He was bullied at a small French provincial school until a bigger boy protected him. He encouraged that boy to paint and brought him to Paris. He became a cult writer and made a fortune. Then he wrote an autobiographical novel in which he portrayed his old friend as a failure. This is the story of Emile Zola and Paul Cezanne and the drama that unfolds between them . I used the characters from Zola's book to investigate his Parisian world and find out why he used them to attack the Impressionists and humiliate his dear friend. I did not want to serve up a straight period drama or doco drama - I wanted to take a new approach.