Nick Russell-Pavier
AUTHOR

Nick Russell-Pavier

Nick Russell-Pavier is a writer, dramatist, director, TV and film composer and producer. 'The Shepherd's Bush Murders' (published by Penguin Random House - 28 July 2016) I first became interested in the Shepherd's Bush Murders when I stumbled across a black and white ITN archive interview with James Newman, a nine year-old boy. In August 1966 he was standing alone on the corner of Braybrook Street, East Acton, opposite Wormwood Scrubs Park when two cars pulled up a short distance away. He thought a film was being made when he heard a gunshot and saw one man fall to the ground, another chased and shot in the back and a third shot in the car. It was hard to make sense of what he was witnessing. Fifty years later it’s no less difficult to understand what took place without following the journey that took six men to Braybrook Street that day. Some readers of true crime are only interested in the event. They grow impatient and restless if the story ventures into smaller particulars, wider context and provenance. But as the saying goes, the devil is in the detail. Without a clear sense of the nature, preoccupations and motivations of the participants and the times in which they lived, it’s impossible to see how and why, feel the shockwave of events, the mind-set from which they spring and the legacy they leave in their wake. This story is about a crime that shook Britain in the summer of 1966 and had a profound and lasting effect on the way millions of people felt about the changing country in which they lived. It’s the story of how in just a few minutes something was changed forever in the hearts and minds of British people. It’s a story of life and death, personal tragedies and how a series of small steps can lead incrementally to disaster. How 'The Great Train Robbery - Crime of the Century' (Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2013) came to be written. Nick first became fascinated by the enduring folklore surrounding 'The Great Train Robbery' when film producer Stewart Richards sent him a treatment in 2009 for a television drama that he'd been developing with Chris Pickard, a close associate of Ronnie Biggs. The premise was a celebration of the criminals and their crime and reinforced the existing mythology created in previous books and films rather than challenged it. In exploring ways to find new ground Nick read all the books on the subject, began to look in public records and newspaper archives and two things became apparent. First, that all the previous books, films and accounts had significant flaws and failed to tell the whole story. As a result, public perception of the 1963 mail train robbery contained a number of fundamental misconceptions. Second, that the real story was much more interesting but too multi-layered and complex to adequately capture in a TV dramatisation. The idea for a new book for the 50th anniversary of the crime came out of Nick trying to make sense of it all and he invited Stewart to help him with the enormous task of research for which he received a well-deserved co-credit. The acclaimed narrative that Nick devised and wrote sets out the story of the 1963 Glasgow to London mail train robbery in full for the first time and from all sides. It sheds a very different light on the people and events, providing fresh insight, facts and analysis that peel away the mystique and comprehensively debunk the 50-year-old mythology. He boots into touch the persistent 'mysteries' of the story: who masterminded the robbery, why it went so badly wrong, who were the three men that escaped prosecution and what happened to all that money. Nick is regularly featured across print press and broadcast media as an authority on the Great Train Robbery and its social and cultural context of Britain in the early 1960s. Notable appearances include an ITV1 'Exposure' documentary (for which he was a consultant and associate producer) broadcast alongside the five part drama serial 'Mrs Biggs'; the BBC series 'Great British Railway Journeys' with Michael Portillo; he is featured extensively in a 90 minute documentary film made by Arte (Association Relative à la Télévision Européenne). Nick was interviewed by Eddie Mair on Radio 4's PM programme; Radio 5 live, numerous BBC Local Radio stations, BBC TV and ITV news following the death of gang member Bruce Reynolds in February 2013. On the 50th anniversary of the GTR on 8th August 2013, Nick did a marathon 19 TV and radio interviews between 7.30am and 10pm. He appeared on all the UK news networks, BBC World and CNN in December 2013 following the death of Ronnie Biggs. The enduring fascination with the Great Train Robbery has meant that Nick continues to be invited to speak about his 'definitive account' at literary festivals, true crime and other literary events which provides a welcome opportunity to meet and talk to others about their memories of the robbery and the early 60s. For further information and contact details for Nick please see his agent's website which can be found through Google.
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