Irvine Welsh Says Her ‘Crazy Psychological Thriller’ TV Series Will Break All Rules
He seems only half joking when he tells fans that his new drama series Crime “will do for British television what Trainspotting did for British cinema”.
In fact, the writer is so convinced that the star-studded thriller, adapted from his novel of the same name, will break the mold of British crime drama when it airs later this year that it gives them a tantalizing guarantee. they won’t have seen anything like it.
Welsh reveals that a second season of Crime, which was produced by the BBC and ITV-backed streaming service BritBox, is already on the cards well ahead of its launch later this year due to the show’s response in six parts behind the scenes.
And the author hasn’t given up on another screen outing for one of his most famous creations, revealing that he hopes to partner with Robert Carlyle to develop a TV show dedicated to Begbie, the terrifying Trainspotting psychopath.
However, Welsh’s first foray into television will see Dougray Scott take on the role of Ray Lennox, a detective battling alcohol and drug addiction as he leads a team investigating the disappearance of a schoolgirl.
Laura Fraser, Ken Stott, Joanna Vanderham, Angela Griffin and Jamie Sives will also star in the thriller, which takes place in the Welsh city of Edinburgh and was filmed in the city and Glasgow earlier this year.
Speaking about the Crime at the Fringe by the Sea festival in North Berwick, the Welshman, who worked on Crime with his regular collaborator Dean Cavanagh, said: “We have an incredible cast that we never should have been able to get for the money we paid.
“It’s almost embarrassing because they all wanted to be involved. They all loved the scripts.
“After a few drinks I’ll probably come out with a sound bite like ‘This is going to do for UK TV what Trainspotting has done for UK cinema.’ It might be a little hyperbole, but it can’t be. -be not the case.
“What I can guarantee is that you will never have seen anything like it on UK television before.
“It’s miles from a standard police drama. We broke all the rules.
“Cops are bigger thugs than the pedophiles and serial killers they’re trying to catch.”
Welsh chooses James McAvoy for his outstanding acting performance in one of the adaptations of his work, for his role as corrupt detective Bruce Robertson in Filth.
But he adds, “Wait until you see Dougray Scott in Crime. I have never seen him operate at this level before. He is absolutely mental.
“It’s just a crazy psychological thriller. It is very disturbing in many ways.
“I wrote the thing, but when I looked at the rushes and the rough cuts, I was disturbed. I thought ‘what is my mom going to say when she sees this?’
“But if you don’t feel nervous or have that feeling of absolute dread, that’s when you really start to worry. I have this very important feeling for that, then I hope for the best. “
Welsh reveals mixed thoughts about the lockdown during her conversation with broadcaster Grant Stott.
He admits he was appalled that a film about Creative Records founder Alan McGee missed a theatrical release, but says the extended hiatus from public appearances allowed him to complete two new novels, both focused on Lennox.
He says, “As a writer you always have distractions and you always try to fight against them.
“For me, the lockdown was just a godsend, in a way. I have no more excuses not to work, so I just transplanted.
“Writers are weird anti-social people who prefer people who don’t exist over real people. It gave me an excuse to do this.
“I actually wrote two novels during Covid, but I don’t want to release them until things open up again.
“I’m so sick of all this Zoom bullshit. It’s horrible. I’m done with it.
“I quit doing Zoom meetings and podcasts and stuff. All my DJ buddies would send me stuff and I would have to pretend I listened to it.
“I wanted to write a novel about Lennox, the character in Crime, as a sort of sequel. Then they started filming one of the elements of the book – the Edinburgh story genre.
“When I received the scripts for the TV series, I realized that I couldn’t bring the book I had written because I felt like there was another book in between these other two. things.
“So I did Lennox books, which isn’t what I want to be. I don’t want to be a franchise-type detective writer. It’s not really my thing. But they’re over now and ready to bring out.
“It already looks like Crime could be a second series before it’s actually screened. There have been a lot of good responses and some big overseas sales.”
Welsh admitted that he decided to turn Begbie into a successful artist for the 2016 novel The Blade Artist in order to keep the character alive.
He adds: “He was still mad, but was kind of hiding in plain sight. He had learned impulse control, but was still driven to violence and still took great pleasure in it.
“He got colder, but had the cover of his family and his career. It kept him alive as a dramatic character. He got more interesting.
“We’re talking about making The Blade Artist as a six-part TV series. I talk to Bobby Carlyle on a regular basis and he’s really up for it.
“We’ve been planning to do something since the book came out. We’re talking about a movie at the start, but now you have a lot more freedom on TV.”
Welsh seems more enthusiastic about working on television than having to wrestle with the publishing industry.
Trainspotting would not be published by a publishing house now. Publishing has become like everything else, it has become mass entertainment. It’s not really about culture anymore.
“The Scottish vernacular, for example, would not be seen as a commercially viable thing because the books are destined for a global market.
“Publishers always had small brands and publishers who were interested in publishing original stuff – they didn’t necessarily think it was going to sell, certainly not internationally.
“Now you have to write in the marketing holes. If you think back to 20 years ago, there was only fiction and non-fiction. Now you have to write in gender holes. It’s a lot more motivated by retail and marketing than by publishers or publishing.
“Most of the executives who now work in publishing would be comfortable working in any organization and comfortable selling shoes or sneakers. They don’t really care about selling books, or have so much knowledge about selling books. “
Welsh reveals that he has returned from the United States to the United Kingdom since the start of the pandemic, dividing his time between London and Edinburgh, although he has retained a house in Miami.
He adds: “We are all afraid of losing connections. Life goes so fast now. Everything is changing so fast. Technology is moving so fast. Culture is becoming very similar in all places and all nations. Everything is poured out at the same time.
“Staying relevant in some way is probably one of the hardest things a writer can do. The way around this is to not even try. fictional audience If you’re doing this and you come from a culture that a lot of people relate to, you should be able to do it.
“One of the reasons I think I have been successful in writing about Scotland and Scottish culture is that I have been both an insider and a stranger.
“I obviously grew up with Scottish culture and it has always been a part of me, but I also spent a lot of time away. The ability to stand outside of your culture and watch it almost with another pair of people. eyes is really interesting.
“When you’re young you say to yourself, ‘This is shit here and it’s great everywhere else.’ But when you move around and go to different places, you realize that it is actually the craziest place in the world, it is the most quirky, weird and weird place there is.