Neil Forsyth

Neil Forsyth (born 1978 Dundee, Scotland) is a Scottish author, television writer and journalist.

Early life

Forsyth grew up in Dundee where he attended the High School of Dundee[1] and his first writing appeared in a Dundee United fanzine.[2] He graduated from Edinburgh University[3] and held several jobs including as a nightclub promoter[1] before working as a freelance journalist.[2] He is also a graduate of the New York Film Academy.[4]


Forsyth's first book Other People's Money (2007) told the true story of the Scottish fraudster Elliot Castro. It received significant coverage and was well received [1] though some newspapers questioned the book's moral purpose. "They thought it was wrong that we should profit from Elliot's crimes," Forsyth said,[1] "But that's always something I protested against quite vigorously. Elliot was caught, and sentenced, and paid for his crimes." The film rights were purchased by the producers of The Last King of Scotland.[5] In 2014 it was reported the book is being adapted for film by Crabtree Films with Forsyth writing the screenplay.[6]

Forsyth has written four books featuring the fictional comic character Bob Servant: Delete This At your Peril (2007), Hero of Dundee (2010), Why Me? (2011), and Ask Bob (2015). In 2009 Irvine Welsh selected the then out of print Delete This at Your Peril as his choice in an Esquire Magazine poll for the Funniest Books Ever.[7] Upon the book’s reissue, Barry Fantoni, wrote “'I have worked with a lot of funny men - Peter Cook, Spike Milligan, Harry Enfield. Bob Servant is in a class of his own”.[8] In 2011, The Scotsman said “Bob Servant has attained national treasure status” while the Press and Journal called Bob Servant “a modern Scottish comedy classic.” [9]

Forsyth has noted the Dundonian poet William McGonagall as an influence for the character along with Harry Flashman.[4] The most recent Bob Servant book, Ask Bob, is a compilation of readers’ questions and included letters from fans Sir Chris Hoy, Guy Berryman, Irvine Welsh, John Niven, Barry Fantoni and Jack Whitehall.[10][11]

After watching a medium perform in Edinburgh, Forsyth wrote the novel Let Them Come Through (2009).[12] Forsyth researched the psychic world by attending live shows[13] and speaking to experts including James Randi.[14] Let Them Come Through was published in the UK and the United States and was praised for Forsyth's dark humour.[13][15] Forsyth’s second novel, San Carlos (2014), is set in Ibiza in the 1980s and is a thriller following a reformed neo-Nazi seeking a new life. San Carlos was Book of the Week in the Daily Mirror while The Herald said that Forsyth had shown a “different side to his talents” in the “pacy, unpretentious thriller.” [16]


Bob Servant made the leap to television in early 2013 in the cult BBC Four comedy Bob Servant Independent which added Jonathan Watson and Rufus Jones to the existing radio cast.[17] The series was well-received and a second series (renamed Bob Servant) was broadcast in 2015 on BBC Four across the UK and BBC One in Scotland. The second series won the Royal Television Society Scotland award for Comedy.[18]

In 2016, Forsyth wrote two one-off Playhouses for Sky. Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon was based on the apocryphal story that on 9/11, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson hired a rental car and drove from New York to Ohio.[19] The Playhouse was shot in late 2015, starring Brian Cox, Elizabeth Taylor, Joseph Fiennes. It also featured Carrie Fisher in one of her final roles. Before the planned 2017 transmission of the show adverse reaction to the casting of Fiennes as Jackson, particularly from Jackson’s daughter Paris Jackson, saw the show controversially pulled by Sky.[20]

Forsyth’s other Sky Playhouse, Waiting for Andre, concerned the real-life friendship between Samuel Beckett (David Threlfall) and a teenage Andre the Giant (Liam Macdonald). The Playhouse was transmitted in January 2017 to positive reviews. Observer called it a “gorgeous and sumptuous half-hour” and noted it was a “great shame Beckett himself didn’t get to enjoy this delightful slice of life.”.[21] Forsyth was nominated for a 2018 Writer’s Guild Award for Waiting For Andre in the Best Short Form TV Drama category. [22]. Forsyth was nominated for a 2018 Writer’s Guild Award for Waiting For Andre in the Best Short Form TV Drama category. The series of Playhouses (Urban Myths) was nominated for an International Emmy. [23]

In 2017, Forsyth wrote Eric, Ernie and Me, a one-off drama about Morecambe and Wise from the point of view of their writer Eddie Braben. It was broadcast on BBC4 on 29 December 2017 to a positive reception. The Observer said “What a lovely programme, rewatchable often”.[24], while the Sunday Express said, “Eric, Ernie And Me was not just beautifully realised nostalgia…but a reminder of how difficult the creative process can be.”.[25]. Eric, Ernie and Me was nominated for a number of awards, and Forsyth was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award for his writing of the show.[26]

Political life

Forsyth was the President of the national Football Association of the Principality of Sealand from 2009 to 2013. He was appointed by Michael Bates, The Prince Regent of Sealand, on 23 December 2009.[27] In 2013, the Sealand national football team replaced him with Julian Dicks and later Ed Stubbs after Sealand lost to Occitania 8-0 on 5 July 2013.


  1. "A New Radio Home For Uncivil Bob Servant". The Dundee Courier. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  2. "Neil Forsyth Interview". Write Words. 11 September 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  3. Macgregor, Fiona (28 September 2007). "The Spam Busters". Edinburgh: The Scotsman. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  4. "Brian Cox To Play Dundonian 'Man of the People'". The Dundee Courier. 4 October 2010. Archived from the original on 5 November 2010. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  5. "Conman to Make £100,000 From Movie".
  6. "Brian Kelly to direct fraudster drama".
  7. "How A Scottish Author Scammed The Email Spammers To Write A Bestselling Book". The Daily Record. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  8. "delete at your peril". birlinn. 10 January 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  9. "Servant delivers". The Press and Journal. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  10. "coldplay star pens latter". Evening Telegraph. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  11. "books that inspired Hoy". Sunday Post. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  12. "Book Previews". The Scotsman. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  13. "Neil Forsyth Interview". Aesthetica Magazine. 1 August 2009. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  14. "Psychics Next Target For Neil Forsyth". The Dundee Courier. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  15. "Let Them Come Through by Neil Forsyth". Bookbag. 1 August 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  16. "San Carlos". The Herald. 30 April 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  17. "BBC Bob Servant Independent". Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  18. "Winners of RTS Scotland Awards 2014 announced". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  19. "Urban Myths". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  20. "Show Controversially Pulled". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  21. "New Playhouse". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  22. "Writers Guild". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  23. "International Emmy Award Nominations Unveiled".
  24. "Guardian TV review". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  25. "Express Christmas TV reviews review". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  26. "RTS Midlands Awards 2018 Nominees".
  27. "Principality of Sealand to Have National Football Team". PR Log. 23 December 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
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