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GFNewman: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

20 questions with screenwriter and novelist GFNewman, best known for having created ‘Judge John Deed’


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

A passion for justice.


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

Speak truth to power.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?

I don’t know who this person is or why he/she was unacceptable and to whom. Any vivesector is unacceptable, no matter what bullshit excuse they put forward for doing what they do. No one’s health was improved, no product was made safe from torturing animals. These people  are the worst form of human existence,  they are reptilian life masquerading in human form.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

Tony Blair being Prime Minister: He was exactly the person we deserved for our indifference.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

Enduring friendship. Or more wealth.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

We invited these wretches to steal by our own attitudes. Why wouldn’t they steal when their lives, like those of most thieves, are mostly absent of any higher values?


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

Any lazy cliché used by the inarticulate or unthinking: ‘Absolutely’ will do, it almost always prefaces something that is not absolute or is a blantant deception. You notice politicians using it the whole while.


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

Stopping the suffering to non-human animals, and educating people to be more compassionate – not just sentimentally towards their own kind.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

Cell phones are something that we are going to come to regret. Without realising it we have welcomed something more sinister than the Trojan Horse in our midst, whilst cowardly governments exempt cell phone companies from litigation for damage to our health. There will be so much litigation it would bust these monster companies. They care nothing of what damage they inflict for the bottom line.



If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

Henry Spira (activist); Dr Dennis Jones (vegan physican); Rebecca Hall (writer and poet); John Robbins (writer); Carl Hiaasen (writer).


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

My last meal anywhere, which I can’t imagine being on death-row, would happily be organic tomatoes fried in cold-pressed virgin olive oil on organic wholemeal toast spread with organic barley miso with cayenne pepper sprinkled on top, and a cup of white China tea like pai mu tan or silver needle.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

Any time provided it is white China tea – I don’t drink alcohol, if it’s to that drink refers.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?



Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

My own. They are vegan catered, friendly with guests well-chosen.


Who is the most positive person you know?

I am. Followed by Bill Kenwright.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

I have lots of pleasures, but none I feel guilty about.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

The words: “Have I given enough?”


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

A Toyota Prius.


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

My ability to still surprise myself.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

An over-mantel, silver-framed photos and two BAFTAs.


GFNewman is a screenwriter, novelist and film and television producer. He created and produced Judge John Deed and is also known for his two series Law and Order and The Nation’s Health. BBC Radio 4’s recent drama series The Corrupted was based on his best selling crime novel, Crime and Punishment.


Follow him on Twitter @gorky01.



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