Colin Brake

Colin Brake is a scriptwriter, author, and script editor with over 30 years’ experience. After completing a degree in Film and Drama Studies, Colin joined the BBC in 1985 and soon became the original Archivist/Historian for EastEnders. He has written over 60 episodes of broadcast TV drama including soap operas such as EastEnders, Doctors and Family Affairs, and action adventure series like Bugs and C15- the New Professionals. He has written extensively for Audio including numerous pieces for The Other 1% (The UFO Files, Road to Nowhere)The Space Race and Dan Dare for B7 Media and Doctor Who, Jago and Litefoot and Bernice Summerfield for Big Finish. He has also published several novels, chapter books, short stories, and comic strips, including original Doctor Who fiction for BBC Books.

TO1%: How did you first get into writing?
CB: I always wanted to write; I have an exercise book dating from my first year at grammar school in which I wrote that I wanted to be an author “and write new Famous Five books”!

TO1%: What was your first published works?
CB: Technically, some copy for some BBC Video release sleeves in about 1985. I wrote the copy for some Doctor Who titles and some other releases. My first TV credit came in 1992 – when I wrote the New Year’s Eve episode of EastEnders. My first published work was “EastEnders – the First Ten Years” a BBC Book to commemorate the first decade of the soap which was published for Christmas 1994 ahead of the anniversary the following February. My first fiction publication was a Doctor Who short story in an anthology called “Decalog 3”, published by Virgin Books in 1996, a publication that also included the first published fiction by a certain Steven Moffat.

TO1%: Do you read your writing dialogue aloud to yourself?
CB: Sometimes. Certainly with TV scripts, in order to time them!

TO1%: Do you think writers get the recognition they deserve?
CB: Some do!  Jack Thorne, Neil Gaiman, Steven Moffat, Russell T Davies, Chris Chibnall, Jed Mecurio, Aaron Sorkin etc. But all too often writers are ignored in favour of directors and/or stars! Or even, sometimes, producers!

TO1%: How did you get involved with The Other 1%.
CB: I had worked with Simon on a previous audio drama and he invited me to take part in this new project. And I’ve enjoyed every moment!

TO1%: What’s your favourite book to screen adaptation?
CB: The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

TO1%: And your least?

CB: I’ve yet to see the Discworld I read in Terry Pratchett’s books in any TV adaptation.

TO1%: Do you listen to music when you write?
CB: Yes, sometimes. 

TO1%: Do you have a writing schedule? (mornings/nighttime)
CB: Not really. I try to get a good start in, if I can but sometimes it’s a question of when inspiration hits. Or how close a deadline is.

TO1%: Do your characters take over your life? Do you worry about them?

CB: Not really. Plots and stories tend to work themselves out somewhere in the back of my brain, but the process doesn’t take over my life.

TO1%: What do you write on? Laptop?Pen and paper? Quill?

CB: Mostly on a PC, sometimes on a laptop but I do use paper and pen a lot – especially in the development stage, not so much when I come to scripting.

TO1%: Do you ever write in cafes? Or does that make you feel uncomfortable?

CB: I don’t think I have. If we ever get a chance to again, I might try it.

TO1%: How do you read? (books? Kindle? Audio?)

CB: All of the above!  But I’m old-fashioned enough to prefer the printed page, if possible.

TO1%: What’s your favourite writing snack?

CB: Chocolate!

TO1%: What’s the last meal you cooked?
CB: A vegetarian pasta dish with lots of mushrooms.

TO1%: What’s the last (non-food) thing you bought?

CB: A book of stamps!

TO1%: Who is your favourite writer?
CB: Depends on the day! One of the following: Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Ed McBain, Stan Lee.

TO1%: What’s your desert Island book?
CB: Three Men on A Boat

TO1%: What’s your best procrastination tactic?

CB: Doing the washing/washing-up.

TO1%: If you were given a million pounds in cash, with the proviso that you could never write again, would you take it?

CB: Oh, that’s hard. Probably take the money – I’d let the creative urge out by drawing and, perhaps, painting. But I’d be doing it for my wife and kids, as much as myself. I can live without writing – I’ve plenty of reading to catch up on!

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