Jamie Rix is a children’s author, an animation writer and director, and a producer of television comedy.
Born and raised in London – the son of Brian Rix and Elspet Gray – Jamie had a fabulous childhood in a house that overlooked Richmond Park. He shared a large fat Labrador with his brother and sisters – that’s shared as in ‘looked after’, not ‘consumed’ – and fought with them on an habitual basis much to his mother’s consternation, but, latterly, his publisher’s delight. A lot of the rivalry that existed between his younger brother, Jonty, and older sister, Louisa, has been used to fuel the fevered imagination of Alistair Fury.
Jamie went to three schools. The Frobel Institute when he was very young, Tower House when he was a bit bigger, and St Paul’s when he was as big as he was ever going to get. Never a scholarship boy, he loved rugby and cricket and even eschewed these for more important pursuits, such as girlfriends.
There was an English teacher at Tower House called Mr Townsend, who showed him what fun there could be in telling stories. He let Jamie write what he liked. So Jamie wrote about severed limbs, decapitated heads and blood – gallons of the stuff. Then Mr Townsend made Jamie stand up and read his story out loud. It taught Jamie to keep his stories short, funny and full of gore. Now we know who to blame!
After school he went to the University of Kent where he read English and Drama. This gave him time to write plays and party. Both of which he did to excess. Talking of which, he met his wife at Canterbury – Helen Middleton Murry, granddaughter of literary critic John Middleton Murry and daughter of Science Fiction author Richard Cowper. They were married in 1980. Helen worked as a secretary at the BBC and Jamie struggled to make a living as an ASM at the Royal Court Theatre while harbouring designs to direct. Still young and penniless, they then had children. Two things followed the birth of Ben and Jack…
The first was that Jamie discovered he could write children’s stories. The first story he ever wrote was called The Spaghetti Man. His eldest son, Ben, was just four and refused to eat whatever had been cooked for dinner. On holiday in France, the family drove past a shop that sold pasta. “If you don’t eat your food tonight,” Jamie said to Ben, “I shall bring you back to the pasta factory tonight and the spaghetti man will turn you into lasagne. Then we’ll eat you tomorrow for lunch.” That night, Ben ate everything on his plate. Nothing Jamie had done before prepared him for the thrill of watching children believe his stories. He never knew lying could be so much fun!
Jamie has published over forty titles now, ranging from picture books and first readers to novels and books of short stories. Two elements link all of his stories – comedy, and a love of the grotesque. His titles include The Incredible Luck of Alfie Pluck, The Revenge Files of Alistair Fury (six volumes), Johnny Casanova – the unstoppable sex machine, The Changing Face of Johnny Casanova, The Dreaded Lurgie, A Stitch In Time, Free The Whales, One Hot Penguin, Mr Mumble’s Fabulous Flybrows, The Vile Smile, The Last Chocolate Biscuit, Looking After Murphy and Giddy Goat – and his highly successful series of cautionary tales, Grizzly Tales (8 volumes) and the original books Grizzly Tales For Gruesome Kids (Smarties Prize winner), Fearsome Tales For Fiendish Kids, Ghostly Tales For Ghastly Kids and More Grizzly Tales For Gruesome Kids, which form the basis for the award-winning animated television series originally on CiTV and now showing daily on Nicktoons.
TV PRODUCER & ANIMATION WRITER/DIRECTOR
The second was that Jamie got a job as a BBC Light Entertainment Radio producer, where he was responsible for such shows as The Michael Bentine Show, Weekending, and The History of Rock. Two Sony Awards and the Premios Ondas Award followed for his work on In One Ear and Radio Active.
During this time he also won the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival with Writer’s Inc.
In 1986 he moved into television – producing, directing and writing for all the major British broadcasters on a wide range of programming – Smith & Jones was nominated for a BAFTA, Faith In The Future won a British Comedy Award and KYTV was awarded the Silver Rose of Montreux in 1992. He has since worked with Harry Hill, Jerry Sadowitz, Paul Merton, and as the producer of My Hero for BBC1. He is currently producing the Lee Mack and Tim Vine comedy, Not Going Out which is shown in a prime-time slot on BBC1.
In the early 1990’s he set up his own Independent Production company with Nigel Planer, which still makes comedies, dramas and animated programmes, largely based on his own books. As an animation writer and director he has not only written and produced Grizzly Tales For Gruesome Kids, Animal School for the BBC, and Willo The Wisp for Disney, but he has also written episodes of Dusty and Musty for Hit Entertainment, and two feature films for Little Brother Productions; www.fatherchristmas.con and Dr Diabolo’s Night Marys. He created, wrote and produced the thirteen part live action comedy, The Revenge Files of Alistair Fury which won the BAFTA for Best Children’s Drama in 2008, and is working on an animated series of Alistair Fury and a feature adaptation of The Incredible Luck of Alfie Pluck.
Jamie is still happily married to Helen. They live in South London with a boxer dog and two foxes under their garden shed. And yes, the boxer is a surrogate child, because their children have left home.
JAMIE RIX – CV
LITTLE BROTHER PRODUCTIONS
Nigel Planer and Jamie Rix came together in 1994 to form their first production company, Elephant Productions. They had come from similar backgrounds. Both had been involved in the world of TV comedy, Nigel as a performer and writer, Jamie as a producer and writer; and both wrote fiction, Nigel for adults and Jamie for children. It seemed a natural union.
Elephant Productions enjoyed great success producing comedies and animated shows largely written and conceived by Jamie and Nigel – Let’s Get Divorced with Jonathan and Libby Hughes, The Magic Roundabout documentary, Willo The Wisp, Animal School, Popskool and the multi-award winning Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids. In 2006, to complement the theme of its first drama commission, The Revenge Files of Alistair Fury for CBBC, the company changed its name to Little Brother Productions. And in 2010, after Alistair Fury had won best Children’s Drama at the BAFTA Awards, Ben Rix joined them with a specific brief to develop drama projects written by new and emerging writers. This development process is ongoing with the company funding Little Brother’s Big Opportunity, an award scheme designed to give talented writers a start on television. The company is developing a new comedy with BBC Radio 4 and its ambition to produce feature films remains undiminished. It has three projects in development.