The Real Gadget Genius

Urban Outlaws
Peter Jay Black
Peter Jay Black
The Real Gadget Genius
Top Secret
Facts about Peter Jay Black
Peter Jay Black

Peter Jay Black loves gadgets, films and things that make him laugh so hard he thinks he might pass out. He went to Arts University Bournemouth and a career in IT followed. 

One day, a team of super-skilled kids popped into his head and, writing in a Hollywood apartment, he brought them to life. Peter lives in Dorset and in his spare time he enjoys collecting unusual artefacts like Neolithic arrowheads, ancient Egyptian rings and fossilised dinosaur poo. 

Follow Peter Jay Black on Twitter @peterjayblack or visit his website at

• Has a Cabinet of Curiosities with things like – Neolithic Arrow heads, Ancient Egyptian rings, and fossilised dinosaur poo (Coprolite).

• His dad was an inventor and design engineer.

• Aged 6, fell off a boat into the river Thames, almost drowned, was saved by getting caught in a fishing line and dragged ashore. 

• His favourite movie is “The Abyss.” 

• Enjoys reading and watching documentaries on ancient Egypt. 

• Only wears long-sleeved shirts, and never t-shirts. 

• Wrote the Urban Outlaws in an apartment in Hollywood, California. 

• Aged 29, he decided he would be a writer. 

• Failed GCSE English at school and had to teach himself creative writing. 

 Has listened to hundreds of audiobooks.

• Wrote two plays that were published and performed on the stage. 

• Hates spicy food. 

• As a kid, dreamt of inventing anti-gravity, and did thousands of science experiments. 

• His favourite book is “Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.” 

• His favourite drink is “Tea.” How very British! 

• Has a HUGE DVD collection. 

• Has a collection of autographs. His favourite is by Christopher Reeve – SUPERMAN. 

• Can’t fall asleep without an Ipod.

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I’m often asked where the inspiration for Charlie’s gadgets comes from and the answer to this is simple – my late father. He looked like a ‘Mad Professor’ type. His white hair was messy, sticking out at odd angles, and he never cared about his appearance. My mother would be in a constant battle with him to brush beard trimmings off his suits and, to my knowledge, my father NEVER ironed anything. His socks always had holes in them and his shoes looked as though they belonged in the bin. You see, his mind was on bigger and more interesting things than what he happened to look like that day – inventing! He was a design engineer. The guy was my world and the only true genius I believe I have ever met.


 I don’t think I can remember a day when my dad wasn’t tinkering with something. ‘Why go and buy that from the shops when I can make it,’ he’d say. And so he did. He’d use elastic bands, wood, bits of plastic from old packaging, a huge amount of super-glue, and the next morning we’d wake up to find a new toilet-roll holder or something similar. The only problem was, the things he made looked appalling, really untidy, as though they could fall apart at any moment. But they always worked. Sort of. Well, if you didn’t mind supergluing yourself to a toilet seat. 

 Dad worked on designs for some big companies – everything from electro-mechanical bus signs and a special lift to help people in and out of baths, to machines that made the nation’s best-loved chocolates.


I have hundreds of stories about my dad, like when he drove through a shop window because he ‘forgot’ to apply the brakes on his car. ‘My mind was on a problem,’ he said. Or the time he was given some money to go and buy a new pair of shoes – his were hanging off his feet – and he came back with a kite instead. It was a ‘perfect windy day,’ apparently. But one of my favourite stories about my dad is when he designed and build a flatbed rocket launcher and, along with a team, installed it on a top-secret submarine. While everyone else went to lunch, my dad stayed behind. He was too impatient to get on with the job of testing the rocket launcher to wait for the others to come back, and unable to find the specialised trolley for transporting the heavy rocket, he decided to carry it himself. There he was, feet apart, knees bent, waddling along with a rocket cradled in his arms when, yep, he dropped it! He later told me that the bang it made on the deck was deafening and reverberated for ages afterwards. Some shocked mariners climbed out and stared at the huge dent he’d made in their brand new submarine.

And so, that’s where the inspiration for Charlie’s gadgets comes from – a mad inventor who just so happened to be my father.