THIRTY THREE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BITTER PERCEPTIONS

  1. Bitter Perceptions began as a Nollywood screenplay with the working title Diana Duru: The Last Fifteen Years. Unable to pitch the script to film producers, my project was abandoned for many years after my return to the UK.
  2. Lynda Stephens’ appearance on Minaj TV’s Movies En Vogue ignited my passion for screenwriting. The University of Calabar Theatre Arts student claimed her original script was rewritten by professional writers before making the big screen; to ensure my own creation remained as intact as possible, I restricted each screen to no more than five pages.
  3. Diana Duru: The Last Fifteen Years received the novelisation treatment in 2017 after I became an avid reader of Dreamer’s Sanctuary, a fan fiction website dedicated to the Backstreet Boys – Doris’ favourite band. The site’s creator Julie Lewis is a Chicago-based teacher and published author who takes time to research her characters, giving each story a sense of realism. She’s inspired me a great deal, and I’ve since written a Backstreet Boys fanfic of my own! The whole novel contains several references to the band – the band manager who swindles Jide’s band out of their earnings is based on Lou Pearlman.
  4. BP’s heroine Doris Ezinne Duru was originally named Diana Duru in the movie script. Her name is changed to the more common ‘Doris’ to make her relatable.
  5. The film version Jide Okoroafor came from a poverty-stricken background like the character in the novel, but also had a father and siblings, and lived in Port Harcourt rather than Aba. The story starts with Diana and Jide dating in secondary school; both fall out before Jide invites his girlfriend to his residence for a study session. You know the rest…
  6. BP runs from 2000 to 2015. In the Nollywood version the story begins in 1985 and ends in the new millennium.
  7. Fashion designer Ebonee Jade is a parody of real-life fashion designer Tiffany Amber.
  8. Harrison was a minor character in the screenplay who only appeared in one scene; he briefly dated Diana in 1988 when they both attended the University of Port Harcourt. In the novel Harrison is based on a real-life ex-boyfriend.
  9. In the Nollywood version Rupert Duru worked at First Bank, and was transferred to Lagos after his daughter’s secret ordeal at Jide’s. Diana remained in Port Harcourt to attend university, but moved to Lagos after graduation.
  10. Jide was also meant to work in a bank with Shirley’s father Hogan Bassey as his boss. As my previous work had included bankers, Bass Merchant Bank metamorphosed into Bass Communications.
  11. Bass Communications is loosely based on DBN, another channel which rose to prominence in Nigeria after obtaining the rights to broadcast the Olympic Games in 1984. BassNet is inspired by AiNet, AIT’s short-lived network service.
  12. Charles Obot, Jide’s mentor at Bass FM, was named after Charles Silas and Christy Obot, two former presenters with NTA Uyo.
  13. Doris’ best friend Juliet Anyanwu was originally named Ifeoma. The film role was written with actress Juliet Ibeh in mind.
  14. Nigerian Hairways was an actual sitcom written for Galaxy TV in the early 00’s when they launched a new channel in Lagos and requested original scripts from budding writers. My hand-written work was submitted to a producer, never to be seen again. The Bass FM reception where Jide first meets Ekaette is based on Galaxy TV Lagos’ waiting room.
  15. The auditions and TV recording were taken from my own experience with Nigerian TV, having once auditioned to present the AIT programme Zebra Crossing, but the job went to Lola and Kunle; the duo are mentioned in Bitter Perceptions as TRI Awards nominees, but lose the prize. Ha!
  16. In the screenplay Chief Bassey appears in one screen. In BP, he is only mentioned but never seen – this is to give him an fearsome God-like presence.
  17. Emeka Obasi is renamed Mex Orlando in BP to avoid confusion with the Nigerian Hairways character of the same name.
  18. Dr. Ernestine Julius-Njemanze’s appearance is based on an African-American artist married to a critically-acclaimed Nigerian singer. Name withheld.
  19. Doris’ Aunt Bernadette is a combination of the white mother figures I grew up with in London before my family’s move to Nigeria. Her nationality is never mentioned, but was written as Irish hence her children’s names: Marie, Kevin, Anna, and Alphonsus, common names in Ireland. Her own name is taken from my Irish friend whose middle name is Bernadette.
  20. The hospital Doris completes her residency with, New Aggrey, is a combination of the two hospitals my family registered with in Nigeria: NEW Era Hospital Aba and AGGREY Hospital Port Harcourt.
  21. Doris’ VVF patient Mirabel Shehu is named after Nigeria’s rape crisis charity The Mirabel Centre.
  22. Mr. Nnadi is based on two real-life teachers. One was a dwarf, one was a paedophile, both were evil dictators.
  23. The charge nurse Justina Charles is named after a real-life Aba-based nurse also named Justina Charles, a rare gem who showed great dedication to her profession. The character is a tribute to all underrated nurses who work round the clock without proper recognition.
  24. Jide’s son Isaac was written as a daughter named Rebecca in the screenplay’s first draft. Towards the end of the story she was abused to death by armed robbers/paedo rapists during an invasion of the family home, but was deleted for obvious reasons. After Rebecca became Isaac, Doris – then known as Diana – treats Jide’s son after the latter is rushed to hospital during a sickle cell ‘crisis’, but this scenario has appeared in Nollywood numerous times. Towards the end she adopts him. In the novel Doris and Isaac never meet.
  25. If you guessed Chidiebere James and Bayo Olumide are loosely based on Travis Stork and Andrew Ordon, thumbs up! For Dr. Chidiebere I also drew inspiration from former Mr. Guadeloupe Emmanuel Binga, Michael Power, and Dr. Ben Martin from 80’s Christian soap opera Another Life. The TV show The Doctors did not exist in the screenplay. In the screenplay his name is Steve Duru – no relation of Diana’s – but this is changed to add more Nigerian names. Unlike Chidiebere James, Steve Duru was shorter than Diana with no scars, and had attended secondary school with Diana and Jide before loosing contact.
  26. The chapter with screaming fans at a recording of The Doctors is inspired by an early appearance of 80’s pop group New Kids on the Block on Oprah – the video can be found on YouTube. Even the host showed signs of irritation halfway through the interview!
  27. The character Dr. Zainab Saheed is loosely based on veteran NTA News reader Hauwa Baba-Ahmed. In the screenplay she only appears in one screen.
  28. Juliet son Lucas is named after his namesake from the React Channel; his original name was Max.
  29. Andrew Amadi was originally written as a nice guy who truly loved Doris, but his wife in America refuses to grant him a divorce. His personality was changed to give the story more grit.
  30. Mex Orlando disrupts the Duru’s Christmas feast with his father, the newly-elected bishop of their diocese. In the screenplay, Mex is a newly-ordained reverend who visits Doris at her parent’s Owerri home after her breakup with Andrew.
  31. Anna Duru’s appearance is loosely inspired by Swedish singer Neneh Cherry, albeit with bigger hair. She was written into the novel for comedic effect, and to explore the subject of jealousy.
  32. Actors considered for roles in Diana Duru: The Last Fifteen Years include Hilda Dokubo and Joke Silva (Clara Duru), Zack Orji and Olu Jacobs (Rupert Duru), Emeka Ike, Ernest Asuzu, and Ramsey Nouah (Emeka ‘Mex Orlando’ Obasi), Juliet Ibeh and Victoria Inyama (Juliet Ibeh), Pat Attah and Ernest Obi (Fred Duru), Alex Osifo (Hogan Bassey), Sandra Achums and Obot Etuk (Shirley Bassey), and Charles Okafor (Andrew Amadi). Characters created specially for the novel include Anna, Uncle Robin, Aunt Bernadette, Etim, Ekaette, Charles, Yetunde, Remi, Mirabel, Dr. Julius etc, etc. The roles of Diana and Jide were written for unknown actors.
  33. BP nearly found a permanent spot on the scrapheap after a Nigerian writer’s blog gave the first part negative reviews (“The first book has no plot direction…The dialogue is cringe worthy at worst and pedestrian at best…The Miss Goody-Two-Shoes act became boring after a while, [and] irritating…[Jide] obviously can’t hate [Doris] just because she’s rich…”). Boo hoo. Bitter Perceptions received poor reviews, as did the musical Les Misérables. Enough said.

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