More About the Author
BORN in London, I was raised in the tiny hamlet of Harold Hill in Essex and educated at a Jesuits boys' grammar school. Aged 15, I wrote a quiz for the late Jeremy Beadle on the London radio station LBC. Two years later, I was the biggest outside contributor to the best-selling Hunter Davies's Bigger Book of British Lists.
My own first book - 50 Fantastic Hits - was published when I was 24. I have since written fifteen books, often with a showbusiness theme. I am the author of biographies of Julia Roberts (2003) and Judy Garland (2007); a history of television scandal (TV Babylon in 1997); three editions of a best-selling encyclopaedia of film stars Fade to Black (2000, 2003, 2005) with a fourth edition due in 2010; a guide to the films of Marilyn Monroe (2000); Essex Murders (2007), a book about homicide in that county for which I also took many of the photographs; Assassins and Assassinations (2008), a look at 25 of the most notorious plots; The Arsenal Companion (2008), the first of two books on the north London footballing giants; 501 Most Notorious Crimes (2009); Arsenal On This Day (2009) and Cricket On This Day (2009). My forthcoming books include Cricket On This Day 2 (2010), Firsts, Lasts & Onlys: Cricket (2010), Firsts, Lasts & Onlys: Football (2010)and Firsts, Lasts & Onlys: Golf(2010).
I have contributed to the following books: Hunter Davies's Bigger Book of British Lists (1982); Poison Pen The Unauthorised Biography of Kitty Kelley by George Carpozi Jr (1992); Clinton Confidential The Climb To Power: The Unauthorised Biography of Bill and Hillary Clinton by George Carpozi Jr (1995); Tom Jones: Close Up by Lucy Ellis and Bryony Sutherland (2000); The Pocket Essential Marx Brothers by Mark Bego (2001) and White Slave: The Autobiography by Marco Pierre White and James Steen (2006).
In the mid-1980s I wrote many of the questions for the television quiz show Pass the Buck (hosted by George Layton for Thames Television). I also wrote a number of unbroadcast shows - you could say I have been involved with more pilots than a kamikaze squadron. Of the shows that did make the air, I wrote for Jeremy Beadle's Today's the Day (TV-am), Today's the Day (BBC), Ultra Quiz (TVS) and University Challenge (Granada for BBC).
I was the editor of Crime Stories, Man About Town and M-Zone. I have worked for several magazines and newspapers including The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Daily Mail (where for two years I was stand-in editor on the gossip column Wicked Whispers), OK! (where I was a columnist for three years), Sunday Express, Punch (where I was a reporter-feature writer and occasional stand-in deputy editor), Idols, Maxim, For Women, Video World, Hotel & Caterer, City AM (where I was the chief sub editor), thelondonpaper and, most recently Master Detective where I write "Paul Donnelley's Murder Month", a column on criminal history.
I divide my time between a book-lined flat in Essex and Oran, Algeria's second biggest city. I am presently at work on a number of non-fiction books.