guaranteed ‘knight’ of good fun with Oddsocks!
Oddsocks are back with their ambitious new re-telling of classic English tale of ‘The Legend of King Arthur’. Expect vibrant characters, live music and laughter-a-plenty in their national tour, which begins in November 2015.
Telling the story of one of the most intriguing and fascinating English legends is an exciting project for Derby-based Oddsocks Productions. After the success of their last winter tour ‘The Wind in the Willows’ this winter sees Oddsocks turn their exceptionally funny hands to the gripping adventures of the Knights of the Round Table.
Oddsocks Productions was set up 26 years ago by Andy Barrow and Elli Mackenzie and is a critically acclaimed nationally touring theatre company who take classic texts and create bold, challenging, innovative and interactive theatre to be enjoyed by all. Twice a year they tour nationally indoors and outdoors, taking their work out to diverse communities across the UK.
Elli Mackenzie, the writer of their latest tale and playing the wicked Morgan Le Fey in the production, describes why King Arthur is relevant to audiences today: “The traditional story says that Arthur is waiting to return and save Britain when Britain needs him but ultimately, I think Arthur stands for hope. I think Britain needs a bit of hope at the moment. There’s a lot of depressing news about the country and I hope the story shows that if you have a code of conduct, ethics and values, like Arthur learns, then we can’t go wrong we can only go forward.”    As well as touring nationally, Oddsocks also run their Open Doors scheme which aims to reach out to disadvantaged groups and engage, inspire and entertain them live theatre. Since November 2014 they’ve been working with national family support charity Home-Start to provide unique theatre experiences for disadvantaged local families.
Elli continues to describe why ‘The Legend of King Arthur’ is such an exciting story to share: “King Arthur has it all! It has a hero, it has love, dragons, fights, glory, history, humour, poignancy…it’s got everything!”
You can find out more about Oddsocks Productions by visiting their website

Here’s an interview with Elli Mackenzie, Oddsocks Producer and taking the role of Morgan Le Fey (this interview was provided by Oddsocks) :

Can you tell me a bit about Oddsocks?

We’re a family-run touring theatre company based in Derby, we tour twice a year to venues all over the UK and Channel Islands with our comedy adaptation of classic stories and plays.
You’ve been going for 26 years this year – why have Oddsocks stood the test of time?

I think it’s because we’ve grown with our audience; we still have people who’ve seen us for the entire 26 years but we’re also now entertaining their children and grandchildren. We have a real familiarity and loyalty to and from our audiences. We also change our actors they bring fresh ideas to the table. Andy and I have our own sense of humour but we work with young actors with different comedy influences, they bring a fresh approach and we’re so inclusive to their ideas. We continue to grow and change whilst maintaining our core purpose and I think that’s the secret to longevity of entertainment.

So you’ve written and are performing in King Arthur? How do those roles interlink?

They interlink well because I write what I’m going to perform! Although, I’ve found that the hardest element – writing for myself – but it shortens both processes. Writing as an actor means I have a feel for what is going to work o nstage. So, from my experience as an actor informs my writing. Also, it shortens the process as an actor because I’m so familiar with it. It helps me learn my lines!

How did you go about writing the adaptation?

For me, I always start by writing characters. I’m lucky because Andy approaches things from a plot perspective so he can help to ask all the difficult questions that need asking. So, when I actually listen to him and get the plot written, the characters are already fleshed out and familiar! It has to appeal to such a wide audience and so telling the right story is really important.

What makes King Arthur such an exciting story to share?

King Arthur has it all! It has a hero, it has love, dragons, fights, glory, history, humour, poignancy…it’s got everything!
What are you most looking forward to about the tour?

Not having to decide what to make for tea for my children! I enjoy the technical side of theatre, the fresh reactions to jokes, getting excited backstage waiting for a big moment that you know is a success. I just love working in theatres, I feel at home there.
It’s such an iconic story – are you daunted by that?

Daunted in as much as you can spend years and years studying everything to do with King Arthur. So, I had to realise is that King Arthur is a legend and didn’t necessarily exist! I’m aware there may be some King Arthur purists who come along, just like our Shakespeare shows, but there will be enough that’s recognizable. There’s some really classic themes and characters that remain throughout, regardless of what version you read. In between the iconic scenes like the sword in the stone and Excalibur there’s free rein to have fun!

Why have you chosen to adapt King Arthur? Do you think it’s got a message for audiences today? 
Our version definitely has. The traditional story says that Arthur is waiting to return and save Britain when Britain needs him but ultimately, I think Arthur stands for hope. I think Britain needs a bit of hope at the moment. There’s a lot of depressing news about the country and I hope the story shows that if you have a code of conduct, ethics and values, like Arthur learns, then we can’t go wrong we can only go forward.

The Legend of King Arthur tours from 26th November 2015.  For full tour dates visit


Spotlight On… Sarah Pinborough

It seems far too long since an author was put under the spotlight. With some fantastic novels to her name as well as career progression in screen writing, Sarah Pinborough seemed the obvious choice to approach.

So, without further ado…

Obvious question, but what drew you to writing? Were you inspired to follow this career from a young age?

I don’t think writers are really drawn to writing as such. Storytellers are just born that way and will find ways to tell stories, whether as novelists, screenwriters or directors etc. I don’t really think that storytellers have a choice – even if it always remains a hobby rather than a career. I did write stories from a very young age and then wrote school plays and that sort of thing, but only when it was about thirty did I start taking it seriously as a potential career.

Has your preference of genre as a writer changed over the years?

I started out writing straight horror novels for the first few years of my career, primarily because I’d loved Stephen King and James Herbert novels when I was growing up. I quickly found the genre restrictive and I’ve been quite ‘genre fluid’ since then. I’ve written historical fiction with a dash of horror, dystopian romance, YA fantasy, thrillers, a sci-fi dystopian crime trilogy re-telling Paradise Lost, and also I’ve retold fairy tales in a dark and sexy way. There’s probably more too! At the moment I’m very much into writing thrillers.

Who inspires you as a writer? Do you feel any authors influence your work in any way?

Any book I read and love inspires me and influences me in lots of ways – reminding my why I love stories is always up there. It’s hard to make a list because you tend to only reference the books you grew up loving rather than more recent discoveries – like talking about albums rather than singles (giving my age away there!) and I’ve stopped doing it because I give out the same names over and over, and actually forget to mention the newer books I’ve read and loved that have left me energised to work and raise my game.

Where does the inspiration for your work come from?

Everywhere and anywhere. As you write more you learn to look for stories in things and then jotted down half-ideas begin to mesh together to form a whole new idea that you weren’t expecting. Like most people I save online news pages that get my interest into folders on my computer and then scroll through them. Sometimes an idea just arrives – normally in the middle of the night.

You’ve written for New Tricks and you’re progressing your career in the direction of film and television, so how does that compare to writing novels and novellas and is the transition an easy one?

It’s a completely different skill set and way of story telling and one I respect more and more the longer I work in the TV/Filmworld. Structure is far more important in screenwriting and there is no space for any ‘flabbiness’ like you can have in a book. Every scene has to move the story forward in some way and of course there’s no internal monologues! Also, it’s far more collaborative in that even before you start on the script, you’ve had a lot of people’s input into the treatment, especially in TV. In film odds are on you’re writing your initial script on spec and then once you’ve sold that you get the other opinions, like script editors, producers etc. I really enjoy it though and I like the learning curve. It’s a hard business to get into though. I would probably advice a writer trying to break into television to write a spec pilot episode or film of their idea before even approaching agents or producers.

I particularly enjoyed Death House, how long ago did that story idea formulate and was it always destined to be a full length novel?

Thank you! The idea for the book came from a short story I’d written a few years ago called Snow Angels which was a supernatural story but had some of the same characters (although with different names) and a similar set up – sick children in a strange futuristic boarding house. Once I’d finished the story I knew I’d want to revisit those kids again and so when I had a chance and space in my schedule, I did. I tend to only write short stories these days if they can be a playground for a novel. I’m not a natural short story writer.

Can you tell me anything about Behind Her Eyes? Is there a launch date, yet?

I’m very excited about Behind Her Eyes. It’s out in February (ish) 2017 in both the UK and the US and we’ve sold it to nearly 20 territories worldwide thus far. It’s a thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and Girl on a Train in that it’s domestic and doesn’t have any police involvement etc, and it does have some slight supernatural moments. I’m really proud of it. It’s about obsessions and addictions really.

 Any particular ambitions for the future?

Oh, there are always new ambitions! I’d like to write more TV and film stuff – and see more of it made. To see a book on the bestsellers lists – a writer’s usual ambitions!

Favourite Things (give me your first reaction to these questions):

Favourite television programme?

Too many to mention…

Favourite actor and/or actress?

Michael Caine/Marilyn Monroe

Favourite time of year?


Favourite place to write?


Favourite way to spend your time off?

Watching movies and thinking about writing.

Sarah’s website link is here:









Skating spectacular takes audiences to four far-away lands in one action-packed ice adventure Tickets for the UK tour go on sale 20th November
Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they commemorate 25 years of Disney On Ice across Europe in an action-packed ice adventure that travels to four magical destinations!

Disney On Ice presents Silver Anniversary Celebration will take audiences on a fun-filled tour, visiting seven cities across the UK from 16th March to 15th May. Tickets go on sale on the 20th November at  Disney On Ice invites you to embark on the ultimate sightseeing holiday with all your favourite Disney characters. Join tour guides Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck as they visit the magical worlds of Disney’s The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan. You’ll also be whisked away to the wintery wonderland of the number one animated feature film of all-time, Disney’s Frozen.  Told through an international team of award-winning skaters, breathtaking choreography and a musical score filled with familiar Disney hits and rockand-roll classics, the whole family is sure to experience a captivating journey to far-away lands without ever leaving their seats!
The arena will be filled with music and magic in every scene as you discover four unique landscapes filled with boisterous pirates, Caribbean beats and loving moments. Audiences will explore the African Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; voyage deep under the sea to Ariel’s mystical underwater kingdom; and tour London with Peter Pan and Wendy before flying to Neverland to join Tinker Bell and the lost boys.  If that wasn’t enough, you’ll then travel to Arendelle for an extraordinary adventure with royal sisters Anna and Elsa, rugged mountain man Kristoff and everyone’s favorite huggable snowman, Olaf.

“It’s an extraordinary show and a family vacation all rolled into one incredible night,” says Producer Kenneth Feld. “You really get a sense you are traveling right alongside Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and their friends. We can’t wait for the UK audience to celebrate the Silver Anniversary of Disney On Ice with us! ”

Visit for details and to book tickets!

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