This just in: how to write a thriller

ITV’s just emailed out a press release about The South Bank Show: the edition on Sunday 30 September will be about thriller novelist Ken Follett.

I’ve not read his books but I’m interested in this both because I am a novelist but also from a production point of view: how will they make typing look visually compelling for an hour?

The text of the release is below. As for about 10 seconds was my to-do list for this morning which I have of course deleted now. Because I haven’t done any of it and we’re ticking on to noon.


Ken Follett…The Making of a Bestseller is a South Bank Show that has filmed the internationally acclaimed thriller writer Ken Follett for over three years as he worked on his latest title: gaining a unique insight into what it takes to write and sell a bestseller.

The film joins Ken Follett as he goes about researching his sequel to his most successful book ever, Pillars of the Earth, which was about the building of a cathedral in Britain in the Middle Ages. The new book World Without End looks at life in the same town two centuries later when cracks appear in the cathedral and the Black Death arrives to decimate the population.

The South Bank Show follows Ken Follett to York Minster, to the medieval bridge in Exeter, to the monastery of Mont St. Michel, and the site of the battle of Crecy in northern France where the English won a great and unexpected victory over the French.

Over the three years, Ken Follett was filmed as he travels to New York to discuss his work and various drafts, in detail with his agent and adviser Al Zuckerman. He talks to experts in the various fields for his research including York Minster’s historian John David, Black Death Postponed author Samuel Cohn and Battle of Crecy expert Marian Livingstone.

The film reveals inside the world of high stakes publishing, with internal meetings discussing World Without End with Ken Follett’s English and US book editors; and the publicity, marketing and art design teams.

The making of an international bestseller.


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