Mark Billingham’s Rule Book Of Crime

Saturday 2 March



Bestselling crime writer and former stand-up comedian Mark Billingham has always been obsessed with the creative criminal minds of the past. Here Mark sets out to detect the clues dropped, in the radio archives, by his favourite crime writers: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dame Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, PD James and Henning Mankell.

Clues that reveal why their sleuthing creations - Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Philip Marlowe, Adam Dalgliesh and Kurt Wallander - are so enduring. Having created his own flawed crime fighter, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, Mark’s wrestled with the thorny issue of inventing a distinctive new voice among myriad detecting greats. What’s more important, devious plotting or debauched heroes, a killer in-plain-sight or rug-pulling twists?

In plundering the archive for answers, Mark has uncovered a hidden BBC radio detecting gem. Debuting in the late 1970s and running for a few seasons into the 1980s, it starred an actor who could be a lead in TV classic Cathy Come Home and voice an iconic children’s cartoon. It was penned by a writer that worked on TV police dramas Z Cars and Softly Softly. All will be revealed on Mark Billingham’s Rule Book Of Crime.

In 2009, Mark Billingham became the first writer to twice win the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

His programmes choices are:

1. Sherlock Holmes with Carleton Hobbes

2. Nemesis (Radio 4 1998, Episode 1. Written by Agatha Christie, starring June Whitfield as Miss Marple).

3. A Coat, A Hat, A Gun (Radio 4, 2011, Documentary about Raymond Chandler, presented by Harriett Gilbert)

4. Cover Her Face (Radio 4, 1993, Episode 2. Written by PD James, starring Hugh Grant)

5. Bookclub: Henning Mankell (Radio 4, 2010, Henning Mankell talks to Jim Naughtie about his novel Sidetracked, featuring Kurt Wallander)

6. Mark’s archive hidden gem: from BBC Radio, 1984

Producer/Peter McHugh for the BBC

BBC Radio 4 Extra Publicity