THE son of a former television presenter from the Vale of Evesham has completed a controversial book that his late father started but was never able to finish.

Gwyn Richards, who lived in Kersoe, at the foot of Bredon Hill, was a regional broadcaster, presenting ATV Today in the 1970s and then the BBC’s Points West, before moving to the BBC at Pebble Mill in Birmingham where he was a network radio producer. Gwyn died two years ago, aged 70, after suffering from dementia.

Now his son Simon, aged 44, an ex-pupil of Prince Henry’s High School, Evesham, has completed a book his father started, called Shakespeare’s Truth, under the pen name of Rex Richards. At the heart of the book is a huge literary scandal related to William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s Truth includes ciphers and codes hidden in monuments around the country, which allegedly reveal that Shakespeare did not, in fact, write any plays at all.

Shakespeare’s Truth involves a secret birth in the English Royal Family hidden for hundreds of years, a shocking royal death and kidnap in the modern day, a secret society, rivalry between the police and Army, a race against time to find a missing treasure, and also a love story. Simon said: “After he retired from life at the BBC, my father spent more and more time researching the Shakespeare authorship question – the idea that Shakespeare was just a cover name used by someone else who was the true author of the plays.

“He started to write a book, a weighty, complex and detailed proof of who the real author was. But he died from a terrible illness without finishing it.

“Initially, I wasn’t too interested in the book, but – believe me – when you look into it for more than five minutes it becomes incredibly obvious that Shakespeare could barely write his own name, let alone a play!

“I took the essential truth of his research, added some of my own ideas and turned it into a fast-paced thriller, something more like The Da Vinci Code but hopefully better written.”

The BBC’s World Affairs editor John Simpson has said of the book, published this month: “Da Vinci is surpassed by Shakespearean analysis in this masterfully crafted work.” Since leaving school, Simon has had a varied career. After university he went to live on a Sioux Indian reservation for a few months in the USA, making a film about the experience which led to a Masters in Broadcast Journalism and then a job at the BBC as a radio producer at the then new BBC Radio 5.

He then worked as a radio and TV producer at the BBC and other companies.

He then went into design and marketing. His other, more bizarre jobs, have included working as a fortune teller and a chimney sweep. He currently splits his time between Evesham, London and Buenos Aires.

Shakespeare’s Truth by Rex Richards is available from January 16, on the Amazon website, priced £5.99. The book is dedicated to Gwyn Richards and the profits will go to charity.