Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.
Journalist. Producer of radio documentaries, including, for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), The Doctors, The Teachers, The Hospital and The University; for Above the Title, The Last Lord Chancellor and The Court of Last Resort (both two-part series); other productions include (with John Humphrys) On the Ropes (series), (with Lynn Truss) Acropolis Now (sitcom), (with David Baddiel) Heresy (comedy debate show), and several travel and language programs with Bill Bryson.
Sony Gold award, for The Teachers.
(With Martin Plimmer) Beyond Coincidence: Stories of Amazing Coincidence and the Mystery and Mathematics behind Them (adapted from a BBC series produced by King and Plimmer), Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2006.
The Lying Ape: An Honest Guide to a World of Deception, Icon Books (Cambridge, England), 2006.
Brian King worked as a newspaper reporter before turning to radio and producing the fly-on-the-wall documentaries for which he is so well known. He has produced both light and serious programming. The latter includes two series, The Last Lord Chancellor, about the Constitution Reform Bill, and The Court of Last Resort, which focuses on the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
King's first book, written with Martin Plimmer, is Beyond Coincidence: Stories of Amazing Coincidence and the Mystery and Mathematics behind Them. New York Times critic William Grimes described the volume as "a collection of stranger-than-fiction anecdotes wrapped loosely in colorful intellectual tissue paper." Some of the anecdotes relate strange facts, while many involve mathematical probabilities that involve card games, lotteries, and the repetition of events. Others document unlikely but true events, such as the story of Charles Coghlan, an actor who was born on Prince Edward Island and died in Galveston, Texas. His body was placed in a coffin in a burial vault, but when Galveston was hit by a hurricane, the waves destroyed the vault and washed the coffin out to sea. It was found by a fisherman on Prince Edward Island, where it eventually washed up on shore, and Coghlan was buried in his birthplace.
Observer contributor Robin McKie wrote that "the account of Coghlan's homecoming appeals because it satisfies our innate need to place order and pattern on the world." Grimes concluded by writing: "The award for the most painful coincidence in recorded history must go to the poet Simon Armitage, who chanced upon a used copy of a book of his poems in a trash bin outside a thrift store. On the title page was the following inscription, in his own handwriting: ‘To Mum and Dad.’"
King has also written The Lying Ape: An Honest Guide to a World of Deception, which consists of his insights on the culture of deception.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of Beyond Coincidence: Stories of Amazing Coincidence and the Mystery and Mathematics behind Them, p. 10.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2005, review of Beyond Coincidence, p. 1268.
New Scientist, March 20, 2004, Wendy Grossman, review of Beyond Coincidence, p. 54.
New York Times, January 20, 2006, William Grimes, review of Beyond Coincidence.
Observer (London, England), April 4, 2004, Robin McKie, review of Beyond Coincidence.
Publishers Weekly, November 21, 2005, review of Beyond Coincidence, p. 40.
Above the Title Productions Ltd. Web site,http://www.abovethetitle.com/ (July 4, 2006), brief biography of King.