The Poison Tree is set in the real-life house where Tony Strong
lived whilst a student at Oxford, number 57 West Street, Osney.
He has said in interviews that many of the characters in the book
are based on real people. St Mary's college is based on St Peter's
in New Inn Hall street, described as the ugliest college in Oxford.
A cinema commercial made for the book showed a naked couple having
sex. During the commercial, it becomes apparent that the man is
still avidly reading The Poison Tree. A voice says: "The Poison
Tree by Tony Strong. Once you pick it up, you'll never put it down."
The commercial caused some controversy, winning an international
advertising award at the Cannes festival and still regularly cropping
up on shows such as 'Tarrant on TV'. It was directed by Richard
Loncraine, who went on to achieve fame with films such as Wimbledon
and Band of Brothers.