On Andy McNab’s ‘Line Of Duty’ tour Jan Radovic was fortunate to be able to attent one of Andy’s meetings and – lucky for us – acting as Grey Man’s Land on-the-scene reporter. As promised Part 2 with info on future projects and a load of other interesting stuff!! Happy reading and thank you Jan! 🙂

October 2017 by Jan Radovic

Everyone who follows Andy McNab on social media will know that fans worldwide are always asking about the characters, or the next book. The last we heard of Tom Buckingham was nearly 2 years ago in State of Emergency. I asked Andy when we’d be hearing from Tom again, and what sort of adventures were in store for him and his response will delight everyone:

“We’ve got the film coming up – Red Notice – going into studio production in June, 2018. Hopefully coming out 2019. Book-wise, Tom will be out and about in 2019 onwards. It’s all about time management at the moment…There was tv interest in Nick Stone from The Weinstein group, but not too sure what’s happening with that at the moment. Hopefully some idea by Christmas.”

Ever the Action Man, two years ago Andy trekked to the South Pole. This last year it was the North Pole. I asked if these trips were just grist for the Action McNab mill, or if they served a higher purpose?

“They serve a purpose, but not sure it’s higher. I get asked if I want to do these things, and it’s a great opportunity. Why wouldn’t I? I try to use all these experiences to put in the books, it give you a sense of place and environment, and it’s easier to write about things you know. I am planning on doing the Cresta Run next Spring. If you are given opportunities like these, it feels wrong to turn them down.”

And on a similar theme, in an interview earlier this year Andy stated he was climbing in the Andes of Peru, despite a documented antipathy to climbing. Was this an emulation of Joe Simpson’s climb in 1985 of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes, or something quite different?

“Totally different. It’s exactly the same as the last question. I was invited by someone who like climbing. We walked a famous route called The Big W, and part of it was climbing the mountain. It is literally just plugging the iPod in, switching off and getting on with it.”

On a far more serious note, in 2010 when Andy was questioned about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), he was quoted in The Guardian as saying: “It is starting to be perceived as an honourable excuse for leaving prematurely…” You’ve lately commented on your own struggle with this condition, so please tell us more about that, and your involvement with PTSD999.
“I haven’t struggled with PTSD but more of my SAS Troop have committed suicide than were killed on operations. I have been one of the fortunate ones. If there is any struggle, it is making everybody aware that people who suffer from this deserve to be treated as a battle space casualty just as much as someone who has had a limb blown off. That is why I am involved in PTSD999. It’s a brilliant new charity doing two things.
It is making the general public aware that these people have a condition and need and deserve treatment, and they are also communicating to PTSD sufferers that they are not suffering from a mental illness, it is a condition which can be treated. They are also taking the focus beyond the military to first responders – fire, police and medics. Since 7/7 these guys are seeing a lot more than they ever used to.”

Still on this theme, I asked for further clarification: Sadly, returning military personnel with PTSD seems, increasingly, to be the ‘norm’ and the formation of charities dealing with this condition has become a growth industry. Why do you think our Government provides so little help for this, or is it something that is better served from the private or charitable sectors?

“I disagree with this. Ever since the formation of the NHS, veterans’ medical care has always been the responsibility of the NHS. Nothing has changed. 15% of the population have the propensity to suffer form PTSD if they are exposed to traumatic events. It is a normal reaction to an abnormal event. The military clearly see a lot more abnormal events than the average person, which is why there are more sufferers. The MOD are very proactive with service personnel in PTSD prevention and the combination of charities and state help for sufferers has existed since the Crimean War. The fact is that there is almost more that can be done. However, the last 10 years has seen a dramatic increase in help available because part of the problem is that PTSD sufferers feel stigmatised because they feel they have a mental illness when they haven’t. So the struggle is getting the sufferers to the aid.”

We live in a rapidly changing world, with terrorist acts in Europe and worldwide on the up. I asked Andy what his take was on the Government’s latest message of Run – Hide – Tell. Are there other things people caught up in a terrorist situation could, or should, be doing?

“No, the Government’s advice is spot on. You don’t know what you are doing, you are panicking. You might put yourself and the people are with in even more danger if you do different. However, what you have got to do before this is just be aware. If an abnormal event happens around you, for many of us it takes a long while to understand what is happening and to recognise the danger. That isn’t to say that you should walk around fearful all the time, but just to be aware of your surroundings so that if you do see something that is wrong, it doesn’t take so long for your brain to register that it is wrong and to get away quicker.”

We’ve all felt the bite of Government cuts, and in the past Andy has stated that he was behind David Cameron as ‘he gets it’ regarding military needs. How, if at all, has that opinion altered since his departure?

“If your question is whether I feel the current Government understands military needs, the answer is Yes. However, the fact is that the military are part of the bigger picture, it’s a matter of priorities. There is one pot for all the funding to come out of whether it is for the military or for the hospitals or education. That is the job of the Government of the day, to prioritise. We are currently seeing cuts to the Royal Marines and the Navy. I might not agree with it but I get the fact that the government has to make decisions with a bigger view of what is going on in the country and where spending needs to happen.”

Still on the theme of funding, I commented that despite vast sums being spent on the training of our troops and SF units with their transferrable skill sets, do you think the Government is doing enough to help those entering civvy street find work, or is this something that organisations like ForceSelect, Heroes4Hire, and Hire a Hero are for?

“Transition back into the “real world” has always been a tough thing and I agree that the system that does the transition could do a lot better. That is why companies like ForceSelect exist, they can do a better job because they are out there competing in the real world already. Also, the MOD needs to be doing more to let servicemen and women know the skills that they have got. Triservice not only produces amazing soldiers, sailors and airmen, they also produce fantastic citizens, and that message really needs to be pushed home.”

And finally, as every good interviewer knows, it’s always fun to end on a note of light relief so…

Q: Do you keep a weapon in your bedside cabinet?
A: No, of course not. (Bet he does, really.)

Q: Who is your money on for the Remembrance Day Rumble on November 11th – UKSF or USSF?
A: It’s got to be UK, obviously. (Quite right, too, and our money is on Matt ‘Ollie’ Ollerton.)

Q: How many points on your driving licence?
A: Points? What points? (Probably should have asked if he’s actually got a driving licence…)

Q: When’s the last time you ran the Fan Dance?
A: 4 summers ago. (He could probably give me a 2 hour lead and still beat me.) 
[‘Probably’ Jan??? ~GML] 

Q: Will you accept the knighthood when it’s eventually offered?
A: Yes, of course. (Phew!)

And finally, any last words or revelatory exclusive for the readers of Greymansland?
A: Buy more books!

Jan Radovic

Great read Jan! Andy, thanks as always for your time and Laura for making it all happening.
You’re the best, all of you!
Lynn & Jon – Greymansland