Listen online: The man behind Heartbeat - Nicholas Rhea

IT IS somewhat ironic that Yorkshire owes much to a man who does not exist, but such is the attraction of Nicholas Rhea's Constable series of books.

What began in 1979 as a one-off novel about life for an ordinary Yorkshire bobby has spawned one of television's longest running prime-time series, a tourism trade, albums, and a second full-time career which still delights former policeman Peter Walker, the novelist behind the Nicholas Rhea pen-name.

The latest book in the series, Constable on View, continues the light-hearted tales about the ups and downs of life in Aidensfield, as witnessed by PC Nicholas Rhea.

In this OutLoud interview, Walker discusses how his pseudonym came about, why Yorkshire is so integral to his work and the mixed blessings of Heartbeat.



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Peter Walker has published more than 130 books, under varying pseudonyms. He began writing while he was a serving policeman in the North Yorkshire force and published his first book, Carnaby and the Hijackers, in 1967. After the success of his Constable series, which began in 1979 with Constable on the Hill, he retired from the police force to be a full-time novelist in 1982.

As well as the Constable books, Walker's fiction includes stand-alone novels, a series about eccentric detective Montague Pluke, the Pemberton crime series, and the Assured series about life for insurance salesman Matthew Taylor in 1950s Yorkshire.

His non-fiction works include Folk Tales from York and the Wolds, Folk Stories from the Yorkshire Dales and Portrait of the North York Moors.

Walker is currently working on a historical novel, more Constable books and the latest in the Pemberton series, Murder under the Midnight Sun, is awaiting publication by Constable books.

His other pen-names include James Ferguson, Andrew Arncliffe, Christopher Coram and Peter N Walker. Walker and his wife live in North Yorkshire and have four grown-up children.

Constable on View, 17.99, is published in hardback by Robert Hale publishing on October 31, ISBN: 9780709084174