Is the Striker screenplay nearly ready? It should be because that was the project I'd decided to embark on when I wrote my last update back in June. But after writing the synopsis and first few scenes, I hit the same hurdle I ran into when I started tackling a Striker novel.


In both scenarios, adapting events that occurred in the strip over many years into a book or screen format would require some significant changes to the story arc. To give just one example, a book or screen adaptation doesn't work so well if Li Ming disappears for two years, as she did in the strip. But would the fans accept that? I don't know because I don't have an objective person in the form of a literary agent to discuss these things with - and that's what I feel I need now.


I remain convinced there's potential for both a Striker novel and a big or small screen version - but having made starts on both, I'm just not convinced that either of these should be my first project.


So where does that leave me if I've put both plans A and B on the back burner? Actually, I'm probably on plan G or H because there's a pile of other ideas I developed over the years that were also being considered as my first post-Striker project. But I believe I've finally found a plan I can stick with.

A few years back, a couple of long-time friends (I do have a few) had suggested I write my life story. I wasn't keen for two reasons: one, Striker was still being published, so there was no closure to my story in that respect. And two, though it's fair to say I've had an extraordinarily eventful life, many of the decisions I've made along the way have been reckless to the point of possibly seeming self-destructive.


So that got me thinking: why was I such a hot-headed teenager? Why, after serving a jail sentence, did I then go on to blow so many career opportunities as a journalist? Why did I almost kill myself by jumping off a ferry in the Irish Sea? Why, after becoming the highest-paid creator of a newspaper strip, did I walk away from a fortune and risk my house on starting a weekly comic? Why have I always had such a problem with authority?


My surprising solution was to see a psychotherapist. And although I've only had three of six sessions, one of them provided a remarkable insight to an incident 50 years ago to which I had previously attached little significance.


So, after 35 years of telling Striker stories, and armed with an understanding of what turned me into a rebel without a pause, I've decided to tell my own story. And I'm hoping it will lead to further projects - including Striker - once I've found an agent who will accept the autobiography and represent me.


Although I'll be including the therapy sessions in my book, this won't be a self-indulgent, navel-gazing exercise. I'd like it to be fascinating , funny and, by the last chapter, hopefully inspiring.


So there it is. After several false starts, I think and hope I've finally found a path to follow. I know some Striker fans will be disappointed that I haven't been able to announce the imminent publication of a Striker novel or development of a TV series, but I still want those things to happen.

I've already started my story and I'm reasonably happy with the way it's going. All being well, it could be finished by June, by which time Volume 15 of the Striker Collection will have been published.


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By Striker creator PETE NASH


First I was going to write a Striker novel. Then I decided to write a non-Striker book. Now I’ve changed my mind again – and hopefully Striker fans will be muddy delighted.


It was the coronavirus that made me see the light. I'd scrapped the Striker novel idea because I didn’t think it would appeal to a wider audience. And although I’d subsequently embarked on a non-Striker novel, the lockdown and its likely repercussions have taken me back to Striker.


It’s not a comic or newspaper strip and it’s not a novel: instead it’s that old chestnut that was first mooted in the very first comic back in 2003 – a Striker TV series.


So what’s the link with Covid 19? Well, although the lockdowns are thankfully easing (for now at least) I believe the world could be facing a prolonged slump as a result of the eye-watering amounts of money that governments have printed and distributed to companies and individuals to do nothing. That’s not necessarily a criticism, just an opinion. And I’m not saying things won’t get better – quite the contrary, but I think it will take longer than many people think.


Even I’m too young to have been around in the 1930s, but I do know that it was a decade of high unemployment and considerable hardship. But it was also an era of many innovative developments and inventions as people looked for new things to replace the old – particularly with grand infrastructure projects, air travel and entertainment.


I think we’re in for a similar period of transition now.. Grand renewable energy projects could finally gain traction and create opportunities for the unemployed, plus – just as they did in the 1930s – people will want to laugh and be entertained to lift their spirits.


Of course, I could be wrong – it wouldn’t be the first time. But I have a hunch that finally, 35 years after Striker was created, it’s the perfect time to turn it into a TV series. Firstly, as I just explained, people will be looking for feel-good entertainment. Secondly, the current demand for content is unprecedented thanks to the advent of streaming networks like Netflix, Amazon, Apple and HBO in addition to the established TV channels.


And there’s a third reason – nostalgia. I believe people will enjoy watching shows that take them back to happier times. For this reason, I wouldn’t put Striker in a contemporary setting. I would set it in Warbury in 1994, after Eric married Vanessa and had sold his pork scratchings factory. You know the rest; he makes a reckless, drunken bet with Henry Rawlings and turns to an ex-Premier league footballer who’s desperate enough to see the Warriors as his ticket back to the big time.


Back in 2003, when the comedian Jim Davidson wanted to turn Striker into a TV series, he got a couple of young writers to pen a pilot script. I thought it was good in parts, but it didn’t feel like Striker.


Until recently I had felt that Striker was too established as a comic strip to be successfully adapted into a TV show. But having revisited all those stories in the Striker volumes that I’d written and forgotten, I now believe they don’t need to be significantly adapted. I think the unpredictable mix of comedy and drama would be fine for the small screen as it is, with just a few small changes to one or two characters.


And why wouldn’t I write it myself now? I’ve got the time and I’ve got the enthusiasm. Striker could be a brilliant feel-good series – and I’m more convinced than ever about it now that I’ve already started writing it.


Of course, I still have to get it pitched and commissioned, but one step at a time!


I’ll keep you posted – but rest assured I won’t be changing my mind again!


BOOKS

Some news now about the Striker books. Thankfully, people have started receiving the Volume 10s after the books were held up first at the printers when the lockdown kicked in, then at post offices where social distancing has been causing delays.


I’ve started work on Volume 11, and that should be ready in early July now.


Some of you have been asking how many books there will be in the Complete Striker Collection. I originally estimated 22, but having gone through the archive in detail, I can reveal there will be 24 volumes in total. Assuming we publish four a year, that means Volume 24 – containing all the stories from the second comics plus The Final Whistle – will be published in the summer of 2023.


You’re definitely going to need a bigger bookcase!

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By PETE NASH


Volume 10 of the Striker Collection should have been ready to order next week but unfortunately I've been laid low with a freak eye injury picked up in walking football of all things - it ought to be classified as an extreme sport!


It was actually pretty scary. I'd started a league here on the Isle of Man with six founding teams and had gone to speak to one of the teams (from an established club on the island) to go over the rules at a practice game they'd organised prior to the league launch. As they only had nine players, I offered to go in goal to make up the numbers (I wasn't even in my kit as I wasn't expecting to play) and within five minutes

I'd been hit smack in the face by a close-range shot.


There was no nose bleed or black eye and I felt ok so I carried on, but the next morning I woke up and discovered I could barely see out of my left eye - just shades of light and dark. They diagnosed a suspected torn retina at A and E and were preparing to fly me to Liverpool for emergency surgery when they found an ophthalmic surgeon who scanned my eye and thankfully found the retina to be intact. But the vision loss was caused by a vitreous hemorrhage (bleeding inside the back of the eyeball) which is still a serious injury as it could get worse and lead to a detached retina.


If I'm lucky the debris from the hemorrhage inside the eyeball will dissipate by itself over a few weeks but in the meanwhile I have to sleep sitting up at a 45 degree angle (so gravity can sink the debris) and can't do walking football or any strenuous exercise that could trigger another hemorrhage.


Gutted to miss the start of the league but also thankful that I haven't gone blind in one eye. We all take important things like our eyesight for granted until something bad happens, so from now on I'll be wearing sports goggles in goal!


Needless to say, Volume 10 has been put back by a couple of weeks but my vision has cleared to the point where I can at least work on the computer again, so I'll be starting work on the cover tomorrow. It'll be another monster book of 336 pages and will wrap up the adventures from the 2003 to 2005 weekly comics. It will also include some artwork that was created for the War of the Worlds graphic novel we were hoping to do, as well as the story of why the project imploded.


Not long to wait now - the book should be ready around mid-March.

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