Tue Jul 16, 2019 London

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Peter Jukes: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

20 questions with author, screenwriter, playwright and literary critic Peter Jukes


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

‘Duende’. Sounds pretentious I know, but it basically means follow things, people, events that have ‘soul’.


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

You must change your life.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?

The obsession with personality politics –which always leads to the politics of personal destruction.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

Tony Judt. A great historian who died of motor neuron disease three years ago. He had an opinion about everything, and I could never guess in advance what it would be.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

I have. Already. For a song.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

It’s the end of the Reagan-Thatcher era – thirty years on. Oddly it’s revived my interest in Adam Smith and free and open markets. The world of finance isn’t competitive: it’s a modal monopoly: “too big to fail”.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“Too big to fail” – especially since I’ve just used it.


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

I’m still a director of an orphanage in Kenya but don’t do much these days. I do donate to mental health charities though as there is so much stigma attached to these conditions.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

They should all be pulverized and put into landfill. They’ve ruined thriller writing. Imagine Hitchcock with mobile phones. None of his plots would work.


Peter Jukes
Peter Jukes


If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

The original cast of Hamlet circa 1600 (Shakespeare probably played the ghost).


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

Confit de canard in a Cathar castle in Languedoc (with an escape helicopter on standby).


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

When you meet someone acceptable.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

A Negroni – but a ‘broken’ Negroni (sbagliato) on a hot day.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

The unexpected ones, late at night, with a guitar (see Duende above).


Who is the most positive person you know?

My composer co-writer Marcos D’Cruze – him of the flamenco Duende.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

Invading Poland in PC strategy games (or repelling invasions).


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

It would be an invisible tattoo – but would glow in the dark when women are around.


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

A BMW 7 Series circa 1990 – when they were still cool.


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I currently smoke a pipe. And I’ve personally got to like some tabloid journalists in the last year.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

I don’t have a mantelpiece. Jeez. That makes all my answers here either mendacious or redundant.


Peter Jukes is a British author, screenwriter, playwright, literary critic and blogger. He is best known for having devised and written In Deep starring Nick Berry and Stephen Tompkinson, two episodes of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Burn Out, the two-hour first episode of the Emmy Award winning Waking the Dead series. His most recent book, The Fall of the House of Murdoch, was published in August 2012.


To read Peter Jukes’ blog here and to learn about his new musical, Mrs Gucci, premiering next year, click here.


Read Jukes’ column on The Daily Beast by clicking here and follow him on Twitter here.



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