You ask the questions: Frank Fraser

(Such as: you are known to have had a successful career as a gangster. So, Frank Fraser, did your victims deserve to die?)

AFTER 42 years in top security prisons and a couple of stretches in Broadmoor, the retired gangster "Mad Frankie" Fraser, 75, reinvented himself as an author and performer in 1994. Now the darling of the London literary world, he recently completed his second book of memoirs, Mad Frank and Friends. He describes himself as "very easygoing usually" and lives in south London with his girlfriend Marilyn Wisbey, 43, the daughter of the great train robber Tommy Wisbey.

In your opinion, did your victims deserve to die? If so, why?

Anne Hunt, Malmesbury

My victims were all criminals. None of them had any class. I never touched anyone from the real world.

Do you think it is right that you should a) make money from writing about your criminal past and b) be treated as a celebrity because of it?

Ian Hickton, Stoke-on-Trent

I have no regrets about taking money or being a celebrity. That is what the public wants. And what's more I give the public what they want. What gangster do you know can appear twice daily in a West End theatre and get standing ovations? No one's ever done it before. What gangster, other than George Raft, has ever appeared in a film? I did and I got great notices for Hard Men. For a few weeks it was number one in the video best-seller charts.

When you were a little boy, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Frances Quinn, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

As a boy I wanted to be a successful gangster, not an unsuccessful one.

My mum remembers you from just after the war, living in and around the Camberwell area, and she says, even then, you were known to be "a bit handy". Have you always been involved in the life of crime, did you consider an alternative to it, or did you actually enjoy it?

Mark Baxter, Camberwell

I was always handy. Handy at everything. That's what got me into trouble all my life.

What kind of person was your mum?

Janet Hunter, Halifax

My mum was wonderful, a great lady. The only thing was, she was completely "straight". Had nothing to do with crime whatsoever.

Did you do National Service? If not, why not?

Brian Perkins, Somerset

Yes I did it. Rather briefly. Never even wore the uniform.

What was the best thing about prison?

Anthony Horsfield, West Midlands

The best thing or things that ever happened to me re prison was being released, for a start, and meeting Ivor Novello, the great songwriter. He was once in the cell next to me at Wormwood Scrubs. Great guy. Good to talk to. He should never have been there.

`The Independent' stated that you have `been certified insane three times'. Am I right to infer from this that you have at least twice become sane again, and, if so, what were you like then?

Andy Dewar, Lincolnshire

I have been been certified insane three times. Insanity is a game that any number can play. It's just a case of not losing your nerve. Broadmoor is your reward.

Who did you prefer, Reggie or Ronnie Kray - and why?

Mark Cardman, Manchester

Reggie and Ronnie were completely different and at the same time twins. I knew them since I was a teenager. I visit Reggie every so often at his prison with Marilyn - we go down and talk. It's a disgrace that he's still inside. He's more than paid his debt to society. He can sometimes go off the handle, but so would you if you spent over 30 years inside. You can molest a woman or child and get off these days with a suspended sentence. Reggie killed a guy and I would have done the same. Ronnie was different. He had dark moods but it was dreadful that he died inside. He didn't deserve that. In the end he was harmless. He was just a shell. Not the big gangster that I once knew.

What's the worst thing you've ever done? Do you ever have nightmares about it?

Caroline Hardley, Truro, Cornwall

Opening a safe and finding nothing was in it. Then finding out that millions were in the boss's secretary's handbag and you'd bumped into her in the street and she'd done the job before you.

Which is easier, being an author or being a gangster?

Fiona Rice, Southampton

Author or gangster - I'm a performer in both spheres.

What would you like to do to your critics?

Nicola Harvey, Clapham, London

I have the edge over other authors or actors because critics have been very kind to me about what I write or do on stage or television. Critics don't disagree with me. I can't think why.

Do you dye your hair?

Roger Manners, Birmingham

Yes. It's all my own. I couldn't disguise myself to save my life. I'm as famous as Cilla Black.

I've heard that your wife is trying to make it as a singer. How is her career progressing and has she had any recording offers?

Simon Ellison, Bethnal Green, London

Marilyn and I have been together a long time. She's my rock. She's a good singer. She appeared in my show in the West End. She's got style and she gets good notices. The Guardian's critic, reviewing one of my shows, was a bit frightened to say what he thought of me so he said, "It was refreshing to hear the charming voice of Marilyn Wisbey."

Imagine a clear jar containing one magic bean. This bean splits into two identical beans after one second. These two beans then split in turn producing four beans. These then split to produce eight beans, etc... The jar takes exactly 60 seconds to fill up with the splitting beans. Can you tell me how full the jar is after 59 seconds?

J. Swainston, London

It seems to me that you've been watching the opening of the film of The Krays, the bit with Billie Whitelaw talking about twins and saying all these bits and pieces about seeds and eggs and all that - and when I saw it I didn't understand a word of what it was about. And neither did Charlie Kray, who was an adviser on the picture.

Do you support the `Independent on Sunday' campaign to decriminalise cannabis?

Victoria Benstead, London

Of course I agree with decriminalising cannabis, although I've never smoked it myself or tried it as a cookie, as was once suggested.

Your former career must have been rather messy at times. Do you have any handy hints on how to get blood stains out of woollen clothes, such as jumpers?

Graham Paul, Edinburgh

Ask Scotland Yard.

If you returned to your home to find it had been burgled and "trashed", would you consider it the result of criminals just trying to earn a living or would you be outraged that this action was perpetrated against you and other normal members of society by the criminal classes?

David Deal, Oxford

I'd kill 'em

Do you think yardies and triads have taken over the criminal underworld? What do you think of their criminal fraternities?

Dennis Wright, Stockwell, London

Yardies? It's a media thing. I can't say more.

Would you disapprove if a child of yours started getting in trouble with the police?

Mark Thompson, Bury St Edmunds

My kids? Who am I to be critical?

Would you say that, on the whole, crime pays?

Jemima Roberts, West London

Really only in the City of London. I can't see anybody making a few bob elsewhere.

Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Shenaz Treasurywala
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'