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My Arts: Frank Cottrell Boyce

The best-selling writer of Millions, 24-Hour Party People and more spills the cultural beans

Published on March 3rd 2011.

My Arts: Frank Cottrell Boyce

AWARD winning author and script writer Frank Cottrell Boyce has been described as one of the few truly inventive modern-day screenwriters.

Fresh from presenting the Pope's visit at Hyde Park, Liverpool-born Frank is about to script the opening of the 2012 Olympics.

He lives in Crosby, is the father of seven children and has just penned a book called The Unforgotten Coat, for the launch of Our Read, The Reader Organisation’s big shared read this Thursday, March 3, World Book Day.

There are 50,000 copies being given away.

The Unforgotten Coat is about a young girl from Bootle, who begins to see things differently after she befriends two new Mongolian boys, who turn up suddenly at her school and tell her of their travels.

The Reader Organisation will be taking 25 young people from Liverpool to London onboard a Virgin Train, accompanied by Frank who will be reading the story aloud to them for the first time.  Many of these young people have never travelled outside Liverpool before, let alone visited London.  The journey will culminate in a trip to the British Library.


What are your top three albums of all time?
Little Sparrow - Dolly Parton.
The Well-Tempered Clavier - Glenn Gould.
Just William - Martin Jarvis.

What were the first and the last records that you bought?

First - theme from The Flashing Blade.
Recent - Songs of the Yimen Mountains by Peng Yiyuan.

What was the first live gig that you went to?
Be Bop De Luxe at Liverpool Stadium.

And the last?
The Pope in Hyde Park.

Did you pay to get in? And if not, why not?
No. I was with the band.

What was your first professional writing job and how did you get the break?
A funny radio play. I just wrote it and sent it in!

What tune is running around your head at the moment. 
Zorbing by Stornoway - it's like aural caffeine.

What newspapers/magazines do you read?

I read New Scientist, The Tablet, maybe The Economist - lots of magazines No newspapers.

What word do you most like the sound of?
Tintinnabulation. I like it that TinTin is involved.

Which websites do you visit most often?
Wikipedia, McSweeney's, The Onion and a Jesuit one called Thinking Faith.

Who or what do you listen to on the radio?
Radio 4 all day.  World Service late at night.

What was the best television programme ever made?
Is this a trick question? There has never been any dispute about what was the best TV programme. It's Top Cat. Pure and simple.

Top film ever? 

Princess Bride - not least because The Dread Pirate Roberts was born in Bootle.

What book in childhood made the biggest impression on you?
So many - the Moomins, Noggin the Nog, The Wizard of Earthsea, the Paul Hamlyn Book of Dinosaurs....

What's your current book at bedtime?
The Official History of MI5! And always the Book of Psalms.

What did you last see at the theatre?
Frankenstein at The National.

Who or what makes you laugh? 
Mrs Denise Funny Bones Cottrell-Boyce
Richmal Crompton
Edith Nesbit
Sarah Millican
I just noticed these are all female!

What single work of art do you find the most moving? 
The story of the Prodigal Son is the most beautiful thought that ever was thought - as Ernest Hemingway said.

2011228Story-VietnammylaiLawrence ColburnWhich public figure do you most admire?
Lawrence Colburn, who tried to prevent his comrades carrying out the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, because of his courage - and also for being able to step away from his own people and go against orders and his own self interest and say this is wrong and to do that under fire. He's a living reprimand to anyone who has ever tried to make excuses.

What is your favourite piece of architecture?
Those sheds made out of old doors you see on allotments.

Know any good jokes?

How many Nick Cleggs does it take to change a light bulb?
One to say he will never ever change the lightbulb.
One to change the lightbulb.
One to say the light bulb hasn't changed.


As told to Angie Sammons

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Liverpool WagMarch 1st 2011.

Is it true that Frank Cottrell Boyce was a member of 1970s punk band Dead Trout whose members also included one Jon "Red October" Egan, PR supremo and Larry Neild's boss?

Their seminal tune from the album Street to Street, The Arab "I asked a wise old man/As the sun went down/Why do English men/Put on their dressing gowns?" has new relevance in these uncertain political times for the Middle East and should be re-released immediately.

Just sayin'.

Eric S MemberMarch 2nd 2011.

It was "Ded Trout", surely?

Liverpool WagMarch 2nd 2011.

No, you are thinking of Red Trout.

AnonymousFebruary 20th 2012.

Frank was indeed i n Dead Trout!

AnonymousFebruary 21st 2012.

Does anybody know how to get slugs out of the kitchen at night. I am having a terrible time here. Seriously

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Great profile... really enjoyed this, thanks!

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Does anybody know how to get slugs out of the kitchen at night. I am having a terrible time here.…

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Frank was indeed i n Dead Trout!

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The series that Sayle did on the BBC was badly reseached, factually incorrect and poorly presented.…

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