On the couch...

RTÉ Guide - - Contents -

with Taken Down co-writer and crime nov­el­ist, Jo Spain

Dubliner Jo Spain is a for­mer po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sor in the Dáil. Her rst crime novel, With Our Bless­ing, was a nal­ist in the Richard and Judy Search for a Best­seller. Since then, Jo has pub­lished sev­eral thrillers and her rst TV drama, Taken Down, was on RTÉ One last year. Her new novel, Dirty Lit­tle Se­crets, is out on Fe­bru­ary 7.

What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween writ­ing for tele­vi­sion and writ­ing a novel?

Show­ing, not telling. TV works bet­ter when the story un­folds vis­ually. In a novel, the char­ac­ter’s in­ter­nal mono­logue is of­ten a crit­i­cal part of the sto­ry­telling.

How much TV do you think you watch ev­ery week?

We’ve four kids and very few babysit­ters, so quite a lot. If I’m not work­ing or read­ing, our evenings are spent watch­ing TV.

Who con­trols the re­mote in your house?

For the sake of our mar­riage, we’ve come to a happy medium. My hus­band is a re­mote-hog­ger but the deal is, he has to check in with me, es­pe­cially dur­ing Cham­pi­ons League sea­son.

What are your favourite TV crime shows?

I’ve more than we can t in here, but highlights over the last few years in­clude: The Night Of, for its slick in­tel­li­gence and well-drawn char­ac­ters; The Miss­ing, which was a spec­tac­u­lar who­dunit; Trapped was at­mo­spheric and claus­tro­pho­bic; and River was spell­bind­ingly orig­i­nal.

Are you a “telly on, lap­top on the knees and phone for tweet­ing” over-load kind of per­son?

If a show is good, it gets my full at­ten­tion. If I’m on my phone and com­puter when I’m watch­ing something, that’s a bad sign!

What are your un­miss­able shows right now?

I’m stuck into se­ries two of Mr Mercedes and I re­ally en­joyed Mrs Wil­son. I can­not wait for Luther to start again and sea­son three of The Crown. And I’m ba­si­cally count­ing the sec­onds un­til Game of Thrones’ nal sea­son.

Who would play you in the TV drama of your life?

We never need to worry about this – my life is way too dull for a TV show!

Are there any gen­res of TV you just can’t abide?

I can’t cope with day­time TV. Movies over Christ­mas are ne, or car­toons for the kids, but I only start to watch TV with the Six One News.

What huge wa­ter­cooler show have you not seen?

Break­ing Bad. I tried the rst episode, it did noth­ing for me and life is too short.

What TV drama would you love to write an episode for?

The Deuce. It would in­volve work­ing with David Si­mon and Ge­orge Pele­canos, which for me would be a dream come true. It was one of the best shows in re­cent times, es­pe­cially se­ries two, and I’m dy­ing to see where they take se­ries three. I’d love to write an episode where the women are start­ing to re­alise their power within the show’s male­dom­i­nated world.

The Night Of Mr Mercedes

The Miss­ing Cham­pi­ons League

The Crown

Dirty Lit­tle Se­crets by Jo Spain (Quer­cus) is in book­shops on Fe­bru­ary 7

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