NEWPORT-BORN novelist Leslie Thomas will be the subject of a television series looking at great Welsh writers.

The best-selling writer, who has more than 30 titles to his name, including The Virgin Soldiers, will reveal the people, places and events which have inspired his work.

He will also give his first in-depth interview since his life-threatening illness in 2010 as part of the BBC One Wales series.

Born in Newport into a seafaring family, Mr Thomas’ childhood was a turbulent one. His father was lost at sea when he was only 12, and although he didn’t know it at the time, his mother had already been struck by cancer and died within six months.

The rest of Mr Thomas’ upbringing was in a Barnardo’s home in Devon.

His first writing job was as a junior reporter on a local newspaper in north London before the publication of The Virgin Soldiers led to him becoming a full-time writer.

Speaking on the programme about the success of the book, he tells viewers: “It’s a beginner’s novel.

It’s got obvious pitfalls to me and I wrote much better later on.

“When it was sold in America I couldn’t believe the money. I rang up my agent and said ‘Is this right?’ and he said ‘Yeah, we’ve checked on it.’”

Mr Thomas will feature in Great Welsh Writers on BBC One Wales on Monday at 10.35pm.