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!

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.

By Striker creator PETE NASH


It’s four months since Striker came to an end in The Sun and as a comic after 34 years – so what’s been happening? Aside from the release of Volume 9 of the Striker Collection, the answer is not a lot.


I mentioned in the final comic that I was thinking of writing a Striker novel (starting from the Warbury years) that could form the premise for a possible film or TV series. But after taking the time to weigh up all the options, I no longer see this as the right priority.


Striker thrived as a comic strip, with an epic story arc stretching from 1985 to 2019. To retell the story as a novel from Nick’s arrival in Warbury would please some Striker fans but not all. And, though I could be wrong, I’m not convinced that literary or film and TV agents would see a Striker novel appealing to a new and wider audience.


I do want to write – but I don’t think Striker should be my first project when I’ve accumulated so many other ideas over the years.


After taking the time to consider my options over the last few months, I’ve pretty much decided on the project I want to start with. It’s not something I can put into the public domain yet, but I will do as soon as I can.


So what’s left for Striker? The good news is that the books of the complete collection will continue, with Volume 10 due to be released towards the end of next month. I’ve calculated that there will be 22 books in all, so Volume 11 – due in May – will take us to the halfway stage. If I can release four books a year, the last volume will be released at the end of 2022.


There’s also the possibility of creating a commemorative Striker poster. I made a start on this in November but put it on ice when it became clear that capturing the essence of Striker’s 34-year history in one montage was trickier than I thought. I haven’t given up on it though, and I’m optimistic it will happen.


Thanks for staying tuned – and don’t forget you can also keep up to date with all things Striker via the Strikerworld page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/130222753805319/

© 2020 by Striker Ltd.