When Jim Hill, co-creator of “Boon”, contacted me in April 1999 to congratulate me on this site, I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Did he and Bill Stair have Michael Elphick and David Daker in mind when they created the characters of Ken and Harry? What safeguards do writers build in when they create characters, to prevent subsequent script-writers developing those characters in ways that had not been intended? Here are Jim’s replies that he’s kindly let me publish.
It’s frightening to think that Harry nearly had a son called Tarquin! I can imagine Harry’s non-nonsense retort if his wife had ever suggested such a name for any son of his!
As far as Michael Elphick is concerned – yes – he was always Boon. I met Michael when he starred in a BBC film I had written – my first professional writing job. He played a thug with a soft side. We got on well and he was reasonably well known after Private Schultz but in danger of being cast as a regular heavy in crime shows. I asked if he would like to do a series – he said yes, Bill and I came up with Boon and Ted Childs, Central TV head man, said yes – he had recognised Elphick’s talent – and it happened in the space of a few months.
I sat in on the casting for Harry and was pleased when David Daker was shortlisted and I campaigned for him. Rocky came in the second series – I wrote him up as a character but had nothing to do with the casting – but he was brilliant.
With long running characters that you create, you try to write into their character profile all the ‘future storylines’ that you would like writers to avoid – so Ken Boon had no parents, no ex-wife, no children, no twin brothers etc. We slipped up with Harry because they brought his awful wife back but I managed to stop them giving him a son called TARQUIN in the second series – anyone called TARQUIN rings alarm bells for me.
Boon had some strict guidelines to begin with – laid down by Bill and myself – and the script editors made sure they were followed for a couple of series. Then the police became involved and big time gangsters etc! Still, I do not think the series would have run for 7 years if the brief had not been subverted.
The one event that made me realise we had a hit show (as far as writers wanting to work on it) was when a MINDER script was sent in with ARTHUR and TERRY’s names changed to KEN and HARRY. It was clearly a MINDER plot (rejected) but the writer was desperate to be on BOON. I admired the MINDER series and felt proud that BOON had a similar quality.
A piece of trivia connected to the title. Originally called “Anything Legal Considered”, we fell foul of the vogue of the main character’s name being all or part of the title. Boon had derived from an American TV series that Bill and I both watched and liked from the 50s. It was called “Have Gun Will Travel” – a troubleshooting cowboy answered distress calls. He was called Palladin and was played by the actor RICHARD BOONE. We dropped the E and we had BOON – a modern day trouble shooter on a motorbike instead of a steed.
© Jim Hill, 1999
Page last modified: 08 February 2009, 12:58