My haven: Bestselling author and screenwriter, Lynda La Plante, 69, relaxes in the 'crime room' of her London mews house
21:30 GMT, 15 June 2012
On the case: Lynda with some of her treasured possessions
1 ODDS-ON FAVOURITE
This is my favourite horse, Supply And Demand, winning the EDS Handicap at Epsom in 2000. I’ve owned several horses over the years, but he was special and had what they call ‘a racing heart’. I bought him as a member of a syndicate, and we named him after a TV show I’d written. He went on to win a string of races and made us a fair bit of money – but sadly his racing days finally came to an end so I had to let him go.
2 MUM'S THE WORD
This photo of my mother Florence – or Flottie as she was known – was taken in the 20s. She had an opinion on everything, even how Martina Navratilova should play tennis, despite having never lifted a racquet in her life. She was a Liverpool fan and I’ll never forget telling her I had a show on TV once, and her saying, ‘If it clashes with the match, you’ve had it!’ She was buried in her Liverpool kit when she died at 95 a few years ago.
3 VERY BIG CAT
I’ve always loved panthers because they’re wily, sleek and untamable. About 20 years ago I became obsessed by a stuffed black panther I saw in an antiques shop, only to be told it was a Victorian antique with a price of 15,000. A few years later I picked up this toy ‘security panther’, whose eyes light up and who screeches when you walk by. All my calling cards and stationery are now adorned with a black panther logo.
4 MY BIG BREAK
Widows was my breakthrough TV commission in 1983, and it’s shaped everything I’ve done since. I was an actress when I got the idea – about the widows of three armed robbers killed in a raid – and I sent a proposal to Verity Lambert, a TV executive I’d met while working on Minder. She asked me if I could write it, and I said, ‘I don’t know, but I’ll have a go.’ It was a huge success and I haven’t acted since – writing’s far more enjoyable.
5 AWARDS SHOW
I received the Edgar Allan Poe Award – the highest accolade for a crime writer in America – in 1993 for the first series of Prime Suspect. When I was told I was up for it I had no idea of its importance – and when I got it I thought it was a bit of a joke. Then I found out just how prestigious it is and I was blown away. I’ve also got my CBE here on the desk – I’m proud of my awards, and don’t believe in hiding them away.
6 INSIDE JOB
It was thanks to my contact with Jackie Moulton, one of the few female DCIs in the early 90s, that Prime Suspect was that rare thing – an authentic, true-to-life police show. She was the prototype for Jane Tennison, and granted me access to several police incident rooms, where there is a tremendous amount of black humour, which I tried to reflect in the show. This laughing policeman was a gift from the police to thank me for getting it right.
Lynda's latest novel, Backlash, is out now (Simon & Schuster, 18.99)