Charlie Higson was born in Frome, Somerset, in 1958 and, after leaving school, attended the University of East Anglia in Norwich. It was here in his final year, that Charlie formed a band known as 'The Higsons'.
When he left University, Charlie earned his living playing gigs with the group, but after five years the band drifted apart. He became a painter and decorator "doing up houses for posh people", with an old mate Paul Whitehouse working alongside. Their banter, jokes and funny voices would eventually become the basis of scripts for the comedian Harry Enfield, who lived on the same estate in Hackney as Higson and Whitehouse.
Charlie became well known as a writer and performer in BBC TV's The Fast Show which ran from 1994 to 2000. This came about after the producer of Harry Enfield's show cut together some highlights to show at a press launch. Paul and Charlie thought these very brief sketches worked so well that it inspired them to create The Fast Show in which they both perform various characters.
Paul Whitehouse's characters included 'Brilliant Red', 'Unlucky Alf' and 'Rowley Bristow QC'. Charlie Higson's characters included coughing 'Bob Fleming' (with his old friends, the sneezing Jed Thomas, hiccupping Murtagh Blethyn and, of course, Clive Tucker, the man who can't stop saying 'ARSE!'), 'Colin Hunt' (the office joker), 'Johnny Nice Painter' (who goes beserk at any mention of the colour black), 'Geoffrey Norman MP' (who talks his way out of everything) and 'Swiss Toni' (the lascivious car salesman).
In 2006, Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse created Down The Line, a spoof radio phone-in programme for Radio 4, and featuring some of the regular Fast Show cast including Simon Day, Arabella Weir and Felix Dexter.
Charlie Higson has been keen on writing fiction since he was at school. His first novel King of the Ants, about a builder's labourer who is offered 'easy' money to kill a man, was published in 1992. Three more thrillers followed in quick succession - Happy Now in 1993, Full Whack in 1995 and Getting Rid of Mister Kitchen in 1996.
Charlie Higson lives in London with his wife Vicky, a graphic designer, and their three sons.
Hurricane Gold was published on 6th September 2007 and is the 4th book of the series. It is set in the fictitious Mexican town of Tres Hermanes (Three Sisters). James Bond is given the task of protecting flying ace Jack Stone's children and treasure through the Mexican jungle, where ruthless thieves lie in ambush ready to kill.
Double Or Die (this title was chosen by a public vote from three possible titles) is the third book in the 'Young Bond' series and was launched on January 3rd 2007 at Waterstones in Piccadilly, London. An Eton professor is kidnapped in Highgate Cemetery in London, and when a suspicious letter, full of cryptic clues, arrives at the school, James Bond undertakes a series of dangerous gam-
The second novel in the series Blood Fever (2006) finds James Bond back at Eton where he has joined the risk-taking 'Danger Society'. During a school trip to Sardinia, James visits his cousin Victor, but after the house is ransacked, he discovers that the ruthless Roman Millenaria are still active in the area. They are led by Count Ugo Carnifex, a sinister Italian millionaire who has built himself a mountain fortress. James encounters bloodthirsty pirates, art thieves and bandits. He narrowly escapes being eaten by
The first novel in the series was Silverfin, published in 2005. Young James Bond is 13 years old and, in the first part of the book, he has just started boarding school at Eton. Here, he makes not only friends but also some enemies in the shape of school bully George Hellebore
Charlie Higson's writing career blossomed when he was approached by Ian Fleming Publications to work on a series of 5 novels featuring James Bond as a teenager. It was originally intended that Charlie would write just the first book in the series, but he later agreed to do all five. Kev Walker, a comics artist based in Leeds has provided the illustrations for the 'Young Bond' series.
The links I have given below lead to lots of fascinating information about Charlie and his work. The Mi6 links in particular are quite outstanding.
In August 2007, I visited the 'Spying' exhibition at London's Science Museum. Charlie was there to read some of his new Young Bond novel Hurricane Gold. There was a press photo call and a photographer from the Sunday Times took lots of photographs of me in my white tuxedo! I was also interviewed for BBC London TV. Charlie signed a photo for me, of him holding his latest novel.
On 30th January 2007 I went to Waterstones in Lincoln where Charlie was hosting a competition to promote his new book Double Or Die. There were 8 teams of four and the quiz questions were all about the three Young Bond books that had been published, so I made sure I had read them all beforehand! It helped my team, called 007, to win the competition. This photo appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo with an article that they wrote about the event.
January 3rd 2007 was the day that Charlie announced the title of his third Young Bond novel. The public were asked to vote for one of three titles and the winner was Double Or Die. Click this logo link to see a short video of the event which was held at Waterstones in Piccadilly.
All the books were sealed in foil and I bought three copies - one just to read, one to keep sealed up, and one for Charlie to sign.
You can see my sealed copy in this photo of me with Charlie
I enjoyed meeting Charlie again - he is very friendly and very funny!
Charlie Higson had later success in a spin-off sitcom featuring his Fast Show character 'Swiss Toni', who likens everything to "making love to a beautiful woman".
Paul and Charlie also played the duo 'Ted & Ralph' (Irish labourer and country squire).
Charlie Higson & Paul Whitehouse
Charlie Higson as Swiss Toni
Geoffrey Norman MP
Johnny Nice Painter
as Ralph & Ted
Kev Walker's Young Bond
below - Cave Fight
Kev Walker illustrations from Blood Fever
above - Vendetta
Charlie announcing the title of his 3rd
Young Bond book Double Or Die
Charlie signed this photo for me of him holding Hurricane Gold
Charlie Higson's four 'thrillers'
Charlie Higson signed the title page of my copy
of Double Or Die. The year was 007!
and his father, Lord Randolph Hellebore, who owns a castle in Scotland. During the Easter break, James and his friend, Red Kelly, are on holiday in Scotland where they make discoveries about Hellebore and his work on a secret and deadly serum named Silverfin. James eventually persuades George to turn against his father and together they thwart Lord Hellebore's evil plans.
rescued by a mystery girl who takes him to the safety of her village. The evil Count eventually meets his untimely end in his flooded fortress. Charlie Higson said that the hardest thing about this book was finding the right title, rejecting names like 'Blood Sport', 'Double M', 'Death Sting' and 'Vendetta'.
mosquitos before being
bles in order to crack the mystery code that leads to the professor's whereabouts. James has to work fast to find the pro-
fessor, and the machine he has been working on for the Russians.
A deadly chase begins......!
Young Bond novel Hurricane Gold
Both Charlie and I were dressed in gold for the launch of his fourth
The fifth and final Young Bond novel in the series, By Royal Command, was published in Sept
September 2008. Charlie Higson promoted the book with signings in a number of places. I met him again in Cambridge where he signed my
my copy of the book, and I had yet another photograph taken with him!
By Royal Command
With Charlie at his book signing in Cambridge in September 2008
written in the 1990s
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