I'd reported a lot of what had been happening to me online, and - having done some detective work on my own - given names, addresses, IP addresses, Internet service provider details, and places of employment for the people I suspected were most responsible. It wasn't difficult to find out who they were. Not least because at least one of them I'd once known quite well, and all of the others had been members of the Board of Biffo. Several of them I'd even bought a drink for.
I had a case number, I had an officer in charge of that case... but then I asked myself... what was the point of all this? Revenge? Would it make me feel more secure? Wouldn't it just be dragging out what had become something close to a living Heck for my family and I? I needed to move on - if not for my sake, then for the sake of my daughters.
As vulnerable as I felt, I'd realised that I had to take responsibility for my part in turning these people against me, to the point that they wanted to further ruin my already ruined life. I hadn't been wholly innocent. I'd made some bad decisions, I'd upset people, hurt people, hadn't always been unfailingly pleasant and polite. Hurting me was helping them feel better. They felt betrayed, and I got that they were angry at me.
Or, at least, angry at Mr Biffo, who I was now blaming for every mistake I'd ever made in my life. Realising that we were one and the same would take me a little longer.
I'd already made the decision that I'd never use that name again, but this moment of revelation cemented it for me. I'd just... let it go. All of it.
I told the police I didn't want to pursue matters, and asked them to drop the investigation.
It wasn't quite as simple as that, of course. I stayed scared for a long time. A very long time. I was absolutely certain for years that I would never write about video games, or do a high-profile TV job, ever again. I'd stay under the radar.
I hated that I'd become so vulnerable, and had given these broken people such power over me. I hated that they had been able to change the course of my career, had tainted something I'd loved, and given me so many moments of sheer despair and desperation. They'd contributed to robbing my children of their father.
But in truth... they only had that power because I had been so worn away by life, and because I hadn't been a better me. I had to accept that I had contributed to causing all of it.
In the years between then and now, falling in love with somebody who also loved me, warts and all, was the first big turning point. Writing Pudsey The Dog: The Movie had been another. If I could laugh at the amount of vitriol which that alleged dog's dinner had received... maybe I could also tolerate people being twattish to me online.
However, it wasn't until just over two years ago, when I re-emerged onto Twitter, and started Digitiser2000, that the fear really began to evaporate. While some of the wounds remained fresh for me, Mr Biffo had been gone for almost seven years. They'd all moved on (to at least one other target, by all accounts... but that's somebody else's story). But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Having decided that my life was long overdue for getting back on track, I knew that the thing I needed more than anything was a stable platform from which to get the lay of the land, and plot my course ahead. I needed stability, routine, knowing where I was, and what I had to do.
This is why I jumped when offered the chance to work on BBC1's critically lambasted ratings juggernaut My Family. It would be the closest I had to a regular job in years. Also, the maddest.
I wouldn't be going in as a writer of episodes - I would comprise part of what came to be known as The B Team; a group of supposedly less experienced writers, who would be shown how My Family worked for the purposes of potentially becoming a writer of actual episodes.
My Family was not run like any other show on British television. The creation of an American writer, Fred Barron, it was written using the American writing team model. Most British sitcoms can't afford a team of writers, but My Family was an experiment that had been wildly successful - ratings-wise anyway. Consequently, the BBC kept paying for it, somewhat begrudgingly, despite it costing more than any other comedy on British television.
The reason its budget was so high is because all of the writers worked on all of the episodes; story ideas would be pitched, and the team would "break" the story together. Then one would go away and write the script, before bringing it back to the team. The script would be shown on a big screen, and all the writers would pitch in with jokes. The B Team would be part of that brutal joke-pitching process.
After which, the episode would be rehearsed... then the cast would chip in... then it'd get rewritten... rehearsed again... rewritten again... and then filmed before a studio audience... with the rewriting happening even as that filming was taking place.
By the time I got involved, the My Family team were working on their tenth and eleventh series. Most of them had been on the show for years - including its charismatic showrunner, Tom Anderson, whose biggest claim to fame was being the youngest ever show runner on Cheers.
My Family was produced by a company called DLT, run by a man called Don Taffner Jr, whose father, Don Taffner Snr, had founded the company, and made a fortune, distributing shows such as Benny Hill to the US.
It's fair to say that Don Jr's expertise was not in production. On the occasions he came to the writing room, or - more likely - to a pub or restaurant with us, he struck me as an middle-aged excitable kid.
His lack of solid programme-making experience might be why he chose to bring in a team of new writers to shadow the existing writers, with the open knowledge that we were there with a view to potentially replacing them on any subsequent series. Suffice to say, there was some suspicion, if not outright hostility.
As it turned out, I was far and away the most experienced writer on The B Team. I probably even had more experience than a couple of the actual My Family writing team. Surprisingly, despite being an apparent shoe-in for replacing one or more of them, I was more readily accepted into the fold by the old guard than some of my B Team colleagues were. That might just be because I'd learned when to bite my tongue, and not argue with experience.
How Don had chosen The B Team is a mystery. We were a mixed bag, to be sure; somebody who had interviewed him for something... a couple of good-looking young actors - one of whom later appeared in Glee... my now good friend Jesse (who had, at least, written some scripts)... another up-and-coming writer - and me.
However, any tension between The A Team and The B Team was nothing compared to the tension between The A Team and the cast.
After ten years, the stars of My Family were all powerful - and had carte blanche to dismiss pretty much anything they didn't like in the script. The animosity was an open secret.
After one recording, its biggest star, Robert Lindsay - who'd been a hero of mine, when he'd played the lead in Citizen Smith back in the 70s - came within inches of my face, expensive shirt unbuttoned halfway to his groin, and sneered: "So you're one of the new ones are you? Told you what a bastard I am have they?".
Never meet your heroes, kids.
The overriding sense I got was that the My Family writing team were either burnt out or on the edge of burn out. Some of them seemed to despise the show even more than critics.
I can't forget one of the writers referring to My Family's audience as "sheep", and making baa-baa noises as the fans queued below the writers' room for a recording.
The writing team appeared imprisoned by the show, trapped by its poor critical notices, desperate to escape, but mostly unable to get a series of their own off the ground, because My Family had so little cachet in TV commissioning circles.
It was little wonder they all seemed exhausted. The schedule was punishing, particularly during production - when they'd work incredibly long hours, writing and rewriting the scripts, while pretending to kowtow to the show's stars. Much as I would've appreciated having a job to go to every day, I wouldn't have enjoyed those long hours, or the commute to Teddington Studios (where Biffovision had been filmed years earlier, incidentally).
Also, I think it might've killed me. Most likely from liver failure.
One of the consequences of the cabin fever that had consumed the My Family team was a hedonistic, anything-goes mentality - lead from the top by Tom Anderson. I adored Tom - a perma-tanned American, with full-beam teeth, he leaked charisma from every pore. Everyone on My Family wanted to impress him. Everyone wanted to make him laugh. He just inspired that somehow.
Tom, however, was not unaware of the power he had, and seemed to appreciate those who didn't try quite so hard to gain his favour.
Any show I've ever worked on, the story-breaking is always about a lot of heading down dead ends until you find a clear route. Most of those dead ends have names like Politically Incorrect Cul-de-Sac, Misogyny Court, and Tastelessness Close.
In the pursuit of the joke, for most writers, anything goes. I can admit, proudly, that - while I can veer into dark, dark territory in pursuit of what is both funny and appropriate - I've never gone all-out into breaking the rules of decency, like some people I've worked with.
Perhaps because of boredom, perhaps because of exhaustion, My Family exacerbated this assault on political correctness to previously unscaled heights. The rule was: what happens in the writers' room stays in the writers' room.
Whether anything was funny was dictated by whether or not Tom found it funny, and often people went out of their way to shock in an effort to make Tom laugh.
Tom could be unpredictable. Plus Tom's word was law.
If he decided at the drop of a hat that he wanted to go bowling or to a strip club - everyone had to go bowling or to a strip club... but you still had to make up the hours when you got back to the studio.
If Tom wanted to spend the afternoon making clay mugs - and the following day encouraging his writers to throw them against the walls of the writers' room... so be it. Trips to the pub after work were more or less mandatory.
The writing team really should all have taken a few years off, but - such is the way of the freelance writer - it's so rare to get a regular gig in this industry, that when one does arrive you grab it and don't let go.
Besides, the money was good - very good, if rumours about Tom Anderson's salary were true.
He earned it, though. Tom worked and played equally hard, but he never let it interfere with the job. He somehow always managed to stay just the right side of self-destruction.
He had been through a recent marriage break-up, and though I could see echoes of my own out-of-control years in him - there were certainly times when drinking with mates was preferable to being at home - he partied too hard even for me. Not least because this was a time when I was looking for the opposite of chaos in my life. My Family was, in some ways, the final turn of a corner.
Nothing I ever pitched around the writers' table made it into the show. I got a sufficient laugh from one joke - I'd suggested "Ayer's Cock" as a potential way to insult an Australian - that I was told to expect a place on the 12th series, when it was commissioned. Which it wasn't. My Family was axed before I ever got to learn what sort of state I'd be in at the end of six months with Tom Anderson as my boss.
Tom invited me aboard the writing team for a proposed spin-off, about Robert Lindsay and Zoë Wanamaker's characters moving to a retirement community, but - fun as it might've been - that never happened either.
Probably for the best.
TO BE CONTINUED...
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART ONE: WE TWO VETS - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART TWO: HUSK & HORNBLOWER - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART THREE: NORTH OF WATFORD - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART FOUR: KNIFE & WIFE - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART FIVE: SOOTY - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART SIX: CROSSROADS - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART SEVEN: EASTENDERS - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART EIGHT: IS THIS IT - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART NINE: TOO MUCH TOO YOUNG - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART TEN: NOW THE WEATHER - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART ELEVEN: BIFFOVISION - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART TWELVE: LA LA LAND - BY MR BIFFO
SCRIPTS OF MY YEARS PART THIRTEEN: LAST OF THE MONSTER HUNTERS - BY MR BIFFO