John Milne, police officer, art student, crime novelist and television screenwriter – obituary

John Milne, who died of cancer at the age of 69, was at various times a policeman, art student, award-winning novelist and university lecturer, as well as being a prolific television screenwriter for more than 30 years and versatile.

His best-known literary works were the “Jenner” detective novel series; but his contributions to serialized television series have been seen by millions of viewers of The Bill, Lovejoy, Silent Witness, Taggart, Bergerac, Pie in the Sky and Holby City.

The son of a docker from a family of sailors, John Milne was born on September 29, 1952 in Dockhead, Bermondsey. He was one of only two students at his school to gain a place at Blackheath High School, but he left when he was 16 to join the police, although he was, by his own admission, ” a hopeless cadet”. For most of life’s big questions, he could always think of two or three perfectly reasonable but mutually contradictory explanations – a great trait when writing a detective novel, less so when trying to arrive at a conviction.

At 24, he enrolled at Chelsea Art School, where he met the love of his life, Sarah. He completed his studies at Ravensbourne Art School, from where he graduated with a lifelong skepticism of the art world.

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