authors index

books index



The One-Eyed Monster

click to enlarge

Pan, London, 1961
(first published by Bodley Head, 1958)
price: 3/6; 320 pages

The blurb on the back:

A biting novel that takes as its theme the tremendous power of television - strips the gloss from the little silver screen and adds the third dimension to its glittering image...
What do people need most in life? Advice, says the fairground showman, Fred Miffin. Huckster or man with a mission? To producer Richard Wilton it doesn't matter. And Miffin is turning into the biggest, brightest star of them all - only to be trapped in the disillusioning jaws of the one-eyed monster.
Here is the feverish world behind the cameras - brought brilliantly into focus by a writer who knows television inside out.

'Shrewd and highly entertaining' - Sunday Express

opening lines:
Miffin came into my life one Saturday morning.

Allan Prior, for those who don't instantly recognize the name, was one of the people who shaped British television. He helped create Z-Cars and its spin-off show Softly Softly, writing a total of 136 episodes of the two series, and went on to give us Howard's Way and The Charmer, as well as dozens of one-off plays (back in the days when such things existed on TV). The sleeve note claiming that he 'knows television inside out' is thus not an exaggeration.

Unfortunately he wasn't so hot in these days at writing novels. The stuff here about TV is excellent - a regional market-trader becomes an international star by dispensing common sense, and gets corrupted by celebrity - but it's surrounded by a love triangle story that is of so little consequence that it can only end up annoying you.

Is it just me or does that picture on the front cover bear a striking resemblance to Sir Les Patterson?

Trivia Plus: Allan Prior was also the father of Maddy Prior, singer with hit folk-rock band, Steeleye Span.


from the maker of:
more wackiness
The Operators
More on early British TV...

One Hand Clapping