Remember that bloke in Rita, Sue and Bob Too? Now he’s written a novel

Renowned stage, television and film actor George Costigan releases his debut novel The Single Soldier at the end of the month.

Costigan’s face will be familiar to fans of gritty British drama. He was star of the 1987 hit film Rita, Sue and Bob Too! and the recent award-winning television drama Happy Valley.The Single Soldier

Costigan, 70, who grew up in Manchester, has been a motor-parts storeman, a trainee accountant, another trainee accountant (both failed) a steel-worker, an insurance clerk, a wood-cutter, a bookseller, a record salesman, a book-keeper for a wedding dress business – and then someone asked him to be in a play.

College followed and a career that started in children’s theatre, on to Butlins Repertory Theatre in Filey and eventually landed him with the rep company at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre.

It there he met some hugely influential people including Willy Russell (Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine), Chris Bond (Sweeny Todd), Alan Bleasedale (Boys from the Black Stuff) and his wife Julia North who was also in the company.

More recently, his acting career has included working with Sally Wainwright (Scott and Bailey, Unforgiven and Happy Valley), Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty) Joe Penhall (The Long Firm) and great directors like Alan Clarke (Rita, Sue and Bob, Too!) and Clint Eastwood (Hereafter). On stage, he has directed Daniel Day-Lewis and the late Pete Postlethwaite.

The Single Soldier, described as “a magnificent, big beast of a book” by playwright, musician and novelist Russell, is set in France during the German occupation.

It is said home is where the heart is, but when war rips from a young man everything he loves, will he be able to find his way back to anything that matters?

Amidst the political, personal and emotional devastation of the German occupation, this young man moves his house, using only his hands, a cow and a cart, to a field six kilometres the other side of his village. Where he will rebuild it? Why would anyone do such a thing? As the community around him prepares for peace, can he?

Costigan said:“I believe in the arts, it’s given me my life. I also believe it’s a duty to support the arts locally, all over the country, because culture and the arts add hugely to people’s lives.

“I am thrilled this work (The Single Soldier) has made it to print, a long-held ambition and if people enjoy it, so very much the better.”

The Single Soldier, is available to pre-order via Amazon, the Urbane Publications website and all good bookshops and will be officially released on Thursday, March 30.