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INTERVIEW


As Andrew prepares to celebrate his 25 year anniversary in show business next year, he can look back on a career that has allowed him to interview some of the biggest names in Hollywood: “Woody Allen was the one that I had always wanted to interview and when I did it for Radio 4’s Back Row programme it was everything I had hoped. He was just terrific and on great form.”


He continued: “Another really memorable interview was Kevin Costner. Hollywood actors are usually notoriously boring to interview but I found him to be really interesting and very charming.


“I asked him about a film I knew he had been very passionate about but that had flopped after studio interference. He really came alive then and even told his PR who had come in to wind up the interview to go away because he wanted to carry on.”


by Natalie Bloomer


It’s almost 25 years since Andrew Collins set out from his Northampton home to become a designer. Instead, he became a bestselling author, an award winning broadcaster and acclaimed TV and radio scriptwriter.


For most people this would be an impressive CV but Andrew, 47, sees it differently: “As I look back, I realise that if I had focused on just one thing I may have become brilliant at it. Instead, I’m a jack-of-all trades but a master of none. I’m not brilliant at anything, I’m just all right at a lot of things.” Maybe so, but his achievements are vast. Te first volume of his autobiography about growing up in Northampton, Where Did It All Go Right, was a huge hit and his career as a scriptwriter has seen him working on shows such as Eastenders, Not Going Out and the new Sky sitcom, Gates. But it is his book about his early years in Northampton that he is most proud of.


“I wrote it at a time when there were a lot of books around about traumatic childhoods. I was convinced that it would be funny to write about a childhood where nothing much happens.


100 www.r-magazine.co.uk


“Nobody expected it to do as well as it did, but it became a bestseller. It also strengthened my links with my home town. It was nice to write about a place which people don’t know much about.”


He also felt flattered to be given an Honorary Degree from Northampton University: “I was only there for one year and they didn’t even do degrees then so it was great to go back and see how it is now. Tey even asked me to open their new art department, which I was really chuffed to do.”


Andrew is also patron of Northampton based charity Tomas’ Fund: “Te charity provides music therapy for very poorly children. Some of these children have life limiting illnesses or are too ill to attend school but music alongside professional therapists can be such a benefit to them. I am thrilled to help in any way I can”.


One of Andrew’s biggest TV hits is the sitcom ‘Not Going Out’ which he wrote alongside Lee Mack. He left after the fourth series due to a cut in the number of writers but he was keen to make it clear that there was no animosity: “Lee and I are still friends, they just decided to go from Lee plus four or five writers to Lee and just one writer.”


He added “What I would really like to do is to get a TV script off the ground that is just mine, something with just my name on it.”


One project that he has worked on by himself is the Radio 4 sitcom Mr Blue Sky. With two series complete Andrew is currently waiting to hear if a third will be commissioned: “I really hope there will be more because I enjoy writing it and it’s just mine, so it lives or dies on whether I have done a good job or not. I quite like that.”


I asked him what the future holds and his answer revealed the precarious life of a jack-of-all-trades writer: “If we get another series of Mr Blue Sky then I will be working on that for the rest of year. If not, then who knows?


“Tat’s how TV and radio is - you are always waiting to find out if there will be another series. All you can hope for as a writer is a bit of solid work for a while. I would just like to be above the water level and sitting on top of the iceberg for a bit”.


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