This coming week, I’m very excited to be returning for the first time in a while (three years? four?) to the lovely island of Symi, where I lived for a number of years. It’ll be great to meet up with old friends, see family and catch up on all the gossip: births, marriages, deaths and dramas.
But the best part is, I’m bringing some special guests with me – an ITV film crew.
You may already be aware of my ‘back-story’ – how I gave up a well-paid career for a simpler Greek island life (if not, you can read all about it elsewhere on the website) and as the popularity of my books has grown, I’ve frequently been dubbed a Shirley Valentine by the media. It’s true there are parallels between my life and Shirley’s. If you’ve never seen the film or the stage play, it’s the tale of a restless housewife who abandons husband and home for two weeks in Mykonos and bravely refuses, at the end of the holiday, to go home to Liverpool. Instead, she takes a job at a taverna, and begins to rediscover the delights of freedom and pleasing herself. It’s a feel-good film whose enduring appeal lies in downtrodden Shirley’s rebellion against the drab and the mundane and her refusal to settle for an ordinary life.
So what about the TV crew? Well, even though it’s over twenty years since the film came out, it’s still inspiring the media, and last month my publicists were contacted by ITV, who were about to start work on a documentary on how the Shirley Valentine escape has worked out over the years. They’re planning on featuring four or five women in an hour-long programme, and the story of how I went from Greek island housewife to award-winning author will be one of the strands. They’ll also be talking to my good friend Jean (who’s still living on Symi and will be telling some very interesting stories, I’m sure) and two women who had summer romances with Turkish men.
All very exciting for me – we did some filming at last month’s Oxcrimes launch, and last week at my home in Derbyshire (see below for a photo of director Norman Hull overseeing Don the cameraman covering my bookshelves). Norman’s won a few awards himself in his time and he’s known for his upbeat and positive style, of which The F**king Fulfords is a prime example.
I’m hoping the big plus will be generating some very positive publicity for Symi, which in turn will bring in more visitors. At a time when everyone in Greece needs a leg-up, that should be very good news indeed.
As for a screening date, that’s yet to be decided, but look out for me and my fellow Shirley Valentines on ITV1 at the back end of the summer.
Author of the Mysteries of the Greek Detective, books with a touch of mythology set in almost-contemporary Greece, and featuring lots of fabulous Greek food.
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