Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the screen writer Paul Abbott. He has written some of the most controversial and successful television programmes of the past decade. Shameless, Clocking Off and State of Play all flowed from his pen and have won him bags of awards.
But he was driven to write as a response to the chaotic and traumatic childhood he'd suffered. One of eight children, both parents had left the family home by the time he was 11, leaving his older sister to bring them up. They had a near-feral existence, and lived, says Paul, like rats. At 15 he attempted suicide and ended up in a psychiatric ward. After that, without wanting to or really being aware it was happening, he wrote as a way of letting out the rage he felt inside him.
He was quickly able to turn this writing into short stories, radio plays and film scripts and to sell them. Now he is credited with making television the 'new National Theatre'. But it's not his greatest achievement - he is proudest of his successful marriage to Saskia, his wife of eighteen years, and of their two children.
[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
Favourite track: Town Called Malice by The Jam
Book: Complete Works by Arthur Miller
Luxury: Writing pad and pencils.
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