Tom Bradby says his work as a TV reporter and editor was a terrific preparation for writing ITV’s new historical epic The Great Fire.

Tom’s day job is political editor for ITV News, but he’s written fiction for as long as he’s been a journalist and says his day job feeds his novels and drama. Covering disaster stories prepared him to write The Great Fire of London.

Tom told What’s on TV: “I’ve been a frontline journalist for 25 years for ITV. I’ve covered disasters and been in many uncomfortable situations, so obviously your interest in that situation is the human beings in it. You’re not interested in necessarily what the earthquake pictures looked like from a distance. It might be impressive for a few minutes, but it’s watching how people cope with it… that’s really compelling.”

Tom continued: “…If you’re not interested in human beings and humanity and how people behave under stress… the good, the bad… then you really shouldn’t be a journalist because the way you tell stories is not going to be at all compelling.

“Ultimately, that’s the same in film or drama or novels. You read about something like [The Great Fire] but unless you’re going to be really interested in how people are coping, how people are coping with losing their homes…I mean imagine losing everything when there was no money in a bank. Your house burnt down, all you’ve got left is the clothes you’re standing in, that is it… Of itself that was a rather fascinating concept that was rather alien to modern audiences.”

The Great Fire premieres on ITV on Thursday, October 16. Watch the interview with Tom Bradby, above.