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TV’s Stuart becomes a new author

Stuart Flinders with his new book
Stuart Flinders with his new book

Stuart Flinders may be best known as a BBC presenter on north west TV.

But now the former UCLan student, who regularly presents on BBC Radio 3, has a new string to his bow - author.

Stuart in his day job - reporting for the BBC

Stuart in his day job - reporting for the BBC

Journalist and broadcaster Stuart indulged his fascination with history to research and write “Cult of a Dark Hero: Nicholson of Delhi”.

It’s a world away from his regular regional newsbeat and Stuart, who has also presented Radio 4’s “You and Yours”, travelled to India as part of the research for the book.

He was on a quest to discover more about Victorian hero who has fallen from grace.

Stuart said: “My latest story is not from the north-west of England but the north-west of India. I’ve written a book which tells the true story of an Irish soldier who became an Indian god in the mid nineteenth century and ran a remote part of the (British) Empire in what is now Pakistan.”

John Nicholson was the fearless leader of the British assault which recovered Delhi at the turning-point of the rebellion in 1857.

Rising up the ranks in India to be praised by both British and Indian soldiers, he was elevated to God status by a small sect whose members referred to him as “Nikal Seyn”. The Nikal Seyni cult, formed in his honour, continued until the last cult member died in 2004.

Nicholson, killed during the Indian Uprising of 1857, was determined, ruthless and merciless and has been described as both an “imperial bully” and “the Lion of Punjab”.

Using previously unpublished material,including personal letters and diaries of contemporaries letters, Stuart reveals more about the character of a man of many contradictions who has been both admired and reviled.

Bolton born Stuart studied modern history at the University of Oxford and journalism at UCLan and is based at MediaCity in Salford.

Cult of a Dark Hero: Nicholson of Delhi, published by I.B.Tauris, an imprint of Bloomsbury, costs £25.