Many writers dream of having their books televised. In 2006, the dream came true for a long-time friend of mine, Marjorie Eccles. Her series about Inspector Gil Mayo was brought to the small screen by the BBC, and the popular impressionist Alistair McGowan was cast as Mayo.
But it only lasted for one series. I found the pace and quirky humour of the scripts rather appealing, as did the rest of my family, but it seems that we were in a minority. The series was not, in general, well reviewed, and no further programmes were commissioned. A disappointment.
At the CWA annual conference in Lincoln, I spent some time with Marjorie – in fact, as crime writers are wont to do, we visited a forensic science laboratory together! We talked a bit about Mayo, and I imagined what it must be like to experience the mixed emotions of seeing one’s books televised, and yet to feel that the TV versions of the stories are so different from the originals that they are scarcely recognisable.
Marjorie is an entertaining writer who deserves the success she has achieved. I’m sorry that Mayo did not turn into a long-running series, but I’m glad she had the pleasure of seeing her name on TV credits. She and I share a publisher these days, and she continues to publish very enjoyable mysteries at regular intervals. And to be a very pleasant companion.