Foyle’s War creator Anthony Horowitz: BBC producer put a knife in my stomach… and twisted it

"I was fired by a TV producer at the BBC after writing the first episode of a five-part series. I had been working for three months and, in a twenty-minute meeting, that woman put a knife in my stomach and twisted it"

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Foyle’s War creator and novelist Anthony Horowitz has some beef with the BBC – or at least one particular drama producer there.

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“Not so long ago, I was fired by a TV producer at the BBC after writing the first episode of a five-part series. I had been working for three months and, in a twenty-minute meeting, that woman put a knife in my stomach and twisted it,” he writes in the programme notes to Seminar, a new play at the Hampstead Theatre about the pains of writing.  

The agonies of penmanship is clearly a subject he knows well. In the same piece he adds that he spends “most of my life being told what is wrong with what I write” and getting notes “even from my bloody agent”.

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But he at least ends on a positive note about his BBC experience. “Was she right? Well, the series was called Collision,” he notes, revealing that it was his 2009 drama about a group of strangers whose lives intertwine following a devastating car crash. “And when it was subsequently produced by ITV it was a ratings and critical success”. So there.