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Bob Long Interview

Bob Long has been a soldier, photographer and teacher, amongst other things. He has produced and directed many films for BBC TV, most recently ‘The Hunt For Britain’s Paedophiles’, and also wrote the book of the same name to accompany the series. Other projects have included the massively popular ‘Battersea Dogs Home’ for BBC1, ‘Video Diaries’ and ‘Video Nation’. He wrote a bestselling biography of ex-gangster Charlie Richardson, ‘My Manor’. His next series for BBC2 will be ‘SO5/6’, about the police and child protection. After many years as executive producer of the BBC Community Programmes Unit, he is now freelance.

I had no desire to become a writer. I was making a film about Charlie (Richardson) and he wanted a book written about himself, putting things straight. He wanted to work with someone who he trusted, so he suggested it to me. And then the publishers asked me. The truth was that I needed money quite badly for my boat, and when they suggested a certain figure, I said yes straight away. Then I took two years to write the book. But they were happy in the end, it sold. It went into paperback, everybody was happy.

It was hard work and yes, I did it for the money. I can’t say I enjoyed it. It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t my thoughts and feelings, it was a job. I would sit down in the morning, early, before there were any distractions, and aim for 12 pages a day, which is a lot. Sometimes I’d get on a roll and then I wouldn’t stop- you must never stop when you’re on a roll.

If I can’t write, I make myself do it. People ask what advice do you have for new writers? ... sign up to WriteWords to read more

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