A very large number of people helped me with this book. Most of them work in television and are exceptionally busy. They still found the time to talk to me and — particularly in the case of those from HTV — to entertain me with lavishness and generosity. All of them are experts in their own field. But as I was writing fiction, I only took their advice so far as it fitted my plot. The accuracy of the book in no way reflects their expertise. They were also all so nice to me that it was impossible to base any of the unpleasant characters in the story on any of them.
They include Georgina Abrahams, Rita Angel, William Beloe, Michael Blakstad, Roy Bottomley, James Bredin, Adrian Brenard, Doug Carnegie, Stephen Cole, John Corbett, Jenny Crick, Mike Davey, Geoff Druett, Ron Evans, Su Evans, James Gatward, David Glencross, Stuart Hall, Nick Handel, Tom Hartman, Barbara Hazell, Stan Hazell, Paul Heiney, Bruce Hockin, Alison Holloway, Patricia Houlihan, Bryan Izzard, Philip Jones, Barbara Kelly, Susan Kyle, Maurice Leonard, Barrie MacDonald, Billy Macqueen, George McWatters, Steve Matthews, Lesley Morgan, Malcolm Morris, Jack Patterson, Bob Simmons, Tom Walsh, Ann de Winton, Richard Whitely, Ron Wordley and Richard Wyatt.
Tragically, dear Eamonn Andrews, with whom I was privileged to work for four series on ‘What’s My Line?’, died in November, after the book was finished. His utter integrity, professionalism and gentle humour were a constant source of inspiration while I was writing it.
I should also like to thank the crews, the drivers, the make-up girls and the wardrobe staff with whom I worked over the years, who came up with endless suggestions.
I must thank the people who wrote three books which were invaluable to me in understanding the extraordinarily complicated process by which television franchises are awarded. They are Walter Butler, author of
I am also eternally grateful to Peter Cadbury, former Chairman of Westward Television, for giving me access to his autobiography which unaccountably has never been published, to Robin Currie, of the Fire and Rescue Service HQ, Cheltenham, to Toni Westall, secretary to Captain Brian Walpole, General Manager, Concorde, and to Tim and Primrose Unwin for inviting me to some excellent hunt balls.
In addition I need to thank my Bank Manager, Keith Henderson, my publishers, Paul Scherer, Mark Barty-King and Alan Earney and all their staff at Bantam Press and Corgi, and my agent Desmond Elliott, for their faith and continued encouragement.
Three brave ladies, Beryl Hill, Sue Moore and Geraldine Kilgannon, deserve thanks and praise for deciphering my ghastly handwriting and typing several chapters of the manuscript; so does my cleaner, Ann Mills, for mucking out my study once a fortnight.
Finally, once again there are no words adequate to thank Leo, my husband, my children, Felix and Emily, and my secretary, Annalise Kay, whom I regard as one of the family, and who typed ninety per cent of the manuscript. Their collective good cheer, unselfishness and comfort over the past eighteen months knew no bounds.
‘Last Christmas’ by George Michael reprinted by kind permission of Morrison and Leahy Music.
‘The Lady in Red’ by Chris de Burgh reprinted by kind permission of Rondor Music (London) Limited.
‘I Get a Kick Out of You’. Words and music by Cole Porter © 1934 Harms Incorporated. Reproduced by permission of Chappell Music Limited, © 1934 Warner Bros. Incorporated. (Renewed). All rights reserved. Used by permission.
‘We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off’ by Narada Michael Walden and Preston Glass © 1986. Reprinted by kind permission of Carlin Music Corporation and Island Music, UK; Mighty Three Music Group and Gratitude Sky Music, USA; MCA/Gilbey and Rondor Music, Australia.
CHARACTERS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
Head of News and Current Affairs, BBC.
Sales Director, Corinium Television.
A member of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), late of the White Fish Authority.
A comely but bolshie nanny working for the Verekers.
A franchise expert. Late of the IBA.
MR AND MRS BODKIN
Rupert Campbell-Black’s couple.
Chairman of Mid-West Television.
Bishop of Cotchester.
Chairman and Managing Director, Corinium Television.
His elder son.
Tony’s illegitimate brother, ace polo player, and owner of the Bar Sinister in Cotchester High Street.
A news reporter, Corinium Television.
A very beautiful, stupid PA, Corinium Television.