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British Television Comedy Scriptwriter & Author, Terry Ravenscroft Interviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

To read more about Norm Follow Here






 
By Norm Goldman
Published on February 27, 2012
 


Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com interviews British Television Comedy Scripwriter & Author of humorous books Terry Ravenscroft

                          


Follow Here To Purchase Stairlift to Heaven

Author: Terry Ravenscroft

ISBN: 978-1-908895-02-8

Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is excited to have as our guest Terry Ravenscroft. Terry is a British television comedy scriptwriter and he wrote the scripts for such television shows as The Les Dawson Show, The Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise, Alas Smith and Jones, Not the Nine O'Clock News, Dave Allen, Frankie Howerd, Ken Dodd, Ray Hudd and others. In addition, he wrote many episodes for the situation comedy Terry & June, and the award-winning BBC radio series Star Terk Two. Terry now writes humorous books, the latest of which is an autobiographical journal, Stairlift to Heaven.

Norm:

Good day Terry and thanks for participating in our interview

Terry:

My pleasure, Norm.

Norm:

Did you realize at a young age that you had a knack for comedy writing?

Terry:

Far from it. In fact I didn't start writing until I was in my mid-thirties. I have however, ever since I can remember, been a big fan of radio, TV and film comedy.

Norm:

What is it about writing comedy that appeals to you? As a follow up, do you have to be funny to write comedy or can a good writer write any situation funny?

Terry:

To the first part of the question: Nothing more nor less than that I like to make people laugh. It gives me a buzz like nothing else.

To the second part: Yes. Without necessarily being the sort of person who is cracking jokes every five minutes you do have to be able to see the funny side of things to write comedy. And no, I don't think a good writer can write a situation funny; the situation must be intrinsically funny - the trick is to spot it as that. Then you go to work on it.

Norm:

How did you make the transition from comedy scriptwriter to a writer of humorous books and how are they different?

Terry:

It was a gradual development. My first two books were humorous correspondences with airline and food & drink companies, respectively Dear Air 2000 and Dear Coca-Cola. Some of the exchanges of letters amounted to ten or more pieces of correspondence and in effect became mini stories. And of course they were narrative, not dialogue. During the process of writing them I felt my letter-writing and narrative skills improving and by the time I'd completed the books I felt confident enough to write a novel. I have now written nine. Whether my confidence was justified must be the decision of the reader. I was, and still am a great fan and avid reader of the humorous books of British writers Tom Sharpe and David Lodge, who have influenced my writing, if not my style, immensely. And although John Steinbeck is not known especially as a writer of comedy - Tortilla Flats notwithstanding - I am a great admirer of his work.

Although the object of writing comedy scripts and writing humorous books is the same - to make people laugh - they are markedly different. Gag writing, and sketch writing to a lesser extent, are quick fire, honed down to a minimum of words for maximum effect, whereas with a novel the author has time and space to develop the characters and the situations he puts them in. Having said that my years spent scripting one-liners and five minute sketches has stood me in very good stead when writing the dialogue in my books.

Norm:

What kept you going as a comedy scriptwriter and what keeps you going as a writer of humorous books?

Terry:

An absolute faith in my ability to make people laugh. And the pig-headedness to stick at it when on some occasions I find that the ability is taking a time-out.

Norm:

What would you say is the main difference between British and American humour?

Terry:

I don't think there is much difference, if any. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, a joke is a joke is a joke. Stan Laurel was British, Oliver Hardy American; I'm sure they understood each other perfectly. I'm equally sure that their British and American audiences appreciated their comedy to the same degree and in the same way.

Norm:

What is the difference between writing as a solo comedy writer and one that is part of a team of writers?

Terry:

I have never written as part of a team of writers. I much prefer to work on my own; then I have no one to blame then if it isn't up to scratch, which puts the right sort of pressure on me to deliver the goods.

Norm:

Have you been able to mentor others?

Terry:

Without going so far as to mentor other people I have in the past always tried to help budding writers when they've asked me for advise and opinion. And always will. My email address, facebook page and Twitter page are at the front of all my books so it is easy to make contact with me, and I welcome it wholeheartedly.

Norm:

What motivated you to write Stairlift to Heaven and what do you hope people will take away after reading it?

Terry:

Stairlift to Heaven is the period in my life from age 65 - the official retirement pensionable age in the UK - until my 70th birthday. Although many people have written about this stage of their life it has always been as part of their autobiography. Writing about just five years of my life - in effect my life now - enabled me to go into it in much greater detail. And, of course, no one had done it before, so it was a novel idea, never a bad thing in a book. Given my comedy-writing background, and therefore aware of what people have come to expect from me, I decided to confine myself largely to events of a humorous nature: however I also included a few ‘more serious’ items that I felt might be of interest to people of a similar age, in the hope that the benefit of my experiences might be of help to them in their pensioner years.

I hope that people who read Stairlift come away from it having had a good laugh whilst perhaps learning a little about the human condition with regard to old age.

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?

Terry:

I have an author page on Amazon with links to all my books. I also have a WEBSITE 

Norm:

What is next for Terry Ravenscroft and is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Terry:

I am at the moment putting the finishing touches to my latest book Zephyr Zodiac. It is the story of a Britain's first American-style car, the Mark 3 Ford Zephyr Zodiac, from the time it rolls off the production line in 1962 until it meets its end in a car crusher in 2012, and how it affects the lives of seven of the people who own it during that time. I'm also working on - and of course living - Stairlift to Heaven 2 - Further up the Stairlift.

Norm:

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors

Terry:

Thanks for the interview, Norm.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Review of Stairlift to Heaven

Follow Here To Purchase Stairlift to Heaven