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
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.