EX US MILITARY cop Jack Reacher has starred at the heart of a host of nail-biting books and subsequent movie and TV adaptations – yet his roots are firmly in Coronation Street.
In a somewhat surprising confession author Lee Child, real name James Grant, 67, has told how the idea for his action-man protagonist materialised in the heart of Manchester.
Lee was a controller and shop steward at the city's Granada Studios – home of the soap's iconic Weatherfield set – when a trade union dispute in the 1990s saw many staff made redundant.
He told website Grantland how he sat in a series of "horrendous meetings" discussing the dire situation, where "all he wanted to do was to break the guys legs."
He then waged what he termed "guerrilla warfare" against Granada bosses in a move which swiftly saw him fired from the heart of his telly surroundings.
Yet this spurned a new career, as Lee penned debut Jack Reacher novel Killing Floor shortly after being made redundant.
At the time, Lee told the publication of his emotions while the dispute at Coronation Street's Granada base was raging.
He said: "Obviously you can’t break the guy’s leg. So how would you have it done? Where could you find the kind of people to do it for you? How would you pay them? How would you pay them in an untraceable way?
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“You’re working out all this narrative and it’s great training.”
He continued: "I was furious at this wanton destruction of what was a magnificent industry.
"Two generations of very decent, talented people had built this edifice.
"And it was being vandalised, just destroyed, by these know-nothing idiots who were chasing a short-term buck.”
Coronation Street's old Granada Studios, where Lee was based, have since been surrounded by claims the site is haunted.
The soap set now has a swanky £10m new home at the heart of Media City, in Salford Quays, which opened in 2018.
Lee released Blue Moon, the 24th book in the series, in 2019 with a Reacher book selling every 13 seconds in the world.
Previously, Lee told the Sun of the appeal of his protagonist.
He said: "Jack Reacher is both a contemporary hero and a throwback — a lone hero who saves the day.
"That type of character has been around for ever. You can trace him back through the Westerns, Robin Hood and way back in history.
"People really want this guy. Why else would we keep reinventing this character and enjoying him.
"Reacher slots neatly into the folk hero tradition, specifically the knight errant subgroup, which seems to be universal in appeal."
A-list actor Tom Cruise starred in the movie adaptation of the Lee Child book series in 2012 as well as its 2016 sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
Yet in 2020 the Top Gun star was replaced by a "taller actor" as Amazon Prime snapped up the rights to the TV series.
This switch saw Alan Ritchson take on the iconic role.
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