Val McDermkd took part in a workshop with scientists & medical experts before writing the Radio 4 thriller “Resistance.”
by BRIAN FERGUSON
Leading Scottish crime writer Val McDermid has written a new BBC drama about an apocalyptic epidemic – based on the real-life concerns of scientists.
Their concerns about the rise of antiobiotic resistance across the planet will be replayed out in the Radio serial about a mystery illness which engulfs a music festival.
McDermid took part in a two-day workshop attended by scientists, academics, writers and radio producers which she says left her “profoundly shocked.” Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, was among those to give a presentation,
Fife-born author McDermid, who is best known for her series of books on the criminal psychologist Tony Hill, pitched the idea of an “uncontrollable epidemic.”
Gina McKee, star of Our Friends in the North and Notting Hill, plays a journalist caught up in the outbreak when she attends the music festival in the north-east of England.
The three-part serial, Resistance, will be broadcast on 3, 10 and 17 March on Radio 4.
More than 200 authors, writers and celebrities, including Ian Rankin, the Makar Jackie Kay, Val McDermid and many more, will be attending Glasgow’s annual book festival, Aye Write!, this year.
Rankin will be marking 30 years of his most famous creation, John Rebus, while the new Makar, or national poet, will be at an event with former Makar Liz Lochhead and Glasgow’s Makar, Jim Carruth.
Aye Write! begins on March 9 and runs until March 19, while the Wee Write festival for children and young people, will have two family days as well as events for schools – and for the first time will have three venues.
Aye Write will be staged at the Mitchell Library as well as the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and, for the first time, at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Sauchiehall Street.
Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday, January 27.
The former Doctor Who and All Creatures Great and Small actor Peter Davison is also appearing, as are writer and artist John Byrne, Elaine C. Smith, Sanjeev Kohli and Sally Magnusson, and politicians Vince Cable, Alan Johnson, Catherine Mayer, Chris Mullen and Roy Hattersley, while David Hayman will perform plays by Chris Dolan.
Also appearing are Jenni Murray, The Reverend Richard Coles, Matthew Parris, Joanna Trollope, Miranda Sawyer, MC Beaton, Ms MacDermid, AL Kennedy, Denise Mina and the BBC’s Frank Gardner.
The crime writer talks about her liberal parents, dangerous outings with her father and the pleasures of motherhood
Interview by Donna Ferguson
The day after I was born, I was taken off to an isolation hospital. My parents had both had TB and there was a concern that I might develop it myself. So I spent the first three months of my life in hospital, 30-odd miles away from where my parents lived in Kirkcaldy. There was no bus service and my parents didn’t have a car, so they only managed to visit once in that time. When my mother saw me, she didn’t recognise me. She just walked straight past me.
We’re Scottish! We don’t talk about our emotions
All her life, I think my mum tried to love me in the way she knew she ought to – she tried to make herself feel that absolute bond that you’re supposed to have between mother and child. But we didn’t have that intimacy. A few months before she died, she said – almost in passing – “I always thought we never bonded properly, because we were separated when you were born.” That was the first time she’d ever directly addressed it. We’re Scottish! We don’t talk about our emotions.