The house in the garden

Nearly finished!

Rix Productions

I expect it will slip under the radar, but this week – tomorrow in fact – a theatrical dynasty is born! My father produced plays in the west End for 27 years under the company name of Rix Productions, and 34 years after the curtain went down on his last production, his grandson, Ben, is producing his first play (You Can Still Make A Killing) under the same nomenclature – Rix Productions. I don’t think I could be more proud.

Last chance to see a production in the spectacular Southwark Playhouse!

020 7407 0234

You Can Still Make a Killing

by Nicholas Pierpan
Directed by Matthew Dunster

10 October – 3 November 2012

Four years on from the collapse of Lehman Brothers and still we find ourselves in crisis. It’s time to work out what’s wrong. It’s time to look at the heart of the system.

You Can Still Make a Killing is the story of the normal men and women who fill the City’s institutions, of a world radically altered when right became wrong, and of the private worlds that fall apart when there are no alternatives in sight.

You Can Still Make a Killing reunites award winning playwright Nicholas Pierpan with director Matthew Dunster following their 2010 collaboration on Pierpan’s The Maddening Rain (Old Red Lion, Soho Theatre), which Metro heralded “an astute and gripping play”★★★★ and the Sunday Times described as “nailing the mania for money that led to the financial collapse”. The cast includes the talents of Kellie Bright (Love and Money, Royal Exchange and Young Vic), Alecky Blythe, who returns to acting following three years as a playwright during which she wrote the award winning London Road (National Theatre) and Robert Gwilym (Love the Sinner, National Theatre).

Cast includes: Kellie Bright, Alecky Blythe, Max Calandrew,Tim Delap, Robert Gwilym, Ben Lee, Claire Lichie, William Mannering, Marianne Oldham, David Partridge and Elexi Walker

Tickets: £10, £14, £18


When I married Helen back in 1980 little did I realise that I would be ruthlessly exploiting her family and their literary acquaintances thirty two years later. I have just finished making Gloomsbury (by Sue Limb) through Little Brother and it starts its run on Radio 4 this Friday. So what’s the connection? Helen’s grandfather was John Middleton Murry, literary critic, husband of Katharine Mansfield and naked wrestler of DH Lawrence, and Gloomsbury is an affectionate parody of the Bloomsbury group, whose arty and adulterous adventures dominated the cultural scene in the early 20th century. Will JMM turn in his grave? Will Helen ever speak to me again? … I expect so.

What the judges say…

Monday, February 06, 2012

“Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids” Delivering Great TV Ratings For NickToons UK

According to this Nickelodeon UK News article on Broadcast about the animated Nickelodeon UK and Ireland show “Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids” winning the Broadcast Award for “Best Children’s Programme” at the recent “Broadcast Awards 2012” ceremony on Thursday 2nd February 2012 at London, UK’s Grosvenor House Hotel, “Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids”, a animated series of cautionary grizzly animated tales for lovers of squeam, guaranteed to spook even the naughtiest kids, with tales of how misbehaving children get their comeuppance, is delivering great ratings for Nickelodeon UK’s animation channel, NickToons UK and Ireland, and is a regular fixture in NickToons’ and/or NickToon Replay’s top 10 rated programmes since “Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids” premiered on Nickelodeon UK and NickToons UK in March 2011:

Best Children’s Programme

Grizzly Tales

Grizzly TV for NickToons and ITV Global Entertainment

The 26 Grizzly Tales try to effect change in kids’ bad behaviour by both amusing and terrifying them – “a brave, raw and original approach”, according to our panel.

The 11-minute tales often stray dangerously close to TV horror for kids but by carefully balancing content and taste, they manage to get the tone pitch perfect.

“It is unusual for children’s TV to produce such daring, funny and outrageous storytelling,” said one judge. “And that deserves to be celebrated.”

However, another judge added that even with its daring approach, it remains “absolutely child-focused.”

Episodes such as Death By Chocolate and Sick To Death sum up the series’ distinctive feel. The latter tells the story of a foul little girl who screams herself sick to get her own way… until, that is, she meets the super-sucking power of the new Shark Deluxe vacuum cleaner, which polishes her off in one guzzling gulp.

Based on the books by Jamie Rix, who also scripts the series, the panel also noted how “the author’s spirit shines right through it”.

Grizzly Tales originally aired on ITV1 and CiTV, where it was one of its highest-rating series. When it unexpectedly came up for grabs, Nickelodeon was quick to make an offer.

The new series was redeveloped in both content and design, with Nickelodeon keen to build on the shows’ edge and dark humour.

Voiced by actor Nigel Planer, mixing 3D and 2D animation, the main body of each episode is produced in Flash by Honeycomb Animation. The panel said that despite the limited budget, the series was “exceptional”.

And it’s proved to be a hit with the target audience, becoming a regular fixture in NickToons’ and/or NickToon Replay’s top 10s since its launch in March.

“Great storytelling made with love” is how one judge summed it up.

Broadcast Awards 2012

Well sod’s law dictates that Grizzly Tales was up for Best Children’s Series at last night’s Broadcast Awards 2012 and because I am out of the country finishing a new book for Harper Collins I could not attend. Neither could Sara or Simon Bor or Nigel Planer… So what happened? We won. First time ever apart from The British Animation Awards back in 2004.

I have always said that Broadcast was my favourite industry paper.

It’s a strange feeling as the author. Fabulous that the show has been recognised as still being ground-breaking after 12 years, and obviously hopeful that it might lead to a further series. But in publishing terms Grizzly Tales has stagnated and I need to find a publishing genius who has the vision to repackage and re-present over one hundred cautionary tales to a modern audience. Call me if you’re out there….

The Children’s Media Conference 2011

On Thursday I have been asked to give a Masterclass to delegates at The Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield. The word Masterclass fills me with dread as like most writers I’m not entirely sure what I’ve done to earn the right to call myself a Master and when I look at the esteemed company I am in that makes me doubt myself even more! But nothing ventured nothing gained. I shall pepper the talk with anecdotes and clips from the shows I’ve written and produced – Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids, The Revenge Files of Alistair Fury and Johnny Casanova the Unstoppable Sex Machine. At least they’ll have something to watch other than me sweating myself to death.

But I am reliably informed that what I’ve done over the last twelve years or so, writing forty or so books and selling the Intellectual Property rights in the most successful of them to my own production company in order to fulfill programme commissions from BBC, ITV, Disney and Nickelodeon is sufficiently rare that people will want to hear how I’ve done it. Or indeed why…

Obviously I am hoping for an audience of thousands but will be happy with twenty. Or am I aiming too high?!

Spymonkey & Grizzly Tales

Twenty years ago I worked with a group of comedians who would meticulously plan their double-bubble breakfasts in the greasy spoon on Coldharbour Lane, but would leave the detail of what was going into their show that night to chance. They were Lee Cornes, Paul Mark Elliott, Mark Arden and Steve Frost, otherwise known as The Wow Show. I tried for years to get them their own show on TV and never quite managed it. We did shoot a pilot in Milton Keynes with Mandie Fletcher and a budget of £200 in which we had to recreate the spirit of Shackleton’s Arctic Wastes with some white floor paint. They were the greatest theatrical comedy act never to be seen on TV. Anyone else remember the first time you saw Paul Mark Elliott coming up on stage as a punter from the audience (having not been in the first 20 minutes of the show) and then being beaten up (apparently for real)  in front of our eyes. Brilliant.

Well now I have seen something that picks up The Wow Show’s mantle, dusts it down and lines it with red silk. Spymonkey have been around for a while but I only saw them for the first time last night. For a comedy troupe who are famous for their physical comedy and getting their kit off, they got their kit off more times than I was expecting. Their spitefulness, subversion and unrelenting childishness made for an evening of such joy that I still can’t get the image of The Good Samaritan and Mother Theresa fighting over the blind, starving cripple out of my head. Their names? Aitor Basauri (crap at English), Stephan Kreiss (anger issues), Petra Massey (so flexible) and Toby Park (weak eyes needs glasses). If you’ve got nothing better to do with two hours. Go and see them.

It may be nothing more than a conspiracy theory that Spymonkey might be teaming up with Jamie Rix to produce a theatre show of Grizzly Tales, I cannot say, but as for The Wow Show. Let’s start a petition to bring them back…

Mr E

Fans of The Revenge Files of Alistair Fury may be interested in this new picture of Mr E that I have just found in the bottom of an old folder.

For those of you who don’t know who Mr E is, I will let Alistair explain.

“Mr E is a pug dog that belonged to my granny before she died. Everyone hates him, which means that he and me have got quite a lot in common, because everyone hates me too. He’s bad tempered, horribly ugly, licks blood, his breath stinks and he wipes his nose on my socks. For some unknown reason, we saved his life. If we hadn’t taken him after granny’s funeral, the man from the restaurant on the motorway would have chopped him up into cheeseburgers, apparently.”

Mr E shows the cat how to skateboard while singing "My Way"