ONE OF the writers of timeless sitcom Mr Bean has spoken about the profound impact of his Sussex upbringing as he recently launched his debut novel, Rough Music.

Robin Driscoll, who lives in Hurstpierpoint, has also written for beloved British sketch show Alas Smith and Jones. Robin grew up in Lancing, where he attended Boundstone Community College.

And he believes it was his time in the school that allowed him to forge his career in entertainment.

“We had some truly inspirational teachers – art teachers and English teachers –and a lot of us went on to have careers in the arts,” he said.

The Mr Bean sitcom became a worldwide hit after broadcasting on ITV, starting in 1990.

He reserved particular praise for former headteacher Steve Love, who he said was instrumental in encouraging writers like him to pursue their passion.

Mr Driscoll went on to study at Worthing College and toured with theatre group “Cliffhanger” during the 1970s.

Forty years later, he is still producing work that he is passionate about, although his new novel is a slight change of direction – a mystery thriller.

He said: “I think most people who are familiar with my work would have expected me to write a comedy.”

However, as an avid fan of suspense fiction, writing his own mystery novel was too tempting to resist.

There is still plenty in the book for fans of Mr Driscoll’s previous projects to enjoy.

Describing the novel as a cross between The Firm and the classic 1940s farce Whisky Galore, he explained how his characteristic zany humour is still at its core.

“Comedy has been my life. I couldn’t possibly have written a book without including a bit of my own sense of humour,” he said.

The novel has more in common with the previous pair than just tone, as readers are whisked from bustling midtown Manhattan to a remote Scottish island.

He said he enjoys the challenge of bringing characters to life on the page.

“I love it,” he said.

“When you’re a writer, you’ve got to enjoy the process.”

And he believes that anyone can manage to pen their own page turner, with the right resources and encouragement, like that he received at Boundstone and Worthing.

He said: “Lots of people come to me with something they think would be a good idea for a TV show.”

“I always tell them ‘It’s your idea. It will turn out much better if you sit down and write it yourself.’”

Rough Music is published by Austin Macauley and is available to buy from bookshops and online now.