Hiding Behind The Couch is a multi-part series of stories surrounding a single group of nine friends that takes place over the course of many years.
While storylines are intermingling, the focus of the story and the point of view frequently change.
It is best thought of as a literary soap opera, with seasons and special episodes – some are 'character specials', some are 'festive specials'.
All stories conclude, but there will be overarching plots that continue from one instalment to the next.
The inspiration for the characters, events and settings is the real world, but all characters, events and locations are entirely fictional.
The setting of the series is a fictional semi-rural town in the north-west of England – essentially an amalgamation of the real towns of Southport and Ormskirk – located on the coast and surrounded by agricultural land, with a number of outlying villages of varying sizes.
Within the town, there are areas of older Victorian houses, newer council housing and new-build exclusive housing, as well as the traditional mix of post-war semi-detached houses and apartment buildings. On the outskirts of the town, there are a number of vast Victorian / Edwardian detached properties with extensive grounds.
Retail and Leisure
The retail area of the town centre has a shopping mall and traditional department store, as well as a number of restaurants, including fast-food outlets with 24-hour drive-thru facilities. The Pizza Place – a (fictional) national chain of pizza restaurants with HQ in Birmingham – has a restaurant in the town.
There is the usual mix of traditional and new pubs in the town, as well as a low-key bar with permanent 'open mic' for live jazz music.
There is an old cinema in the town and several parks, as well as nearby woodlands and outlying smaller villages. The town is within commuting distance of Manchester and a large out-of-town shopping centre; a theme park is a trainride away.
The town has a hospice and hospital, and a number of larger businesses are based there. For many years, Campion Holdings PLC was the most prominent local business, located in a large multistorey office block on the outskirts of the town centre.
There are two primary schools (Parkside County Primary School and St. Mark's C of E Primary School) and a high school (Moor Croft High School) in the area of the town where the characters of the series grew up. The town also has a college of further education and a university.
This interactive map shows some of the real-world locations that inspired the location in the series (I like to think of them as the places where our reality converges with the reality of The Circle).
You can access the map using this link: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zCeM6Pw9_JLA.kza83xNxnbqg&usp=sharing
Or (hopefully) the map in the iframe below works – click the little square frame top-right to go full-screen.
Note: some of these characters, by virtue of their listing here, may spoil stories if you are still reading earlier in the series.
The central characters of the series are The Circle, who come together as a close-knit friendship group during the latter years of their high school education.
Joshua Sandison (Josh)
Eleanor Davenport (Ellie)
Daniel Jeffries (Dan)
Andrew Jeffries (Andy)
Jessica Lambert (Jess)
Kristian Johansson (Kris)
Adrian Simmons (Ade)
Charlotte Davenport (Charlie)
As children, the friends attended different primary schools, but all ended up at the same local high school.
Josh, George, Dan, Andy, Shaunna and Adele were all pupils at St. Mark's C of E Primary School; Jess and Eleanor both attended Parkside Primary School; Kris attended Harwood, a private prep school. Whilst they all end up in the same school year eventually, Josh is a year younger than the others, and Andy is a year older. Josh is moved up a year right at the start of his education, as he is a 'gifted child'. Andy fails his A Levels in sixth form and drops back a year to join the others.
Other Significant Characters:
(in no particular order)
Little Shaunna (Shu) Jeffries
Dylan Robert Spyris-Tierney
Carl Watkinson (Wotto)
Iris Morley (George's mum)
Henry Hartley (Aitch)
Michael Jeffries (Mike)
Barbara Evans (Andy, Dan and Mike's mum)
Saorla Tierney (Sean's mum)
Siobhan Hennessy (Shaunna's mum)
Jim Hennessy (Shaunna's dad)
Lee (Jono) Johnson
Gray Fisher Series Characters:
Genres (in progress)
The series as a whole is contemporary, realist fiction. As such, the characters and the situations they encounter are the everyday, real-life situations we all deal with - births, deaths, marriages, sickness, romance, crime, family feuds, and so on. Thus, the series crosses genres; an indication of the genres of each instalment is given below.
- Beginnings - Adult Fiction / Childhood Trauma
- Ruminations - Contemporary Fiction / Romance Elements / Coming of Age
- Class-A - Contemporary Fiction / Romance Elements / Coming of Age
- Hiding Behind The Couch (season one) - Contemporary Fiction / Family and Relationships
- No Time Like The Present (season two) - Contemporary Fiction / Murder Mystery
- The Harder They Fall (seasonthree) - Contemporary Fiction / Family and Relationships
- Chain of Secrets - Gay (male, asexual) Romance (non-explicit)
- Crying in the Rain - Gay (male, bisexual) Romance (moderately explicit)
- First Christmas - Gay (male) Christmas Romance (non-explicit)
- In The Stars Part I (season four) - Contemporary Fiction / Family and Relationships / Gay (asexual/sexual) Romance
- Breaking Waves - Gay (male, asexual) Honeymoon Romance (intimate, non-explicit)
- In The Stars Part II (season five) - Contemporary Fiction / Family and Relationships / Straight Romance
- A Midnight Clear - Contemporary Fiction / Christmas / Family and Relationships
- Red Hot Christmas - Straight Christmas Romance (moderately explicit)
- Two By Two (season six) - Contemporary Fiction / Mystery
- Hiding Out - Gay (male) Romance (non-explicit) / Contemporary Fiction
- Breakfast at Cordelia's Aquarium - Contemporary Fiction
- Those Jeffries Boys - Contemporary Fiction / Straight Romance (moderately explicit)
- The Wag and The Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1) - Mystery / Contemporary Fiction / Gay Romance
- Reunions (season seven) - Contemporary Fiction
- Alumni (season eight) - Contemporary Fiction
- Not My Coach - Bisexual Romance / Contemporary Fiction
- Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2) - Mystery / Contemporary Fiction / Nonbinary Romance