Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Rebus Novels of Ian Rankin

The Rebus Novels of Ian Rankin

As a good friend of actor John Hannah, it’s been a difficult few months trying to pull him out of his depression, since his being ousted in the role of Ian Rankin’s rogue policeman Inspector Rebus.
His replacement is that fat bloke Ken Stott, who plays himself, playing Rebus as some manic cartoon creation who would be more at home as the painted baddie in the next Batman movie.

Luckily I am not alone in my desire to see the role of Rebus once more played by John (Hannah) and it is to this end that myself and a number of senior TV executives have formed a production company to make this a reality.

Up until now we have kept our plans pretty much ‘under wraps’ as the yanks would say, but we have now decided to go public on our campaign due to a letter received last week from the creator of Rebus, Ian Rankin.
He has made it very clear that our campaign ‘is doomed from the start’ and will exercise legal proceedings to ensure the integrity of his creation and the continuance of Stott in the starring role.

This is not something we are going to give up so easily on, especially as we don’t respond well to threats from the likes of Rankin and his cohort Stott.
We feel that John (Hannah) was the right man for the job. Just look at the viewing figures when he was in the starring role – nine million at its peak!

Stott’s creation is such a grotesque presentation of a policeman and totally unbelievable in his portrayal to such a degree that the producers have managed to create a character so far removed from a real police inspector to such an extent that it would be more appropriate to have ‘Rebus’ as a cartoon series, voiced by Mel Blanc, if he were still alive to provide such a service.

What I find most offensive is the portrayal of Rebus as an out-and-out alcoholic. The producers have been very cynical in making a point of enhancing this aspect of his character in a cruel dig at John Hannah’s personal real-life struggle to combat the demon drink, since being unceremoniously tossed aside like some human detritus.
It is no laughing matter to see a good friend lying in the gutter, covered in his own vomit and faeces, when he has done nothing wrong and in fact, it could be argued that he has done everything right!

We fully accept that the character of Rebus was created by Ian Rankin. We do not dispute that fact. We also accept that all rights to Rebus and its television adaptation have already been granted.
However, armed with these facts, we have decided to proceed with our own independent production, with John Hannah in the starring role; filming to start in January 2007.
As you are no doubt aware, John has been admitted to The Priory for a course of intensive treatment. But we are wholly confident that he will be fully fit and ready to ‘grasp the mettle’ when filming starts early next year.

We liken this unusual scenario to a similar situation a few years back when we had two ‘Bonds’ - Roger Moore and Sean Connery playing the same character in two ‘Bond’ films released at the very same time. Both films were a success and generally accepted by the viewing public.
We say, in similar circumstances, ‘let the public decide.’

Obviously, due to threats of legal action By Mr. Rankin, Stott and other nameless goons, we have had to make a few changes to the character of Rebus to avoid ‘confusion’ with the original creation and the subsequent televisual representation of the character in the flabby shape of Stott.

This has now been achieved and agreed, in the almost completed screenplay for the pilot episode of ‘Trebus’ which has been penned by myself – successful creator of ‘Operation South Downs’ and ‘Quigley Cuts Down.’

Edmund Trebus, Polish émigré and resident of Haringey in North London, is a police inspector on the edge. Chain smoking his trademark ‘roll ups’ he is a thorn in the side of his employers, who frown upon his unorthodox methods of crime fighting but generally give him a free reign, as his methods prove successful in reducing crime in the borough of Haringey and its environs.

Living alone in a large dilapidated house, he collects and collates evidence and crime samples, storing them throughout his abode, to such a degree that his home has become an unofficial extension of the police forensics lab.

Trebus is a big Elvis Presley fan and as such, the new series will feature some of Elvis’s most famous recordings as an accompaniment to the opening titles, the closing titles and to accompany the dramatic police chases featured in the opening pilot and also proposed for future episodes.

We didn’t want the character of Trebus to come across as a complete ‘hard man’ especially as we have him as living alone; his family having deserted him years previously due to his dedication to fighting crime. So we have decided that he will have a pet rat called ‘Peelie’, which will be the sole subject of his affection in the first series of ‘Trebus.’ We hope to introduce a ‘love interest’ in the second series, should the first series prove popular with the viewing public. More of that later.

We are already having successful talks with an American TV network. (my influential contacts across the water pulling strings on our behalf).
And we are hopeful in having a deal signed in the next few weeks, after approval of the screenplay.

One American television executive said it all when he stated, and I quote:
‘John Hannah?!! Loved the guy in Four Weddings. If I was queer, he’d be the guy inside my pants! Stole the show in The Mummy. And Acted the pants off Fraser in The Mummy Returns! So who the f**k’s this guy Stoat?!!’

Much like that successful police series ‘Kojak’ with the catchphrase ‘Who loves ya baby!’ Or the equally successful series ‘Hawaii Five-O’ with its catchphrase ‘Book him Danno, murder one.’ We have been asked by our American counterparts to come up with a similar catchy catchphrase for Trebus.
This was a tricky one. I mulled over its inception for a number of days; being directed in its creation solely by the nature of Trebus’s character.
I felt that the catchphrase should only be used when Trebus is in confrontational mode with either one of his fellow police officers or one of the hardened criminals he meets in the course of his crime fighting duties.
To this end, the catchphrase is a ‘put-me-down’ and will form the final ‘punch’ to the end of a scene or be placed just before a ‘cut-to’ instruction within the screenplay.
The words of the catchphrase will be ‘spat out’ by Trebus and will be preceded by him extracting the roll-up from the corner of his mouth before spitting out the words – ‘You couldn’t even get in Dad’s Army!!’

Make a note in your diary NOT TO MISS the opening pilot episode of ‘TREBUS’ pencilled in for its world television premiere late autumn 2007.

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