Robin Squire

Rob began his working life as an accounting machine salesman – but found he spent more time jotting down story ideas than selling anything. This led to the loss of his job, till the publication by W. H. Allen & Co. of his first novel Square One (published in paperback by New English Library as The Big Scene) caused him to feel he might be able to make it as a writer.

Other books followed, including A Portrait of Barbara, published by St. Martin's Press and Sphere Books. He cut his screenwriting teeth on a script directed by Norman Cohen in South Africa, and has since written and re-written numerous screenplays, not all of which got made, but the experience of shaping and reshaping them into their final form has created a colourful and intriguing portfolio, while a film titled Knife Edge, on which he was an increasingly isolated writer, featured the pre-Lord Downton Hugh Bonneville and the totally wonderful Joan Plowright, and inspired his hilarious diary-based 'reality novel' about the debacle, soon to be reissued (2015) under the title The Unmaking of a Britflick.

Rob has been an infantry soldier in the British Army (in which he got lots of blisters and became a qualified marksman on the rifle), house-cleaner, bingo steward, spare parts driver, hot-dog seller, magazine journalist, car-jockey, security guard, TV extra, professional proofreader, factory paint-grinder, ditch-digger, copy-editor, and even sold encyclopaedias door to door. His recent work includes Lavender Days, a romantic novella set in the South of France. Lavender Days is soon to be reissued in paperback (2015). The Mystery of the Stolen Brides, An Inspector Dearborn Case is a Victorian detective story with supernatural / psychological overtones, published in Little, Brown's Crime Vault in 2014.

Seeing the Beatles in live performance during a happy-go-lucky hitch-hiking trip to the South of France 'way back before when was invented' inspired his first novel Square One. By an extraordinary sequence of fate and synchronicity, Square One led to his joining the BBC as a reader and grader of incoming scripts in the Script Unit and a trainee script editor in the Doctor Who office. Subsequently, by further quirks of chance, he found himself playing the first monster to appear in colour on our television screens on Jon Pertwee's debut as the Doctor. His memoir about the unlikely sequence of events was published in September 2014 under the title The Life and Times of a Doctor Who Dummy. The foregoing book is now available in print and Kindle formats, should anyone fancy a trip back in time without having to bother breaking into the Tardis. Rob is interviewed by Chris Chapman on the BBC DVD titled Mannequin Mania, issued on BluRay in June 2013.

South East



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Lavender Days: Chapter 1
"Do you wear spectacles?"
"Sorry, that's a no too," he'd replied. "I'm afraid I'm cursed with twenty-twenty vision - a bit of a drag sometimes when it might be nicer to see things a bit foggy." Gabriel's smile was twisted as he fingered the reading specs that were essential these days when working."Physique?" she'd gone on to enquire.
"No."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Well, I mean hardly Johnny Weismuller or Batman," he'd said. "'Wiry' really, I suppose you could say. Probably 'cos I go running most mornings and can't afford to stuff myself."
“Stuff yourself?” Kathryn had sounded slightly shaken.
“With too much food. Don’t you use that expression in America?”
“We do,” she said guardedly. “But I guess it means something else.” Gabriel had laughed. “Oh, you mean like our ‘Keep your pecker up’ means something else where you come from.” He’d heard her swallow. Then, rather primly, “I wear glasses. It’s why I asked if you did. I’m five-six, dark hair with brown eyes, slim build, divorced, age thirty-six, and right now a single parent.”

The Mystery of the Stolen Brides: Chapter 4
He tensed: journey’s end was near. Around a shoulder of upland some grassy mounds came into view – tombs of Bronze Age dead whose warrior souls forever soured the silence. He saw the house to the right, and passed years washed through his mind. He peered, trying to focus; then it seemed to him that the old walls were freshly whitened, the shutters shining yellow. The roses he had planted for her in the little garden were a flourish of colour, welcoming. And the horses strained forward, anticipating rest.

Inside the carriage, Charlotte stared dully. Her head seemed weighted. A quickening of wheels caused her to glance through the window, and she saw that they approached a lone ruin of a farmhouse. Peeling yellow shutters gave the building a blind-eyed look, its walls were grey, and tangles of dead rose-bushes were all that remained of what might once have been a garden. A rickety porch loomed up, the carri­age stopped and the man sprang down.

He opened the carriage and gazed in, seeing her tremble with the fury he’d anticipated. It seemed that her brow arches dark­ened, curving higher, and the lower lip filled to pouting. But those same eyes held his own. His cheek twitched, tugging the mouth into a grimace meant as a smile. “I’ve brought you home,” he said in a deep, breaking voice. A ring of keys, dark with age, weighed down his hand.

Square One: Chapter 18
SAM BRAHM SHIFTED HIS BULK IN A CREAKING CHAIR, and beamed at me. "Now then, er, Tim, you've asked to see me. How are things going?" "Diabolically, Mr Brahm". "Great, great," he said, and then looked at me suspiciously. "What did you say?" "Look, I know everybody's busy round here," I said, "so I won't take up much time. I just want to tell you what happened to us, and then ask your advice about it." He leaned forward with his elbow on the desk, chin cupped in hand. "Fire away boy, you're one of mine, and I'm with you all the way." I told him about the recording contract, about the reactions of our A & R man, about our not getting any work from his agency. When I'd finished he leaned back in his chair and was quiet for a while, thinking . . . . . . "Don't worry boy, don't worry!" he grinned, showing gold fillings. "Just you tell him that, get your contract terminated, and then come back to me--and I'll get you another contract with UK Records. Tell 'em to stick it, boy!"

The Life and Times of a Doctor Who Dummy: Chapter 7
A word about that room I slept in, for there was a story attached to it that fascinated Derek Martinus. I had a dressing gown which I would put on to nip up the corridor to the loo in the night if I needed to. Soon after our arrival, I did this after a session in the bar with the others, at around 2 a.m. I usually slept nude as the weather was still warm, and as I put the dressing gown on it became intensely cold. I tore the garment off with a feeling that if I didn’t do so I would freeze. Just to touch it chilled my hands to the bone so I threw it on the floor and, for some weird reason, jumped up and down on it, and the soles of my feet felt like ice when doing so. Staring at the crumpled gown in bewilderment, I backed away from it, put on my pyjamas in case I met anyone, and left the room.

On returning I peered across at the discarded dressing gown. ‘This is silly,’ I thought. So I removed my pyjamas, picked up the gown and put it on again with what might be called defiance. At once the freezing sensation spread over my shoulders and back again, so I clawed the garment off and hurled it across the room. Then I got back in bed, turned out the lamp and, after a bit more puzzled thought, was soon asleep.

Next day at breakfast I told my story. No, I hadn’t been drunk. Imagination? Possibly – everyone had their own theory. The girl who served us went and told the hotel proprietor, Mr. Hayter. As we dispersed from the breakfast room ready for another day’s filming, he came up to me with an air of apology. “I didn’t want to say anything,” he said. “I hoped you wouldn’t mind being in that room.”
“Why would I mind?” I asked.
“It’s the haunted room,” he went on. “We don’t like to advertise it.” I was staring at him. “Some time in the sixteen-forties, during the Civil War, a wounded Cavalier stayed in that room and died during the night. We’ve had reports in the past about guests experiencing odd sensations there, and some claim to have seen his shape standing by the window.”
I peered at Mr. Hayter, a pleasant man in middle age, balding and on the chubby side. Was he making this up? But he was absolutely serious. “If you’d like to change your room,” he offered, “I’ll make arrangements.”
“Oh no,” I said, “thanks all the same. I quite like the idea of sharing a room with a ghost.”

Mabel At Hastings: Introduction
On the Saturday morning of August 2nd 1930 when Mabel Floyd picked up her best friend, Dorothy Carvill, from the King's Head public house in Richmond where Dorrie's parents were the licencees, to go off to Hastings for four weeks' holiday, she was still 13 years old . . . In the Richmond and Twickenham Times published that day the 'Twickenham' type of quality houses, currently being built, are advertised at £945 Freehold each. On this the last day of Bentall's sale a lady's 'Afternoon dress' is down from 20 shillings (£1) to 5 shillings (25p). A made-to-measure suit can be had for 5 guineas (£5.25p) at Vivian Richfield's on Hill Street.

The Making of a Britflick:
Wednesday July 24th, 2002
Met Peter Jaques at the Queen's Head in Pinner - he as usual imperturbable, me all over the place, practically shaking. I need to talk to someone, as they say in the movies. Over a couple of pints of ale and a goodly meal he listened to my ongoing tale of woe, of how this script keeps being wrenched from my grasp just as I start to get control of it again. Peter's advice is to soldier on - apart from walking off and invalidating my contract, the alternatives are limited. Bravo the Britflick! Hoorah for the Union Jack! "Get it as good as you can," he suggests, "then if they decide in their wisdom to screw it up again you'll have done what you can."

Saturday January 1st, 2005
Woke in Lynda's parents' bungalow at Goring-by-Sea to a new year fraught with possibilities. Watched The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner from the Allan Sillitoe book. He tells in the foreword how he saw a jogger through his window, and the title came before the story did. I've enjoyed the break, but feel like the captain of a sinking ship who would rather be on the bridge pretending to steer than out on deck screaming while it goes down. If nothing happens this month the sea will be pouring down the companionway by March and I'll have to take to the lifeboats. To strike another terrible analogy, if Dark Moon falls away again I shall be a lone distress signal booming ever more faintly through the fog.