Why Inspector Pratt will be returning in 2015

Well, actually, he won’t. Not as a police inspector anyway. I’m taking him back to the mid 1930s when he was a simple sergeant, which was already way beyond his capabilities!

So why, after completing the Pratt trilogy of ‘Murdered to Death’, ‘Secondary Cause of Death’ and ‘Death by Fatal Murder’ am I returning to him? Yes, I know I said “no more” but the truth of the matter is that I was actually starting to miss the silly fool. Judging by the emails I’ve received from around the world, asking if another Pratt might be in the offing, I realised that other people were missing him too. I also owe it to him. Over the years he’s been very kind to me, having displayed his utter incompetence in at least 10 different countries and over 1000 productions.

To take you back a little further, since completing the third of the trilogy in 2005, I’ve written a number of modern comedies. A month or two ago, when I caught the winter writing bug, I decided that another whodunnit spoof might be fun. Now, I love setting these spoofs in the past, when life was much simpler and a good copper (certainly not Pratt) worked by instinct more than science. To be honest, there’s also a bonus side to setting these things in the past …. they never really date because they’re already locked-in to a very fixed era. It also gives me a great opportunity to play with some rather stereotypical but much loved character types …. all stiff upper lip and terribly proper.

All of which leads to me sitting here writing this blog on Christmas Eve, having completed half of the first draft. Which is quite appropriate really, because the new adventure is set at Christmas time in 1935. Of course, although that will make it an ideal winter production, a play isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for life…. or whatever time of year you fancy performing it.

So, what does Sergeant Pratt’s 1935 Christmas hold in store? First of all, I’ve decided to go back to the relatively simple, clean-cut format of ‘Murdered to Death’. Why? Well, being a fresh start for the young Sergeant, it offers all sorts of opportunities for fresh characters and themes. I wanted a nice clean story-line but with plenty of twists and turns along the way.

The story so far: being the outgoing sort of idiot that he is, he and a young lady constable are out and about, performing his magic show to raise money for charity. (He can, of course offer an alternative …. his “one-man Naivety play, covering all of the events from the Immaculate Contraption through to the arrival of the Three Blind Men”). Yes, you get the picture …. he is definitely back with a bang. When he takes his show to a fine old country house, he and his assistant suddenly find themselves at the centre of a family get-together which is rapidly turning nasty and rather violent! Determined to make a name for himself, he enthusiastically turns back to his defective detective role, with the usual calamitous results.

Those of you who are familiar with Pratt will know of his tendency to lapse into malapropisms and mis-quotes. If you have any gems that you think he could utter in this latest saga, why not drop me an email via my website?

Once I’m a little further down the line, I’ll be posting updates on progress and plans for the unveiling of the new adventure. In the meantime, please share this blog with anyone you know who might be interested in the latest escapades of Pratt.

Wishing you all a fantastic 2015.