HE was one of ours and he was lost in the Line of Duty.
Not killed like in the TV series, but times had changed and my colleague in the magazines department Pete Cave had been left behind or chosen not to move with them.
He had lived an interesting life to say the least. Married (briefly, I think) to a “Cadbury’s Flake Girl” from the TV adverts, he edited Wine & Spirits magazine in London until he had to stop due to the amount he was drinking, he wrote porn novels, had a decent selling book (Foxbat) which almost got made into a film, and was well-known for a popular series of “Youthsploitation” Hell’s Angels paperbacks published by the New English Library.
Very of their time — his books ran parallel with Richard Allen’s semi-racist Skinhead series — the blurb for one, Chopper, read: “This is the story of Chopper, of his bike, his pills, his girls and his violent bid for gang leadership. Author Peter Cave tells like never before how a greaser grows up to become a fallen Angel.”
Oh, and Pete also briefly worked with Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio.
When I knew him he was writing on an “older person’s magazine” in Devon and was less than enamoured with his work, grouchy, prone to displays of temper, had a permanent cough caused by decades of heavy smoking and often fell asleep at his desk following his four lunchtime pints, which preceded another couple on his way home (only a couple though as he was driving!) before he went out for the night. He was also good fun.
On Googling his name recently I was saddened to discover he had died not so long ago, and when the new Line of Duty series began to air I recalled the row he had with the then fledgling TV writer Mercurio.
Pete had been commissioned to write the book of a TV series called Invasion Earth, which he described as “the sort of s**t they show at midnight on BBC2”. He used that reasoning to accept a flat fee for the book instead of royalties, the logic being that it wouldn’t sell many.
He was somewhat angry on discovering it was scheduled for the prime time 9pm Friday night slot on BBC1 but not as angry as when Mercurio told him the end of the book needed re-writing. A phone call was put in to the unsuspecting writer, a heated debate ensued and ended with Pete slamming the phone down, but not before he had shouted the instruction: “**** off you nasty little north country queer.”
He wasn’t one for political correctness, Pete. He was also quite loudly spoken, which didn’t help and certain opinions landed him in trouble over the years.
I guess most of what he had experienced and how he lived his life would now be described as old-school and certainly those in charge in our Exeter office 20 years ago didn’t really appreciate his wayward behaviour, which by then would have been nowhere near as wayward as it once was.
They viewed him as out of time and out of sync with a modern media operation — a Cave-man if you like — unaware that he had packed more into his life than all of them put together.
Journalists these days are a pretty middle-of-the-road middle class bunch, in many ways reflecting the way media in general has positioned itself.
Pete wouldn’t have approved. He disapproved of most things other people approved of and vice-versa. I kind of liked that.