While still at drama school, I wrote a short play, which was performed in a room above a bar. This confirmed my love of the performing arts and, as a television actor, I later appeared in almost a hundred series, including ‘Dr Who’. Along with this, I worked on several screenplays, one of which I also produced and directed.
I was asked to ghost Jo Parker’s true story of her life with the Taliban, ‘Water under the bridge’, while, in 2011, I was commissioned to write an account of the sinking of the Titanic, in time for the 100th anniversary of the tragedy in May 2012. This was based on my close family connection to the doomed ship, as my great uncle, Charles Lightoller, was the only senior officer to survive the sinking. Researching for this, I discovered the very real possibility of the greatest maritime fraud of all time. Touching on this in my book and in my TV and radio interviews, as well as my talks on the subject, has led to me being both admired and reviled.
As well as being a Sherlock fan since childhood, I played him briefly on Italian television and a picture of me in the role has, for some years, adorned the cover of the popular ‘Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes.’ Thus, a novel of the great detective solving the riddle of the Titanic’s loss, unverified to this day, was irresistible to someone with my background.