30 Oct 2016

Anthony Horowitz: on TV as a writer’s medium

From Standing Room Only, 1:34 pm on 30 October 2016

British writer Anthony Horowitz is nothing if not versatile.

He's a wildly successful young adult novelist - his Alex Ryder series has sold 19 million copies world-wide.

Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz Photo: Jack Lawson

He's written official sequels to both Sherlock Holmes and James Bond - his Bond book was called Trigger Mortis

And he's created two hugely popular TV series - Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War.

His latest television project - New Blood - brings together a cop and an investigator from the Serious Fraud Office. They're both young, one's half-Iranian and the other half-Polish.

“My first thought was I wanted them to be young, really young, in their 20s because in England that generation is having a pretty difficult time trying to earn a living, trying to get somewhere to live that was the first thought let’s make them really young."

Horowitz says he was aiming for a kind of "bromance" between his two new characters.

“One of the influences is films like Lethal Weapon, even Cagney and Lacey to an extent.

“And we’ve said all along London is the third character in the show and a very strong one.”

Not the tourist London, or the Sherlock Holmes London but London as is really is, says Horowitz.

And why is the Serious fraud Office featured in his latest TV project?

“One of the biggest scandals we have is there is so much white collar crime.

“I’ve talked about how hard it is for young people now, and you’ve got all these people who are hiding behind organisations in pretty much every industry who are raking in great amounts of money and aren’t paying taxes, are on the edge of legality or are actually behaving illegally.”

Horowitz says it’s a David and Goliath battle.

“Against them is this tiny organisation the Serious Fraud Office which is underfunded, undervalued and the people who work for it often take a pay cut to join it and do so out of a sense of justice because they’re crusaders.”

Horowitz is upbeat about contemporary television and the quality being produced.

“Television has become once again a writer’s medium, there are some fantastic shows [being made] and they are very much being authored both here and in America.”

He admires programmes such as Line of Duty, Happy Valley and The Good Wife.

“I would say that actually this is a very good time to be a television writer.

“I’ve heard it said that if you go to America, there is so much material being made at the moment that writers with any experience at all or talent are in huge demand.”

Horowitz says with his latest project he wanted a lighter touch than some of the darker dramas doing the rounds.

“I think we’ve forgotten to have fun on television and just be entertaining and light-hearted and not make you feel you’ve been down in the gutter with your hands covered in dirt and blood.”