My first meeting with Bob Baldwin came about through Rik Mayall. I was working with Rik as ghost writer of his “sort-of-memoir”: Bigger Than Hitler Better than Christ – a dream job. Bob was a close friend of Rik’s and had written and directed lots of television with him. Bob and I became friends and ended up working together – somewhat randomly – on a digital game for Sony. We had just left a meeting together there in 2014 when we learned of Rik’s passing.
When Bob told me the story of his father’s life during the war and his plans to bring it to the stage (and eventually, we hope, screen), I was hooked, and only too pleased when he asked me to write the script with him. His research into his dad’s experiences – and the experiences of all Lancaster crews of Bomber Command – proved invaluable and allowed me to get up to speed very quickly with the world our story would inhabit.
Against this authentic historical backdrop, we set about creating our characters: John, the wireless operator – based closely on Bob’s father, Joe Baldwin – and the other six members of the Lancaster’s crew. Gradually the story began to come alive. Writing together mostly via Skype, we would occasionally take time out to discuss the febrile politics of the moment or laugh at what Rik’s take might have been on any chosen topic. For just as Wireless Operator is written in the memory of Bob’s father, in the DNA of the script, if you look very closely, you might just glimpse a sly Flashheart-style nod to Rik’s genius.
Working on the script of Wireless Operator with Bob has been a challenging and rewarding experience. All I can hope is that audiences will derive as much enjoyment from seeing and experiencing it as I have from writing it.
by Max Kinnings