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!
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!