August 1, 2016 by Stephen Bentley
Open Letter to Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Someone Else
This is an open letter to someone who knows someone who knows someone else. As they say, “it’s not what you know but who you know.”
Of course I believe in me and my ideas. Some are good and some ….
This is my latest and it takes the form of a ‘pitch’ to TV companies mainly based in the UK.
Some Memoirs Deserve a TV Audience
That is me in the photograph back in 1976. I was an undercover cop, an infiltrator. I infiltrated one of the largest drugs gangs in the world.
By way of further introduction (in the event you know nothing about me), allow me to say I am learning fast about writing and the self-publishing industry.
My first book, only available in eBook format, was about my ‘road culture shock’ on moving to the Philippines. I didn’t write it to make money. I did it ‘to learn the ropes.’ I did learn – a lot, and continue to learn something new every day.
For self-published authors like me, the most difficult thing is marketing the book. I do my best through social media and other channels.
My latest “Eureka” marketing idea came to me out of the blue. I believe it is a good idea – if I didn’t then who would?
Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Someone Else
If after reading about my idea, you find you can help, or know someone who knows someone who knows someone else, then please let me know. I say that because the key to the gate of relevant people in the TV and documentary world is well hidden from ordinary folks.
My latest book is a memoir dealing with my days of UK undercover police work and surveillance. It’s just as well we were dealing with a drugs cartel and not TV producers or commissioning editors! Those dark and mysterious entities.
Let me say at the outset that the main events in my book are now history. But it is a history that keeps cropping up in the news.
Undercover police work has become topical because of the ongoing Pitchford Inquiry – UCPI. This UK government appointed Inquiry has a long way to run and is guaranteed to fill many future newspaper column inches.
Yet, the main thrust of my pitch to the TV people is based on a widely held fascination with undercover police work.
If you do not accept that premise, stop reading.
Combine that aspect with a compelling story of human nature at its best and worst, then you have the basics of a TV production to entertain millions of viewers. This is the essence of the pitch:
- The Storyline
To understand the pitch, you have to read an excerpt from my book, Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story:
The time soon came for renewing old acquaintances. Smiles was under arrest and occupying a cell at Swindon Police Station. I felt a need to see him but first cleared it with Dick Lee.
I had the uniformed gaoler unlock the cell door. As it swung open I saw the familiar face and hair of Smiles as he sat on the cell bench. He looked up slowly at me, not immediately seeming to recognise me. This could have been as a result of two things. First, he hadn’t seen me since the night of the “cop killer” incident some two months earlier. Since that time I had smartened up in my appearance a little and my hair was shorter though still long. My beard had gone and only a thick droopy moustache remained as facial hair. Second, after recognition kicked in, he was disoriented for a moment. I saw a flicker of incomprehension. He could not understand why a “cop killer” and cocaine dealer was about to share his cell with him. Then the penny dropped! The famous smile spread from east to west.
“No hard feelings, man!” is all Smiles said.
We hugged each other. Patted one another’s back like long lost buddies as if re-acquainted for the first time in many years. I experienced a lump in my throat and a glistening around the eyes. There was a warm feeling that welled up in my chest as if I was embracing my own brother. Damn it! He could have been a brother!
It was a case of mutual respect from two men who were not that dissimilar in outlook to life. With an awkward clearing of my throat, I disengaged. I shook his right hand while holding on to his right forearm with my left hand. I hoped that he could not see my misty eyes as I made a conscious effort to avert his gaze. There was another reason for shying away from Smiles’ gaze – I felt guilty about my deception. That feeling of guilt was to stay with me a long time. It was nothing to do with the eight-year sentence of imprisonment passed on him.
- Fast forward nearly forty years:
As part of my pre-publication promotional activities I established a social media presence. That presence included a Facebook ‘fan page.’ In April 2016, an interview with me was published in the Vice.com magazine.
Undoubtedly as a result of that article, Smiles left a comment on my Facebook page and a short exchange followed:
“I shall be interested to see what you have to say.”
“I will be interested in what you think about what I say in the book. I believe it does you justice. Hope you are well.”
Smiles: “I am well, yourself? When are you publishing?”
Bentley: “I’m fine apart from old age and arthritic bones. Hope to publish in June all being well.”
Smiles and I meet in the TV studio for the first time in forty years. Likely outcome – laughter, ‘war stories,’ and possibly tears on my part.
- Short Profiles of Smiles and Bentley
Intelligent, former drug dealer, bon viveur, raconteur, extrovert, likable guy.
Intelligent, former undercover cop and London criminal barrister, author, fun-loving.
‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story,’ by Stephen Bentley, will be published on September 14, 2016. It is available for Amazon UK Pre-Order and on US Amazon.Follow Me On Social Media