WHO is the real Phil Redmond? While famous for creating three highly successful soap operas – Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks – like a cultural octopus, his tentacles reach into many places.
Writer, producer, National Museums Liverpool chairman, the man who knocked Capital of Culture into shape, techno-geek (his words), Hon Prof of Media Studies at Liverpool John Moores University, philanthropist and quantity surveyor.
Quantity surveyor? Well that’s how his working life began, as told in his autobiography Mid-Term Report. That rigorous training was a good foundation for starting the ground- breaking Mersey Television where cost control cru- cially helped break the BBC/ITV duopoly.
No slouch at 63 years, he complains that publicising this book is interrupting the final push on his first novel Highbridge, about a fictional northern town.
So how does this son of a bus driver and school cleaning lady, who has risen from back street Huyton in a closely-knit Catholic family to his magnificent Edwardian merchant’s mansion in rural Cheshire, describe himself?
“Oh, Christian, democratic, socialist, marxist, multi-millionaire liberal,” he half jokingly chuckles.
“Actually, pragmatist is the word I’d use. Most Scousers are. We see life as how it really is. Don’t ask why, ask why not?” he said.
He seems to have subtly tidied up his boho look. Both his Jo Brand-style thatch of hair and deliberately casual clothing have a better cut on his book’s cover photograph.
He said: “My life has been an incredible journey (which is a cliche, I know). It’s been difficult, but enjoyable.”
But he’s very keen to emphasise that success in life is due to constant hard work and, in his case, the support of his wife Alexis.