Sunday, June 03, 2007


If you're in and around my home town of Bangor over the next fortnight, beware - I'm on the loose with a camera, making a 40 minute documentary for BBC 1 Northern Ireland. Never really done anything like this before, but am already enjoying it immensely - nearly everyone I've approached to take part has agreed, including the likes of Jimmy Nesbitt, Lord Trimble and Laine McGaw (who played Patricia in Divorcing Jack). I'll be returning to my old schools, Ballyholme PS and Bangor Grammar and talking about the Spectator years, where I trained as a reporter, and we've already got a lot of footage we recorded at the Aspects Festival in the town in September. Should be on TV some time in the Autumn.

Hay ho, let's go

Just returned from the Hay-on-Wye literature festival in Wales where I was unexpectedly invited to appear with the great and good. I was taking part in a crime panel together with the lovely Alex Barclay and the just as lovely Alan Guthrie. A fantastic time was had all round, partially to do with the copious amounts of alcohol on offer. It was slightly surreal as I was staying in the town's wonderful main hotel, The Swan, which had 25 rooms - which meant that when I came down in the morning I was joining the likes of Bob Geldof, Tony Benn and Columbo for breakfast. Yes - Columbo. Peter Falk was there to promote his memoirs and I was introduced to him - three times. As we couldn't actually get tickets to see Columbo's gig, and being very drunk, we decided to become part of his 'posse' and managed to blag our way in. The words 'never' 'again' and 'drinking' were uttered early the next morning.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Good King Billy

I mentioned a while back about the mini opera I was writing with the very talented Jules Maxwell about King Billy - and then everything went quiet. I had sort of guessed that the opera folks who commissioned it might have dropped it because it was (in their view) (a) ridiculous or (b) a bit of a hot potato, but it seems they're having a few administration changes at the top of their company, and once they have a new boss in place, King Billy will proceed. It ain't over till the fat bringer of our freedoms sings.


I had a call a few months ago from the makers of 'Rebus', the tv series based on the character created by Ian Rankin to see if I'd be interested in writing a script. Now I've gone off tv a bit since the fiasco over 'Murphy's Law' - fired from my own series, no less! - and generally find meetings with TV people quite stressfull/humiliating/embarrassing. But I like Ian Rankin's books, and Ken Stott is very good in the TV series, so I was having a good think about it when, the very next day my good friend David from No Alibis bookshop called and said Ian Rankin was calling into the shop the next day for a cup of coffee, and did I fancy meeting him. I took this as A Sign From God (you know, God, small round bloke, beard, looks like Van Morrison, but his songs aren't as good)and scooted off to Belfast. Turns out that Ian Rankin, Best Selling Author, Cultural Commentator, is a very decent bloke and I'd a good natter with him. I somewhat hesitantly raised the issue of me writing for Rebus - because we authors can be notoriously protective of our stuff - and seemed more than happy for me to have a crack. 'Just don't change his taste in music,' was his only request. So, I've written the script, it's called (at the moment, anyway) The First Stone, and it started filming in Scotland last week. I think it will probably be on in the Autumn. It's made by SMG in Scotland, and I can honestly say it's the best experience I've yet had working in TV. No bullshit, in other words. I mean, knowing me, we'll probably have a huge fall out somewhere down the line, but at the moment everything is smelling of roses.


The next children's book, TITANIC 2020, is officially published in July, although there should be copies available in June. This should/could/may be the first in a series of adventures set on a 'new' Titanic sailing into the End of Civilization as We Know It. But, naturally, quite funny as well. It's aimed at the 9-12 age group. The new Harry Potter has a print run of something like 13 million in the USA alone. I expect nothing less of my publishers.


Oh, promises promises, I should really get my finger out more often and keep these things up to date. It's a brave new world out there and I have to get with the program (sorry, does that sound very Sixties?)

Anyway, May sees the publication of the new book, 'I Predict A Riot'. Whole new look, whole new concept. I am now, officially, 'Bateman'. This was sold to me with the idea that I was becomming something of a cultural icon requiring only one name to be instantly recognized anywhere in the world. Think 'Madonna' or 'Prince' - is it the rather more modest Northern Irish in me that causes me to think 'Noddy' and 'Tintin' instead?

Whatever. Not sure exactly what's coming in the way of publicity, but I know for one thing that the Hay on Wye Festival has had a committee meeting and decided to lower its standards for this year only, so I'll be appearing there towards the end of the month of May.

If you're in Northern Ireland there will probably be another launch party at No Alibis in Botanic Avenue in Belfast - probably the first week. I'll keep you posted on that, or knowing how crap at all of this I am, you could try the No Alibis website.

There are also a couple of readings lined up - May 10 in Newtownabbey and May 25 in Armagh.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Last Book!

Colin Bateman
There will be no more Colin Bateman books. It's official. It seems that the name 'Colin' isn't sufficiently 'action' enough, and the decision has been taken by my publishers to drop the Christian name from the front covers. In future I'll just be 'Bateman'. I'm a brand! I will also need to acquire some muscles, and perhaps a tattoo to go with my new image. There are also some rather tasty new cover designs on the way.

Free DVD

Colin Bateman
It you fancy a free DVD this week, read on. I was taking the piss out of the crap DVDs being offered by the Daily Mail this week - romantic titles, mostly based on books by Catherine Cookson - when I realized that one of them was mine! I wrote the script for the Granada adaptation of Marian Keyes' book Water Melon, which was shown on ITV a couple of years ago. Needless to say the critics hated it! I'm sure Marian wasn't too keen either - it departed quite severely by the book, and in truth it wasn't the happiest experience, but bits of it work rather well. Anna Friel stars. I'm not sure which day it's being given away on, so you'll need to keep your eyes peeled if you want a copy.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Liverpool - FA Cup Winners

What more can I say! Gerrard, best player in the world!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

King Billy - the Opera

Yup everyone's writing opera these days! I've been approached by a Dublin based opera company to write a ten minute opera, with a view to expanding it to a full length production if it works out. Having been given free rein to write about any subject that takes my fancy I've come up with a story called 'The Two Williams', which features King Billy (that's King William to you) on the eve of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 accidentally changing places with his modern equivalent - a washed up drunk whose only job in life is to lead the Orange parade every Twelfth of July. Plan is to showcase the opera at a venue in Belfast, possibly the Grand Opera House. Will keep you posted.

The Titanic Times

The next children's book will hopefully be called 'The Titanic Times' - it's set on a 'new' Titanic, built in Belfast and setting sail on its maiden voyage, which again ends in disaster - the end of the world. Yes, another laugh a minute book from Colin Bateman.

New novel

The title of the next novel, after much debate, will be I PREDICT A RIOT. For those of you who don't live in Northern Ireland (or indeed those who do but didn't know about it) - for the past year I've been writing a weekly serial in the Belfast News Letter called 'Belfast City Limits'. It started out as a bit of a soap opera about Walter and Margaret and their doomed attempts to go on a date that doesn't end in chaos, but it soon turned into something else - violence, paramilitary ornithologists, poisonous carrot cake and a detective called Marsh Mallow. The series ended in April after about fifty episodes - but I enjoyed doing it so much that I actually ended up writing something like 132 episodes. These have now been collected together to form the next novel. The change in title was needed because it was just too close to 'Belfast Confidential', and also anything with Belfast in the title is a hard sell anywhere outside of Belfast.
Many thanks to everyone who's been in touch about Belfast Confidential - it has had the best reaction and reviews of any of my books (since Divorcing Jack) in fact.


I really am the laziest sod on the planet - I always have great ideas about updating this on a daily/weekly basis, but it always turns into months. This time I promise. No, really. Seriously.
So to start off, many thanks to everyone who turned up to my readings in Belfast and Holywood this week, they were really good fun. Nothing else planned in the near future. Next thing in my diary is the Aspects Festival in Bangor in September.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy New Year

Hi folks and Happy New Year, and first of all apologies to anyone who has been coming to the site looking for exciting updates only to find nothing happening whatsoever. I could say many things, make many excuses, but the simple fact is that I've been completely lazy, or, as Oscar Wilde used to say, I couldn't be arsed.

I could blame it on the fact that the laptop from which I monitor the site got stolen from Belfast International Airport, but it would be a blatant lie. (It did get stolen, but I could easily have run the site from another computer. It got stolen when my back was turned for about three seconds, and this at six o'clock in the morning. God, those thieves have to work such unsocial hours.) But what with the New Year and all that, I promise to be back on track as far as these blogs are concerned.

Meanwhile, back in Bateman land anyone interested to know what's been happening, fasten your seat belts:

Actually, loosen them, it's not that exciting. Book wise, hopefully you'll know that Belfast Confidential is now out in hardback (in mainland GB) and trade paperback in Ireland. There was a BIG problem with supplies in Ireland coming up to Christmas because of the Irish Ferries Strike and I also noticed that Amazon are saying it'll take about six weeks to supply copies, not sure why that should be but what do I know about the mysteries of publishing?

The next book - well, that's slightly up in the air at the moment. 'Belfast Confidential' is the last in the current contract with Headline and in some respects it brings the Dan Starkey story to a nice close. However, I usually feel like that after finishing a book and he'll probably return at some point. In the mean time I started writing a weekly serial for the Belfast News Letter called Belfast City Limits, which has now been running for six months. I've had great fun doing this, and in fact got quite carried away. The paper is currently at about episode 27, but I steamed ahead and have now finished the series at 130 episodes. So this will probably be my next book - and it'll be a bloody big one. But no deal is done yet so I can't say when it will appear. The paperback of Belfast Confidential comes out in May.


Even though I'm no longer directly involved in writing Murphy's Law, the series will return later this year and again in 2007. It will (again) be in a slightly different format in that it will be in two three-part series. Filming of the first series begins in April.


I'm currently writing a new children's novel called 'Emperor of the Seas' which is set on a luxury cruise liner which sails into the end of civilization as we know it.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Belfast City Limits!

I'm going back to my roots with the publication of a completely new weekly column called Belfast City Limits in the Belfast Newsletter starting soon! Look out for it, and let me know what you think...