Wednesday 4 June 2014

Lunch with Len .....

A very pleasant - unexpected - lunch yesterday with Len and his friend and fellow writer Mike Ripley in central London, at a very nice, tucked away Japanese restaurant.

Len was in town doing various bits and pieces, so we had a general chit chat about all manner of things regarding his books, the film industry, the new edition of Blitzkrieg and many other subjects over two hours. What I learned:

  • Len's not aware of any new developments regarding the outstanding TV/film options where rights have been agreed. Bomber is still held by the same company which bought the rights, but nothing's happened there.
  • Similarly, Game, Set and Match, the rights to which is held by Clerkenwell Films, no news. And the planned Horse Under Water, to be filmed in Spain, is similarly becalmed. So, frustrating, as it would be great to see these on screen. Having sold the rights, the ball's very much in the producers' courts
  • Len's the only englishman to have flown in a Dornier bomber marked up with Swastika, which he flew in to Siegen airbase in the seventies. Had to get special permission from the German Air Force
  • He had to battle with the 'creatives' at Harper Collins' non-fiction imprint to use the images of women in war for the new recent reissues of Fighter, Blitzkrieg and Blood, Sweat and Tears. They weren't sure it was the right approach for the genre.
  • In his research for Blitzkrieg, he established that the later generation of German tanks were too wide for many parts of the German and French rail network, meaning that the Germans had to run single trains on stretches of track avoiding passing traffic, slowing down their capacity to move materiel
Conversation covered a whole range of bases - the Holy Roman Empire, Stanley Kubrick, UKIP, Michael Caine's accent and the Japanese language. Readers can be reassured that Len remains in good health and pleased that there remains a lot of reader interest in his work.


  1. I am not surprised about the first 3 bullet points. The market research must have indicated a not healthy commercial potential. Indeed, I have been expressing the misgivings of “recycling” Deighton work in one form or another at this time. The appeal for the latter is for a fast dwindling core of readers who were originally interested in Deighton ‘s books. The time has moved on.
    At this time, when we are remembering the70th anniversary of Normandy landings, the mention of the new generation of German tanks sounds relevant. But , given that use of those and other tanks were under the direct orders of Hitler, and noting how he failed to respond to the release of Panzer divisions which would have repulsed the attempt of allied armies getting a foothold in the French soil following the air and sea landings on 6th June 1944, these tanks could at best had use in confronting the allied armies deep into the German occupied territories when it was dawned on him too late that his enemies were out to defeat him. In that situation, the allied air superiority would have countered it.

  2. I was thinking about Deighton’s comments on the new generation of German tanks, and their size. I tried to recollect what my first boss the German, who was in the Luftwaffe at the time of the Battle of Britain, and later as an officer in the German army said about the Tiger tanks and their versions. Interestingly, I heard James Holland who was with the BBC expert commentator team at Arromanches yesterday at the 70 year remembrance was saying about the battle beyond D day, and also watched his excellent programme : “Battle Beyond D day”on BBC2 yesterday evening,, where he looks at the new Tiger tanks which were as part of the panzer division, deployed to block the allies march to Caen. He and others made very interesting observations on the new Tiger tank capabilities and their drawbacks. Should be interesting to know what Deighton found out particularly these tanks' hunger for the fuel!

  3. Good blog, comments, enjoyed them.