My Yorkshire: GP Taylor in Paradise

Best seller GP (Graham) Taylor, described as the new CS Lewis, was born and grew up in Scarborough. Follow him on a filmed journey back to his roots.

Taylor worked in the London record industry until joining North Yorkshire Police in his early twenties.

He retired in 1995, was ordained by the Church of England and became a parish priest. At 42, he started writing Shadowmancer , drawing on history and local folklore and sold his motorbike to publish it himself. It was such a hit, Faber and Faber signed him up for a three-book deal. His other novels include Wormwood and The Curse of Salamander Street . The latest, Mariah Mundi The Midas Box is set in Scarborough and is the first in a seven-book series.

What's your first memory of being outdoors?

I was three years old and I was in the back garden of our council house in Scarborough. We had a bulldog and it was biting my trousers. I had had enough, so I took hold of the dog and bit its leg. It never came near me again.

What's your favourite part of the county and why?

It has to be the south bay at Scarborough.

I love the views down the coast to Filey and the bright lights of the cafs and amusements. It gets better by the year – especially now all the renovation is taking place.

What's your idea of a perfect weekend/ day out in Yorkshire?

A perfect day out for me is a trip to Helmsley – especially on a Friday. There is always so much to do, great places to eat and fantastic shops.

Do you have a favourite walk, or view?

My favourite walk is along the railway line from Scalby to Ravenscar. In 10 miles you can see every different landscape Yorkshire has to offer. There are smugglers and ghosts, high cliffs and dark moors – what else can you ask for? My favourite view is standing outside the Crown Hotel on the Esplanade at night and looking at the lights of the south bay – inspirational.

Which Yorkshire sportsman/woman (past or present) would you like to take for lunch?

Craig White – the guy is such a gentleman.

I really admire the way he was captain of Yorkshire Cricket Club. He did such a good job. We both love motor bikes, so we could get to lunch by touring the back roads to Helmsley. He was a parishioner of mine when I was the Vicar of Cloughton and he was always a pleasure to talk to.

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star (past or present) would you like to take for lunch?

It would have to be Sean Bean. We both love Sheffield United and wouldn't run out of conversation. Plus, I need some plumbing done at the house, so he would be ideal to ask round. I hear he's a better plumber than an actor, and that takes some doing. If he happens to be busy, then I'll have a pint with Christa Ackroyd, instead.

If you had to name your Yorkshire hidden gem, what would it be?

Boggle Hole is my favourite place. You get such a warm welcome at the Youth Hostel. Peta, the warden, is a great host and makes guests feel very welcome. It is such a beautiful place with the cliffs and the sea, with an atmosphere all of its own – spooky and yet very magical. She once drove me through the sea in her Land Rover to take me to the top of the hill. The waves crashed over the bonnet and all she did was laugh. Thankfully, she's a coastguard and knows what she's doing.

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?

We are a nation to ourselves – warm, friendly people with big hearts and deep pockets. It is a generous county of great beauty and elegance, with people of talent and ingenuity.

Do you follow sport in the county, and if so what?

I love cricket. I played village league for many years and also for North Yorkshire Police. I don't get as much time as I used to and ill-health has stopped me getting my arm over.

When the cricket went to Sky and Channel 4, I lost interest, but now I keep pace via the Yorkshire Post website – they have the best sports coverage of any daily newspaper.

What about Yorkshire's cultural life?

What more could you want from Yorkshire? We have the Kaiser Chiefs, David Hockney and Sir Jimmy Savile.

Yorkshire is full of artists, poets and writers. In Scarborough, we have the Stephen Joseph Theatre, and Leeds has the Playhouse. This is the cultural capital of the world. Go no further than the bottom of your street – Yorkshire is the place to be.

Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub?

If it's a lunch, then it has to be The Yew Tree Caf in Scalby village – the best steak and chips in the world. Simon is a fantastic chef. Italian would mean a trip to Tricolo's in Eastborough, Scarborough.

The pizza is superb. For a special night out, I go to The White Horse and Griffin in Church Street, Whitby. The food is amazing and you may even share your table with a ghost.

Do you have a favourite food shop?

The Deli in Helmsley. The smell of the pork pies lure you inside and the selection of cooked meats and cheese is amazing. I have to stop and buy something every time I drive through.

How do you think Yorkshire has changed in your time?

There is a growing confidence and pride in who we are. Sadly, there is a down side in that we have a high teenage pregnancy rate and a chronic drug problem. Some of our inner-city estates are neglected and people are without hope. There are schools that have few books and disaffected teachers – but that is the same the world over.

Who is the Yorkshireman or woman you most admire?

Without a doubt, Lady Emma Ingilby at Ripley Castle. She works so hard behind the scenes to promote the county.

She has a great sense of humour and does a lot for charity. To me, she is typical of so many people who have a heart for Yorkshire. They get on with life without any fuss, doing good for others and making Yorkshire a better place to live in.

Has Yorkshire influenced your work?

Shadowmancer and Mariah Mundi were both heavily influenced by living here.

They were set where I used to live. One critic said that the countryside was the most powerful character in Shadowmancer, as if it was alive.

Name your favourite Yorkshire author/artist/musician.

Gervase Phinn is brilliantly funny and the singer Kate Rusby is truly inspirational. Wendy Tate is an incredible artist and photographer.

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