I think you’d need to be of a certain age to remember Alan Melville. In the late 50s he seemed to be everywhere on television (only one channel then, and that in black-and-white) from The Brains Trust, What’s my Line? and a particular favourite of mine “A-Z” (of entertainment) in which he did sketches and interviewed such luminaries as Edith Evans, Bob Hope and Phil Silvers. The Phil Silvers interview is on YouTube. I always loved his mellifluous voice and to me growing up in the north-east he seemed the epitome of sophistication so it was a surprise and thrill to discover that he (like me) was born and brought up in Northumberland! (Now, with my more attuned hearing, I can hear the traces of the accent in his speech). He had a huge career writing funny sophisticated comedies (theatre and film) and revues, most famously the Sweet and Low series for the two Hermiones – Gingold and Baddeley. He wrote the book and lyrics for Gay’s The Word with a score by Ivor Novello and starring Cicily Courtneige – and a batch of musicals including Marigold with Jean Kent and Jeremy Brett. He wrote his first novel WEEKEND AT THRACKLEY while still working in the family timber business in the north-east. Not only was it accepted for publication but it was made into a film (Dry Ice). I was thrilled to be asked to record the audiobook version of that book (in the Golden Age of Crime series); the book that changed the fortunes of young Alan M. It’s a sophisticated thriller and very funny with a cast of wonderful characters. Its success allowed Alan to move south and embark on what was a hugely successful career.