El Tel hails pen pal be­hind telly de­tec­tive

Foot­ball boss pays trib­ute to Scot­tish writer Hard times for Cock­ney ‘tec Hazell

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - Exclusive -

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.


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