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Brian Clemens Creator of The Professionals and Much More Talks To ZANI

Written by Matteo Sedazzari

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It is one o'clock in the morning, you are restless with eyes wide open and your once familiar and safe bedroom now seems like an unknown place as the shadow of the wardrobe towers over you. Suddenly the silence of the night is broken when you hear a creak on the stairs, it startles you, but you reassure yourself that it's the water pipes, and then hear it again but this time it's louder. Like a scared child you pull the duvet over your head, as the anxiety kicks in, as the creak becomes thunderously loud drawing nearer.....

From childhood to adulthood, we have all experienced late night fears, a familiar surrounding or situation that suddenly becomes a nightmare scenario. Yet we find it a compelling feeling, and something that we find entertaining, as everyone loves a mystery, horror or thriller. Fear quite simply entertains us and so to have successful career writing about this genre must certainly be a dream job. Writer Brian Clemens has given the viewing public some gripping stories that scare and excite. His bodywork is certainly impressive, moving across many genres, from action and adventure to espionage, law, detective stories and even comedy. A generation viewed ATV's Mystery Anthology "Thriller" from behind the sofa whilst school children across the UK wanted to emulate their heroes Bodie and Doyle from The Professionals. Many such shows are still available on DVD and screened regularly on TV for fans of Clemens work.

Born in 1931 in Croydon, to a modest family, Clemens first career choice was to be in journalism. Even at an early age he had a natural talent for writing, having written his first story at the age of six, and by the time he reached twelve he had a collection of short stories published. Yet Clemens decided not to pursue the necessary training to become a journalist, instead he got a job in advertising in London in the fifties, working up from messenger boy to copywriter, and it was during his brief stint in the world of England's madmen, that he sent his first screenplay to the BBC, which led to a meeting and in turn gave him his first break. He has never looked back, enjoying a highly successful career spanning over six decades, working on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps his most memorable TV show is The Avengers, where he was the chief writer, (being sacked once and then quickly reinstated when the producers realised their dreadful mistake).

brian clemens  captain kronos vampire hunter sedazzari zani Clemens branched into directing with the Hammer cult classic Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974) and he also penned the screenplay. The film starred Horst Janson and the beautiful Caroline Munro. Clemens had worked with Munro the year before when he wrote the screenplay for The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, (1973). A swashbuckling adventure laced with magic and with beautiful locations, all enhanced by the legendary special effects genius Ray Harryhausen (One Million Years B.C. and Jason and the Argonauts).

It would be fair to say that anyone reading this interview would have seen the work of Clemens, and perhaps not even realised it since, unlike the actors that star in the shows, sadly the writers often don't get the recognition they deserve.

My first encounter with Clemens' work was when I was a child, and watched And Soon the Darkness, (1970) starring Pamela Franklin and Michele Dotrice (Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em). A film about two attractive girls on a cycling holiday in France, one goes missing, and the other one is drawn into a world of suspense and danger. Oddly my family holidays as a child, would include a drive through France on the way to Italy, so having seen this film I recall I was fearful due to Clemens' screenplay, as we drove through the same breathtaking French countryside.

With a film in production, Brian Clemens has no intention of slowing down or resting on his laurels. Moreover when Clemens invited ZANI to his charming cottage in Bedfordshire, (which wouldn't be out of place in one of his thriller episodes), we felt honoured and privileged as we sat in his study, and Clemens spoke to us about his career, work, influences and much more.

ZANI – I understand you are making a film called IMfamous, which is due out in 2013, what is it about?

Brian Clemens - It's about a serial killer of young women who finds his targets at Drama Centres in New Orleans, that's all I am going to tell you.

ZANI – Cool, no plot spoilers. Is it the screen play from an original concept or based on a novel?

Brian Clemens - No it's an original plot from an old screenplay called Modus Operandi. I still wanted to call the film that, but the American studio said their audience won't understand the title.

ZANI – That's a shame, was the original set in New Orleans?

Brian Clemens - No it was originally set in Los Angeles because the killer ends up on a film set, that's where film sets are or they used to be when I wrote the original. Film makers go further afield now, because of the cost, like Vancouver now stands in for New York these days because it is cheaper to film there.

ZANI – Yeah, I see that a lot of films are made in Canada now. So you received an OBE in 2010, I presume you are happy about that, what's your most satisfying award?

Brian Clemens - Gosh, strangely enough I have had very few awards from this country. I had several awards from France and America. I won the Edgar Allan Poe award twice. I have also won a few in Spain. I did get a Bafta when it was called Safta but that was for My Wife Next Door in the early seventies. I created the series, but I was busy on something else, so I gave thirty six story lines to Richard Weary, who wrote them and no one told me it had been nominated for a Safta. They told Richard and he went along. He accepted the Award, but I didn't get one. I recently wrote to them, asking for my award and they replied, saying they don't do it anymore.

 I did get a Bafta when it was called Safta but that was for My Wife Next Door in the early seventies.
ZANI – You should have got an award for The Professionals, originally named The A Squad, and was England's answer to Starsky and Hutch. I loved CI5 (Criminal Intelligence 5) and the wayward way to enforce the law. Were Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw the original choice for Bodie and Doyle?

Brian Clemens - Jon Finch got the Doyle part first and he said to me at the start, "of course you know I can't play an ex copper" So I thought if he's giving me trouble before we have turned a foot into a film he's going to be deadly, so we canned that. We then cast Martin Shaw and Anthony Andrews, we shot for about two or three days and it became evident that they weren't Black and Decker, they were alike in attitude. I needed rivalry, all those things need rivalry. Going for the same girl, it's all part of the drama. Anthony Andrews is a great actor, but we had to say sorry you're not right. Then we tested some more people and Lewis was right. A lot of people think they were together because they were both in the New Avengers, but that hadn't crossed my mind.

ZANI – You also worked with Gordon Jackson in one of your earlier films, Three Crooked Men, was that your intention to get Jackson as Cowley (Bodie and Doyle's boss) in The Professionals?

Brian Clemens - That was my business partner Albert, he had worked with Gordon on a number of films, as he had been in the film business years before I came along. The first choice for Cowley was Clive Revill but he had just done a pilot for an American series, and he was waiting to see if it was going to be picked up. Obviously if you are doing an American series and it's a success, it's like becoming an instant millionaire. Unfortunately for him, it didn't happen. But we had to go for someone else, and Albert suggested Gordon, he wanted to do it, but we had to wait two weeks before he finished another project. But we waited for him.

ZANI – Well worth the wait, didn't you have a problem with British Leyland over use of their cars in The Professionals?

Brian Clemens - How long have you got?

ZANI – Staying with The Professionals, you were involved in the nineties version, C15 The Professionals, why do you think that didn't cotton on, are we too politically correct?

Brian Clemens - I am not sure, they are very well produced, I was an executive producer and wrote some of them. I expected it to be a hit and for some reason it didn't get the exposure it deserved. It was run on Sky, and now one is on one of those tiny channels.

ZANI – It might get a second lease of life. Let's talk about your writing, you have a knack to turn idyllic settings or harmonious relationships into a nightmare, such as And Soon the Darkness and The Lady Killer (ATV series Thriller) – how are these ideas created ?

Brian Clemens - I write from the point of view of whatever scares me is going to scare a big chunk of the nation. Monsters don't scare me, but lying in bed and hearing the back door open - that scares me. Thinking 'I am sure I locked it' but then once you imagine that then you are imagining footsteps on the stairs.

ZANI - So tapping into peoples' comfort zones, you wrote all of Thriller, which I have mentioned, how did you manage to write all forty three shows and maintain a high standard of writing on a prolific basis. As you don't keep to one genre, you go from espionage to murder to the supernatural.

Brian Clemens - Ideas have always been easy for me, thank you. I have got about forty ideas that I won't be around to complete. Writing has never been a problem, and writing at high speed came about from writing for the Danziger Brothers, who used to give me a week to write a half hour show.

ZANI – They were American and they headhunted you in the fifties right? To quote, they would say to you we want one scene with the Old Bailey, a dancehall and a submarine.

Brian Clemens - Yeah, I guess I am the only brief writer that I can think of that had the sort of training that American writers got in early Hollywood. You have to think on your feet, some of the best screen plays have been written in a week, And Soon the Darkness was written in two days, with no changes.

ZANI - What did you think of the remake in 2010?

Brian Clemens - I thought changing it to Argentina worked ever so well, but what it really lacked was suspense and partly the reason was that they brought it up–to- date, and they had two American women. There is nothing vulnerable about American women in my opinion, and somewhere along the line it lost its way. It looked to me it had trouble in the editing, it didn't flow, they were afraid to use the tempo that we took, Hitch used that tempo. You go with it, because you know the next thing that is going to happen is going to set you up.

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ZANI – Your discipline in writing is brilliant and no secret "There's no mystery: arse to chair, pen to paper." I take it you are not one of these pretentious people that has suffered 'writer's block'.

Brian Clemens - No I suffer from Bank Managers.

ZANI – I know the feeling.

Brian Clemens - That was actually said to me by Danziger Brothers "There's no mystery: "arse to chair, pen to paper"

ZANI – As a young man did you read or watch Hitchcock, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Claude Chabrol?

Brian Clemens - I love Clouzot he did Les Diaboliques and The Wages of Fear, which is one of my all time favourite movies. Not so much Chabrol but Le Boucher is a really good movie. I believe the only way to become a writer is to see a lot of good films, and understand why they are good. And I love Hitchcock.

ZANI – I know your father was supportive of you, as he bought your first typewriter when you were twelve right?

Brian Clemens – Yes, at twelve he asked me what I wanted to do, I said "a writer" so he bought me an old typewriter.

ZANI - Was there a book or a film or even a piece of art that made you want to become a writer?

Brian Clemens - No there wasn't. I had no schooling during the war, I was always being evacuated. Looking back, my mum, being selfish, wanted us all to die under the same bomb. (laughs) . I was kept at home a lot, I reckon I did about four years schooling, but the rest of it was from reading. I was a great voracious reader.

ZANI – And I understand your uncle used to clear out libraries and give you secondhand books. So it was in your blood.

Brian Clemens - Yes he did. My mother used to read two books a week, and my brother used to read three books a day.

ZANI – That's a lot of reading and it certainly paid off for you. Starting writing in the fifties for TV shows like The Vice, The New Adventures of Martin Kane, Dial 999 please explain how you landed your first writing job and how old were you ?

brian clemens  denis vance sedazzari zani 1.jBrian Clemens - I was about twenty two. The way I got into TV, you couldn't do that now. I was a big fan of the director, called Dennis Vance who was like the Orson Wells of television. I wrote a script called Murder Anonymous, which was silent, I got a friend to compose the music, and I designed the set, all of which I sent to him. Vance came back and said "It would cost too much, we would need about ninety cameras but it's obvious you can write, so come and be my guest for lunch, and see what we can do".

So I went out to lunch at the BBC Centre, wandered around the studios, and came back with the conclusion as it is today, that the BBC had no money. So I went away and wrote a thriller about two men in a railway carriage, and they made it. I could have second guessed myself and made it about one man in a phone booth.

ZANI – And it would have been a Hollywood blockbuster. In your early days, you went under the name of Tony O'Grady, where did that name come from?

Brian Clemens - Well I am half Irish, my mother is an O'Grady, as for the first name Tony, I don't know, must have been from a gangster film.

ZANI - Involved in two iconic shows of the sixties Danger Man and The Avengers – chief writer of The Avengers. The clothes (Pierre Cardin and Savile Row suits) on both shows were amazing, were you a dapper dressed man in the sixties and into the cultural revolution of the day?

Brian Clemens - I was into The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, and I was into sexual revolution because up until then you had to marry somebody to even get a feel of something. I wasn't into clothes, I found the Carnaby Street clothes a lot too extreme, you had to be into the Zoot suits and the velvet collar, I was never into that. But I was pretty well dressed in Italian suits.

ZANI - Steed (Patrick Macnee) started as an Assistant, with Ian Hendry in the leading role, he left after one series, and Steed became the main character. Why did Ian Hendry leave?

Brian Clemens - Just for the same reason Honor Blackman left The Avengers, he became a star and they offered him movies, he moved on.

ZANI – Patrick Macnee, was he ever offered the big movie roles?

Brian Clemens - No, he turns up in a lot of movies before and after The Avengers. Those sort of actors aren't required these days, you have got to be like Bob Hoskins and have a bit of rough about you. Benedict Cumberbatch has brought back a posh voice.

ZANI – After Macnee took over from Hendry as the main character in The Avengers, and was joined by four beautiful assistants, Julie Stevens, Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson, who was your favourite and the best to work with?

Brian Clemens - I always fancied Honor, and she was good to work with. They were all good to work with; Diana was perfect to work with as was Linda, although she had problems because she was so inexperienced. But you soon get experience, and by the time she had finished she had made the equivalent of five feature films.

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ZANI – True. You worked on Danger Man, were you asked to work on The Prisoner?

Brian Clemens - Of course I was asked, but I was busy up to my ears with The Avengers. The only reason why I did things like The Baron and The Champions, they were in the next office. I wrote two episodes for The Champions, Dennis Spooner would put his head round the corner and say I understand you have got a hiatus for two weeks, will you write me a script.

ZANI – Going back to The Avengers Mark One Productions how did you meet Fennell and Laurie Johnson, was it just from working on TV shows?

Brian Clemens - Yeah, Albert had a reputation because he didn't take the credit he deserved. He actually produced This Sporting Life, real top class ground breaking British movies. Laurie had been around a lot, he had done work with Kubrick, he did Tiger Bay I think. He was really experienced, they both were, but I was possibly more experienced through my body of work thanks to Danziger Brothers, but I had an unfair advantage because the Danziger Brothers wanted me to write an eighty minute show every two weeks. That's how long they gave me.

ZANI – But you learnt quickly how to meet deadlines, and it's obvious you love writing?

Brian Clemens - I do love working, someone once asked me in an interview what do you do when you are not writing. I answered I write, it's my hobby as well.

ZANI – Going back to Danger Man, what was Patrick (McGoohan) like to work with?

Brian Clemens - He was fine to work with, but he was a strange guy, he wouldn't kiss women in that series. Because I think he would have made a terrific Bond, but the sex side would have ruled him out.

ZANI – Agreed. Were you approached to write Bond?

Brian Clemens - Yes I was. Unfortunately I got there just before the original Bond producers broke up , Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. I was in a position where I was pitching a story to the two of them, and when Broccoli liked an incident, Saltzman didn't and vice versa, so I didn't get the job.

ZANI – That's a shame. What about Columbo, were you asked to write for that, as your style would have certainly suited the show?

Brian Clemens - The show creators were Richard Levinson and William Link. Link said I would love you to write for the show, but I like you too much, as Falk will have you doing rewrites at two in the morning, and then more rewrites. In 1978 Stan Lee approached me to write a script for a Spider Man film, but sadly that was never made.

ZANI – That would have been amazing, you and Stan Lee working on a project together. The Avengers took a break and came back in the late seventies with The New Avengers, introducing Steed and the beautiful Joanna Lumley to my generation. Would you be interested in doing a newer Avengers for 2012?

brian clemens  joanna lumley sedazzari zani 1.jBrian Clemens - It would be marvellous if someone could find the money, nowadays that would cost a million an episode. Joanna (Lumley) freely acknowledges the success The New Avengers gave her. I see her about two or three times a year, we are still good friends. If she is in a play, as she was in Sheffield last year, I went to see her and took her out to dinner. I said "you were marvellous" and she said "thank you, but the only reason I am in this play is because of what you did with The New Avengers. "

ZANI – That's nice. In 2008 you did a stage play entitled Murder Hunt, a whodunnit set in Africa. You have written a number of stage plays and in 1978 you wrote and directed a play based on the life of Moors murderess Myra Hindley. Was that well received and would you like to see it performed again?

Brian Clemens - That's quite funny, because Samuel French Ltd, who serves as licensing agent for playwrights, are reading it at the moment. They may put it out, so there is time for everything. It was a one woman play, played by Sue Holderness, who was Marlene Boyce in Only Fools and Horses. And she is a terrific tap dancer, so it was all music and dancing

ZANI – What, a musical about Myra Hindley?

Brian Clemens - Yeah, it's really weird. I have done a lot of plays which are mainly thrillers, and a lot of fasts with Dennis Spooner, who I loved working with, lovely man. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't miss him. We were always in contact with each other, and he was a terrific guy to collaborate with. When we sat down to write our first fast, we thought it was good to tape it, so it's there forever in perpetuity. Later on he played it to his wife, and she said it's just you and Brian laughing, that's because we had such a repro going. We were roughly the same age, he was three years younger then me, but we shared all the same cultural experiences.

ZANI – That's nice, kindred spirits. As mentioned you wrote one comedy for TV, My Wife Next Door, didn't you want to write more comedies for TV?

Brian Clemens - Yeah ATV did an equivalent to the BBC Comedy Playhouses. That's how Steptoe and Son were discovered from a BBC Comedy Playhouse, written by Galton and Simpson.

ZANI – Yeah it was a testing ground for Galton and Simpson to find a new comedy vehicle to replace Hancock, who had sacked them as his writers. Porridge was also a product of the BBC Comedy Playhouse

Brian Clemens - Yes ATV tried to do something similar, Dennis and I wrote What A Turn Up, it was made with Anton Rodgers and Vic Eccles. I doubt if it still exists, it was shown, got a terrific review in The Times. But they didn't go ahead in making it.

ZANI – That's a shame.

Brian Clemens - You will see that everything I write has humour in it. Learnt from the best, like Hitchcock. Even If you watch Psycho for the second time, it's quite amusing.

ZANI – Like your story for Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, The Mark of The Devil, that is amusing, a growing tattoo that becomes your worst nightmare. Sinister meets comedy

Brian Clemens - (Loud laugh)

ZANI – Staying with horror and Hammer, you had created a new twist concept on Jekyll and Hyde (Sister Hyde) and you brought in Burke and Hare into the storyline, I believe the US copied the format with Dr Jekyll and Mrs Hyde in the nineties. Do you think the author Robert Louis Stevenson would have approved?

Brian Clemens – I don't care. I don't admire him as much as many of the other early authors.

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ZANI – Fair enough. Is there still a book you would like to turn into a film?

Brian Clemens - There is a book I read two times a year, called The Diary of a Nobody, but you could never turn that into a film. They have done it on the BBC, but it didn't work, it will never work.

ZANI – Why's that?

Brian Clemens - Because it's a diary of a man who doesn't know he is a pompous git like we do and if you realise that on film, it's not funny anymore.

ZANI – I know what you mean. To me, there aren't that many writers like you breaking through into TV anymore, the only real equivalent I suppose is Steve Moffat, even though you would be pushed to find him write an original idea. I think he is overrated and overpaid, but everyone is going on about his take on Sherlock Holmes. What you do you think of him?

Brian Clemens - I met him, just the other day. Sherlock is OK, but there is a kind of gay thing about it.

ZANI – Gay? Holmes and Watson,

Brian Clemens - It's unsaid, but it's there. And of course a lot of people would say it's obvious because they were living together, like they said Laurel and Hardy were because they got in bed together as they did with Morecambe and Wise. I haven't got anything against gays, but his Sherlock is almost mocking Conan Doyle. Conan Doyle is a wonderful writer, and Sherlock is a great creation.

ZANI – Shame Moffat has spoilt it, well that's just me.

Brian Clemens - I've got a Sherlock Holmes series, I would still like to put it out.

ZANI – That would be great, and you would wipe the floor over Moffat's interpretation.

Brian Clemens - It's just simple. Someone lives in a little flat in 221B Baker Street, and I know that the Post Office get a lot of letters from all over the world to Sherlock Holmes. I think downstairs is a bank .

ZANI – Barclays I believe

Brian Clemens - Yes, he works in the bank as a junior and gets the flat above with his wife or his girlfriend, and is given the job of replying to these letters. He ends up getting involved with some cases from the letters he receives.

ZANI – That's good, a crossover between fact to fiction. Is it a "work in progress"?

Brian Clemens – Yeah

ZANI – I hope that gets made. You directed one film - Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter co –starring Caroline Munro, (also interviewed by ZANI) wasn't that meant to be a trilogy from Hammer ?

brian clemens  christopher lee dracula sedazzari zani 1Brian Clemens - I was hoping it would be a runner like Frankenstein and Dracula, just on and on.

ZANI – Why did it stop?

Brian Clemens - Because Michael Carreras didn't like it, for various reasons, one of them being jealousy because he grew up in the shadow of his father, Jimmy, who was quite a different kind of guy. Jimmy had style, and Michael didn't. He had problems of his own, and of course it was all going downhill. And now when they write about Hammer films in hindsight, in books, they all say if only they had followed the Kronos route, they might still be in business of course. They are still in business and there are talks about remaking Kronos.

ZANI - I have heard that, and it would be great to see. You have seen and experienced a lot in the world of TV and film, ever thought about writing an autobiography or a book on shows you have worked on?

Brian Clemens - I have, but it's finding the time and I would rather write scripts.

ZANI – That's fair enough. Would you say you are TV's answer to Alfred Hitchcock?

Brian Clemens – I would like to think I was, that would be great. That is the one thing I regret, I could have met Hitchcock. Laurie Johnson's very best friend was Bernard Herrmann, who composed most of the sound tracks for Hitchcock such as Psycho, who I did meet. He was a very funny man, and he knew Hitchcock well. I could have met him when he was back in England making Frenzy. Shame I didn't.

ZANI – Not only one of my favourite Hitchcock films, but one of my favourite films of all time. I understand you used to have a large photo of Hitchcock in your office in the seventies, which I believe acted as inspiration for you.

Brian Clemens - Oh yes, still got the poster. He did it all and he did it first. I know he has made some pictures that are not as good as others, but with every Hitchcock movie there is a moment, where you think God I wish I had thought of that.

ZANI – Agreed. The Clemens legacy is alive and well with your sons George and Samuel, you must be proud ?

Brian Clemens - Oh yes, Sam is a very good actor, he is also directing at the moment, or he wants to. He has made some short films, which he recently took to Cannes. Made some very good contacts. The French Film Finance, or the equivalent to French Film Finance, have said if they can get 20 % of the budget here, they would meet the rest.

ZANI - Nice one, are they are in the same genre as you, like thrillers?

Brian Clemens - Yes, George is an editor and Sam is an actor. They like to think of themselves as the Cohen Brothers, as they go by the name of The Clemens Brothers, which they are.

ZANI – As we know, you went to US early on in your career with The Danziger Brothers, and after you had established yourself as a writer, you went back to the US to write things like Father Dowling. Did you go there as a challenge or purely for finance?

Brian Clemens - I have never ever paid my own plane fare anywhere, that's why I have never been to Australia, nearly did a couple of times. The one place you don't want to go seeking work is Los Angeles; they have got to want you. Which they did with me.

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ZANI - Did you rent an apartment in the City of Angels?

Brian Clemens - No, I stayed in hotels. If you are writing you don't want to worry about eating and the ironing of shirts, you need the room service.

ZANI – What is the TV show that best represents you?

Brian Clemens - I enjoyed writing Thriller because an anthology liberates you, but The Avengers must be the number one. All I remember was laughing all the time, I remember working eighteen hours a day and loving every minute of it. Great experience, lots of nice people, I would have done it for nothing, but I didn't tell them that.

ZANI – What I wanted to ask you about is your writing process? These days there are software packages such as Final Draft?

Brian Clemens - I don't use a PC. I have always used a typewriter. I tell you how it worked with And Soon the Darkness with Terry Nation. It was basically my idea because I had driven through France and the US many times, where you get these long roads and there is nothing. You don't see a car any this way or that, and think gosh if I broke down now what would happen, or if someone came alongside me and shot me, who would know? Out of that, grew And Soon the Darkness and how I work is - I sit at the typewriter and write little telegrams, so you block it completely. I think Hitchcock worked the same, you go from A to Z, and I did that with every Avengers.

ZANI – Do you carry a notebook with you to jot down ideas?

Brian Clemens – No, I just remember them.

ZANI - Going back to And Soon the Darkness, I take it travel is an inspiration to you. As mentioned, driving through France and the US, what is the most eeriest place you have been to?

Brian Clemens - There is a place quite near Luton Airport, which has a lot of woodland. Somewhere in the woods, I don't know if it is a reservoir or a sewage farm. All the trees are hanging with? - I dread to think what they are hanging with -but it's not a fairies wood but a wizard's wood, very strange. I actually parked the car, turned off the engine, sat there in silence and thought this is a great location.

ZANI – The English countryside can be sinister. After IMfamous, and perhaps the Sherlock Holmes project, are there any other projects in the pipeline?

Brian Clemens - In 1960, I wrote a film version of The Tell Tale Heart for the Danziger Brothers, it really is a good film, wonderfully acted. Because of the cheapness of their shooting, it is perfectly adapted to a stage play. There is a challenge; it's a seventy five minute movie but the actual Edgar Allan Poe story is about three pages long. I would like to do a stage adaptation of this, and I'm currently in discussions about this, so it might hit the London West End next year.

ZANI – That would be great, I love Poe, and Corman's take on Poe was brilliant. I understand you lost a great friend this year, Robert Fuest who directed The Abominable Dr. Phibes and And Soon the Darkness.

Brian Clemens - I spoke to him a few hours before he died, he said "can I call you back mate" and when I called him back the next day, his wife told me he had died in his sleep. He ended his years, not quite in poverty, but not well off.

brian clemens sedazzari zani 45.And with that Brian smiled as the interview came to a natural close, and we embarked into the beautiful summer's day to enjoy lunch in his garden. Clemens is a humble, witty, charming, articulate and highly intelligent man; there is no self doubt or self pity. As his prolific career has made his dreams come true, of course there are some opportunities missed and others gained, but that is life and Clemens knows that and accepts it. Hopefully 2013, will be a good year for him with the release of IMfamous, and a stage play adaptation of Edger Allan Poe's Tell Tale Heart. An educated guess suggests the play will be a smash, and the time is right for a Poe revival. In addition, with his two sons carrying the torch for the name Clemens, it is the name that will burn brightly for many years to come, and rightly so.

© Matteo Sedazzari / ZANI Media

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