My Life in Seven Words
“Don’t believe it can’t happen to you.”
Although probably best known for her writing and development of her TV series and novels, Lynda’s career started with an education at RADA, soon followed by prominent roles in theatre and television.
Born and raised in Liverpool, Lynda trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where her fellow students included Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt and Ian McShane.
After finishing her studies, she began her career as an actress appearing with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a variety of productions, as well as popular television series including Z-Cars, The Sweeney, The Professionals, Bergerac and Rentaghost.
The first novels and screenplays
Whilst filming The Gentle Touch with Gill Gascoigne, La Plante wrote a treatment for a TV series based on a botched bank robbery. Widows was commissioned by Verity Lambert of Euston Films for Thames Television. It became one of the highest rating series of the early 1980s.
Following the overwhelming success of Widows, Lynda became a sought-after crime writer and subsequently signed her first book deal with Pan MacMillan. Her debut novel, The Legacy, was published in 1987 and received both critical and bestseller success. Her second, third and fourth novels came soon after – The Talisman (1987), Bella Mafia (1990) and Entwined (1993) – all of which became international best sellers.
Then, in 1990, Lynda started working on her next television project, Prime Suspect, which was released by Granada in 1991. Prime Suspect starred Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison, airing in the UK as well as on PBS in the United States.
In 1993 La Plante won an Edgar Allen Poe Writer’s Award for her work on the series. She also received the Dennis Potter Award from BAFTA and was made a fellow of the British Film Institute.
Following this further success, Lynda formed her own television production company, La Plante Productions, in 1993. Through this she wrote and produced high-rating series The Governor (ITV), Supply and Demand, Killer Net (Channel 4), Mind Games (ITV) and acclaimed series Trial and Retribution and The Commander (ITV).
In the United States La Plante co-wrote and was executive producer of The Prosecutors (1996 NBC) alongside Tom Fontana (starring Stockard Channing). La Plante was also executive producer of Bella Mafia (1998 CBS), starring Vanessa Redgrave, which she adapted from her novel of the same name.
In 2001, she co-produced The Warden (TNT), starring Ally Sheedy (a changed format of La Plante’s series The Governor) along with her adaptation of UK hit Widows (2002 ABC). La Plante also produced the pilot (based on her Cold series) of Cold Shoulder (2006 New Regency/CBS), starring Kelly McGillis, and executive produced Daniel Petrie Jnr’s adaptation of her show Framed (2002 TNT) which starred Sam Neill and Rob Lowe.
Early 2000s and Anna Travis
In 2002, after completing the novel Royal Flush (2002), La Plante moved to Simon & Schuster UK. Here she began working on her Anna Travis series, which includes Above Suspicion (2004), The Red Dahlia (2005), Clean Cut (2007), Deadly Intent (2008), Silent Scream (2009), Blind Fury (2010), Blood Line (2011), Backlash (2012) and Wrongful Death (2013).
So successful were the books that a UK television series was written and produced by La Plante for ITV starring Kelly Reilly and Ciarán Hinds.
Twisted (2014) continues La Plante’s run of internationally acclaimed bestsellers.
In 2014 Lynda formed a new Global rights and production company – La Plante Global.
Tennison and 30 years of Prime Suspect
Lynda La Plante was made a CBE (2008) for services to Literature, Drama and Charity. She is a member of The Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame and is the only lay person to be made a fellow of The Forensic Science Society.
In 2015 Lynda launched a series of prequels to the Prime Suspect series, following a young Jane Tennison and her early days in the London Metropolitan Police. There are currently seven titles in the Tennison series. A series rejacket in 2021 celebrates the 30th anniversary of Prime Suspect, which first aired in 1991. A series of events and special material will also celebrate this magnificent milestone.
In 2016 Lynda moved to a new publisher, Bonnier Books UK, where she continued the early Jane Tennison series and, in 2018, saw her classic novel Widows republished to tie-in with a new film adaptation by Director Steve McQueen. The sequels, Widows’ Revenge and She’s Out, shortly followed.
Detective Jack Warr and Listening to the Dead
Revisiting her beloved Widows reconnected Lynda with the characters in the series, and led to the launch of a brand-new series starring Detective Jack Warr. The first novel in the series, Buried, published in 2020 and provided a final farewell to the characters, as well as introducing many new ones – including a charismatic new detective in Jack Warr. The series became an instant Sunday Times bestseller and Lynda La Plante’s best selling title since in nearly a decade, selling over 150,000 copies worldwide. The sequel, Judas Horse, is out now.
In 2020 Lynda La Plante launched a new podcast, Listening to the Dead, with her researcher and adviser, former CSI Cass Sutherland. The series focus is on forensic science, sorting science fact from fiction, studying real-life cases and meeting the experts in the field of forensics. The second series launched in February 2021, focussing on Cause of Death.
Lynda La Plante lives in London and New York with her son Lorcan and Cockapoo Max and their new puppy, a miniature whippet called Pluto!