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Cometh the moment...

I am not and never have been a political animal. British politics has always baffled me a little. For some reason - baffling in itself - I have always found US politics easier to follow and of more interest. The West Wing has a lot to answer for. However, this election pending is proving to be a bit of a corker. A friend of mine, currently reporting for the BBC in Scotland, has tweeted me to say that the political debate across the border is of a 'very high standard.' Coming so soon after the dramatic and heated Scottish Referendum, this should come as no surprise. There is a huge appetite for politics in Scotland - for obvious reasons - that the rest of the UK finds hard to emulate. Labour is fighting to survive beyond Hadrian's Wall and the Tories in Scotland are, as usual, on a hiding to nothing. Did I mention the Lib Dems? No real point. The most likely outcome, I am told, will be a Labour/SNP coalition. This possibility, hotly denied by Ed Milliband and offered as a 'given' by Nicola Sturgeon, is a real game changer. - Update - last nights five-way leader's debate firmly underlined this. - All very exciting, not least because of the massive implications this would bring to government at Westminster. It is clear that we may be on the verge of a new and Borgen-like political landscape that previous generations could not have imagined possible.

However, one thing has remained the same over recent years and it is a problem that has only added to the apathy felt by many British voters - where are the country's statesmen and stateswomen? Our political leaders continue to seem lacklustre and passionless. I don't mean the bluster and stutter of political debate as witnessed on tv. I mean the kind of strong, charismatic and intelligent leadership that makes you sit up and listen.- Ed's new relaxed podium manner is a slight improvement - I'm not talking Thatcher - far from it - but there has to be a better presentation of issues and a more articulate guide to possible answers than is offered by the party bound and image conscious politicians of the present day. Rehearsed and imposed style over content has reigned for too long. The party debates thus far have thrown up only one leader who has shown anything like these qualities. Nicola Sturgeon, admittedly free of the fear of massive losses and with much to gain, has been the only politician so far to make me listen. I, of course, can't vote for her. However, were she the leader of the political party I happen have the most sympathy for and set about promoting its policies with the same passion, I would very likely vote for Sturgeon. I know the SNP sums still don't convincingly add up and many commentators are still to be convinced about the SNP's policies as regards the longer term, but Sturgeon seems statesman-like in a way that other party leaders do not. I wish my party had a Sturgeon. Cometh the moment...cometh the woman.


Doc Poldark

Poldark has sprung into Spring and it seems to be a hit. Well Aidan Turner has certainly hit the spot with many a female viewer and at least two chaps I've spoken to. It's not just his extraordinary good looks that have led to this response, it is his performance as well. Having spent quite a lot of time with him last summer, I can tell you he certainly put in the work. Being top dog on a long shoot means that you are hardly ever off camera. It takes a huge amount of mental concentration and physical fitness to survive the seemingly unending schedule of dawn starts and night wraps. To deliver a performance of substance on top of all that, is quite an achievement. Aidan excelled in all those areas, whilst proving a charming, generous and thoroughly entertaining colleague to boot - 18th Century boot, of course. He deserves all the praise he has received so far and the accolades that will surely follow. 

In between swooning over Ross Poldark, a few close relatives of mine noticed a bewigged, grumpy codger that looked a bit like me. They were correct. Dr Thomas Choake - the local curmudgeon, barbaric medical practitioner and wealthy investor - was certainly fun to play. Several people on social media have already nicknamed him 'Doc Poldark', which I hope is a compliment. Debbie Horsfield's terrific adaptation brought to life the world of Winston Graham and its myriad characters with great skill,detail and humour, and I was very happy to be in the mix. As my old mate, the dearly missed Warren Clarke, pointed out on set one day, 'Isn't it nice. We've got two Aarh's, a joint grimace and an Hurrumph this morning and then it's lunch.' Happy days under blue Cornish skies.


Poldark and Peter James

Had a lovely time filming in Charlestown Harbour last week for Poldark. Production and design pulled out all the stops and it all looked very impressive. Back down this week to the far end of the Cornish peninsula for our first dealings with a mine. Never been further than Padstow, so am looking forward to Penzance and Land's End tremendously.

A wonderful turn out for the terrrific and prolific Peter James and his new crime thriller - the superb 'Want You Dead' - at its launch in Brighton last week. He gave a great speech and we chatted in earnest about the upcoming production of his 'The Perfect Murder', which begins in September. The play is based on his novella and in places is quite different to the original story. Writer Shaun Mckenna has done a very fine job of adapting it for the stage and it now includes a character very dear to the hearts of Peter's fans - Roy Grace. 

I play a slimey IT manager called Victor Smiley and my old chum Dawn Steele plays my wife and sparring partner, Joan. Josh Andrews is producing and Ian Talbot directs. 

In the meantime, I'm hoping to get across to Gibraltar for a few days research - it's a tough job etc - for my third Sullivan and Broderick crime novel, Drowning Rock. 

That's it for June. I'm putting the kettle on.


New Novel

The first draft of the new Sullivan and Broderick murder mystery, Poisoned Rock, is completed. Now begins the long and challenging process of editing and refining. There is also some exciting news regarding my Royal Gibraltar Police Force detectives and their exploits. Can't say anymore at present - chews desk in frustration - but will announce it as soon as I can.

It's been great fun working on the new novel and revisiting the RGP team and the Rock. I've also introduced two new characters who will appear in the S and B series, but also spin off into their own stories.

The support I've had from my friends in Gibraltar has been fantastic and I'm hugely grateful. I am presently gearing up for another visit to Gib in order to research the next novel and check out the newly refurbished Rock Hotel.

Hope all is well with you and that the sun is shining in your part of the world.



Old News Out Of Control

For those of you who have received an old newsletter from May 2012, apologies. Have no idea how that went out. Nearly two years later, I note the jolly tone of the epistle. Still quite jolly in mood as I write this. As spring approaches I find myself putting finishing touches to a new Sullivan and Broderick Mystery. A murder investigation that has its roots in World War Two espionage operations on the Rock.

Some very exciting news re-The Rock over the last few weeks, which alas, I cannot expand on as yet.

Spent a lovely five day break with Amy and the girls in Spain and Gib over half term and bored them hugely with little research trips for the next book in the series.  

Several nice possibilities on the acting front have arisen. Hope one will excite me artistically and financially enough to make me leave my snug and cosy study.

Can hear the birds in the garden chirping for Spring. Here's hoping the coming season is a good one for all of you.