El Tel hails pen pal behind telly detective
Football boss pays tribute to Scottish writer Hard times for Cockney ‘tec Hazell
Scots actor Roddy McMillan as Detective Inspector “Choc” The former England football Minty. The theme tune was sung manager paid tribute after by another Scot, Maggie Bell. Gordon Williams – who was on Venables said: “Gordon would the shortlist for the first Booker play up to the image of a Prize – died last week aged 83. stoney- faced Scot but he also
A talented novelist, Williams had a wicked sense of humour” also wrote biographies of stars Venables said. including clarinettist Acker Bilk “The only time he questioned and footballer Bobby Moore. my football career was when I
He also penned The Siege of was appointed as the manager of Trencher’s farm which legendary England. film director Sam Peckinpah “Being a Scot, and a turned into the box office football fan, he gave me smash Straw Dogs. plenty of stick for that.”
Ho w e v e r, one of Williams worked as a Williams’ biggest junior reporter with the successes came when Johnstone Advertiser and he teamed up with Paisley Pictorial before Venables, nicknamed entering national service El Tel during a stint with the RAF in 1952. managing Barcelona, to His loathing of the Air co-write t h e Ha z e l l Ministry, and a paranoid novels in the 1970s. Gordon group captain, inspired
“I first got friendly with Williams. his 1966 novel The Camp. Gordon when I was After the R A F, he playing for Queens Park Rangers returned to journalism and and he used to come along as a started ghost writing for Scottish supporter,” Venables, who now footballing hero Denis Law and runs La Escondida hotel near World Cup- winning England Alicante, Spain, told the Sunday captain Bobby Moore. Post. One of his bitter-sweet memo
“One day we got talking about ries was the time he turned down doing some writing together and an approach to scriptp hit the next thing we were working movie Gregory’sy’s Girl. on some books. Williams’ oncence wrote:
“After I finished training at “When silver-r- tongued lunchtime I used to go over to his film d i re c t o r Bill office in London and we would Forsyth suggestedggested spend the afternoon dreaming that I might script up stories and that is how Hazell some worthyy little came about. comedy aboutout a
“We were delighted when it got Glasgow girl foot-footpicked up by TV and it became baller for amateurmateur really popular when it was shown actors, I putt it as on a Monday night.” tactfully as possibleossible
Their three novels, published that I had bigger under the pen name P. B Yuill, fish to fry.” were later made into a popular Williams ii ss ITV show starring Nicholas Ball survived by his wife as wise-cracking cockney private Claerwen Jeann Jones, eye James Hazell. who he marriedarried in
Two popular ser i es were 1964, his childrendren Harriet, screened in 1978 and 1979 with Jessica and Samuel, and the 22 episodes also starring three grandchildren.hildren. HAZELL PLAYS SOLOMON, the first of three thrillers starring the Cockney detective and written by Williams and Venables, was published in 1974. They appeared under the pen name P.B Yuill, but the pair couldn’t resist giving themselves a mention. Early on, Hazell pays tribute to Gordon Gregory, of legal firm Venables, Venables, Williams and Gregory, who helped him get back on his feet when he hit hard times after leaving the Met. He continues: OF the dribs and drabs, I earned in my roughest months not a lot managed to reach my mouth. Even after I stopped boosting the gin trade I still found myself boracic. One hand picked up the few quid I was copping, the other pushed it straight at the restless creditors. I was only the middle-man. The money and I barely had time to say hullo and goodboye. Boracic lint – skint. The old rhyming slang. NicholasNic Ball and Barbara Young in the 1970s showsho Hazell about a cocky Cockney detective. It sounds colourful but the reality was murky grey. I was a young ex-copper, which made me sound bent, a newly-cured gin disposal unit, which made me sound medical, and nobody rushes to hire an enquiry agent (self-appointed) who isn’t working as an undercover behind a Soho bar but just working there, full-stop.
Temporary barman, temporary van driver (until they brought out the party balloon and I lost the licence) and temporary dance hall bouncer were just some of the careers I toyed with while my head was spinning and my elbow bending.
Then came Gordon.