Inspector Pratt

Pratt Prequel to tour in 2017

I'm pleased to announce that Talking Scarlet will be touring with the prequel to the Pratt trilogy in 2017. It will be touring under the title of 'Dong Ding Murder Me On High' and will be published later under the title of 'Sleighed to Death'. See here for details of the tour.

Although the launch of the Pratt prequel has been a little while in getting off the ground, it was important to me that it should premier with a full professional tour. I'm delighted that Talking Scarlet, who toured in 2016 with 'Secondary Cause of Death', will be bringing their talented team and strong production values to this new tour.

Secondary Cause of Death - Tour

I'm very excited about the forthcoming tour of Secondary Cause of Death by Talking Scarlet. This is the first time that Talking Scarlet have produced one of my plays and they have a great cast lined up for the show. Details of the tour can be found here. Talking Scarlet have built up a fine reputation over recent years, touring with a number of different plays every season.

Inspector Pratt returns

Following on from my previous blog about the return of Inspector/Sergeant Pratt, I’m pleased to say that the prequel is now pretty much completed. There’s still a little fine-tuning to do but writing is like that ….. you never know when you’ve finished, in the end you just have to leave it alone!

If you’ve seen or been involved in any of the previous ‘Pratt Plays’, you’ll know what to expect. If not, just imagine a British Clouseau type character thrown into a 1930s Agatha Christie-style whodunnit and you’ll get the picture.

I’m still short of a title but am certain that, in keeping with the previous Inspector Pratt trilogy, the words MURDER and/or DEATH are sure to feature heavily!

Here’s a little update on the characters who are featuring in this latest Pratt adventure.

SIR WALTON GATES: One of the landed gentry. Genial, dim-witted, middle-aged and upper class.

MORAG McKAY: Sir Walton’s faithful secretary, she is a dour, middle-aged Scottish woman. If you’re familiar with Dad’s Army, a female version of Private Frazer probably sums her up quite well!

GRACE GATES: The second wife of Sir Walton, his first wife having died in slightly mysterious circumstances. Much younger than Sir Walton, she is attractive, money-grabbing and bitchy.

EMMA GATES: Sir Walton’s daughter from his first marriage. No brighter than him and an arch enemy of Grace. She believes that Grace is grasping and manipulative and only married her father for his money. She may have a point!

JAMES HOLLAND: A handsome, athletic adventurer whose many expeditions have seen him turn his hand to climbing, writing, photography, anthropology and botany. That’s when he’s not playing rugger or cricket for the County. His latest ambition is to conquer Everest …. believing that a good quality sports jacket and a stout pair of brogues should be all the equipment he needs.

ARCHIE GATES: Sir Walton’s brother, who was packed off to Australia in disgrace thirty years ago. Well, all of Pratt’s adventures have a dodgy foreigner in them somewhere and he’s no exception to the rule.

CONSTABLE MARY POTTER: A young, feisty police woman. Although lacking in self confidence, she has the measure of Pratt in the same way that Constable Thomkins did in previous adventures. Unfortunately for her, she’s been ordered to act as Pratt’s assistant for his fund-raising magic show.

SERGEANT PRATT: The same bumbling fool as always.

Oh, and there’s a ferret called DORIS but we don’t actually get to see her!

The play is set in the country pile of Sir Walton on Christmas Eve of 1935. Let the chaos commence!

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.