I HAVE written much over the past few months about the history of Warrington and its musical and entertainment heritage.

There’s an area I’d like to focus on in my coming columns that I’ve not explored previously.

Yet it’s an area in which Warrington is particularly rich: the literary associations of our town.

Think of Warrington’s famous writers and most people will automatically think of Lewis Carroll, whom I’ve written about before.

Yet, we have many other well known authors who were either born here or spent formative years of their lives round these parts.

The ones I want to talk about in the next few columns are: Tim Firth, Robert Westall, Anthony Burgess, Helen Walsh, Martin Edwards, Robin Jarvis and Mandasue Heller.

First up, Tim Firth.

I first became aware of Tim in 1994 through his television programme All Quiet On The Preston Front, about a group of friends who were in the territorial army together.

It was a brilliantly funny comedy drama.

I was working as a reporter on a newspaper in Cumbria when it was on. It turned out that our arts editor was a relative of Tim’s and she put me in contact with him.

So I found myself visiting him at his home in Frodsham where we sat and talked about his career and the art of writing for a couple of hours.

Over the years I followed his career and interviewed him a couple more times. He was kind enough to read a script of mine before it was staged at a theatre in Cumbria.

Tim went to school at Stockton Heath Primary School (which later inspired The Flint Street Nativity, a spoof of all school nativities) and Bridgewater High School.

From an early age he was writing songs and, after a writing course with Willy Russell, plays. He had his first scripts produced while a student at Cambridge University, where his friend Sam Mendes (whatever happened to him?) directed those early efforts.

Alan Ayckbourn picked up on Tim’s obvious talent and staged his next few plays, A Man of Letters, End of the Food Chain, and Neville’s Island.

This led to his first TV work on The Bill and then his own series Preston Front and Border Cafe.

Of course, these days we know Tim for his screenplays for movies such as Calendar Girls and Kinky Boots, both of which are now smash musicals. Indeed, he wrote the Calendar Girls musical with Gary Barlow, the Frodsham lad who Tim first met as part of a songwriting competition when Gary was 15.

Not bad for a lad from Stockton Heath.

Next week I will look at the life and career of one of my favourite writers from when I was growing up: Lymm’s Robert Westall.