When I read the book I felt sad for William, his mum was mean to him and didn’t know how to look after him properly, he hadn’t ever celebrated his birthday and he had no friends until Zach, who died trying to find William. I imagine he always felt scared of what might happen next. Read more >>>>
We have just heard that the excellent four-part radio serialisation of Back Home is to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 extra starting this Sunday, 23rd June at 09:00 and 17:00. The broadcast stars Mary Wimbush.
For The Archers fans amongst you, Mary played Nigel’s formidable Mother, Julia Pargetter.
Click on the image above to listen.
(For those of you who live outside the UK, you can still listen after the show is broadcast by downloading it from the iPlayer.)
- (First broadcast: Sunday 08 May 2011)
Living Together Again
Cuckoo In the Nest and A Spoonful of Jam
(Written at the request of members of Book Clubs.)
It was while I was carrying out research for my second novel Back Home that I became aware of the problems facing families who had to adjust to living together after having been separated during the Second World War.
(Penguin Customer Service Number for Back Home is 0870 607 7600) Back Home tells the story of a girl returning to England from America after five years. Like many shocked, disorientated and lonely sea-evacuees she is faced with bombed streets, rationing, having to live with relatives who are strangers and being expected to behave like an English girl.
After its publication a theatre director approached me and told me that evacuees in England also had difficulties living with their families again. He had been sent to Devon where he had lived for years with two elderly unmarried sisters. He had loved his time there and had planned to be a farmer.
His father, however, on returning from serving overseas, insisted that he come home and begin an apprenticeship. He was bitterly unhappy. What helped him cope was his evening work at two Variety theatres.
Yesterday it was announced that the play of Goodnight Mister Tom has won the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment And Family!
“I’m absolutely delighted for the cast. They are an incredibly talented and lovely group of people and Oliver Ford Davies is stunning as Mister Tom, making people laugh one minute and well up with tears the next. After the West End run, when they were touring they were often doing two shows and sometimes three shows a day on top of having to find places to live.
By an extraordinary coincidence, the choreographer of the musical version of Goodnight Mister Tom, Bill Deamer, who saved the day on its opening night in Manchester in 1995 also won an award tonight for Best Choreographer (Top Hat).
The boy playing William had fallen ill and lost his voice. There was a packed house and it looked as though the performance would have to be cancelled.
Welcome to my new website designed by the talented and versatile, Heather Cairncross. Heather’s highly acclaimed album At Last was released earlier this year to wonderful reviews. Heather’s voice was my inspiration for Grace in Just Henry. You can hear clips from all fourteen songs from At Last by clicking HERE.
By an extraordinary coincidence, the composer of a one woman jazz musical hello life! originally written for Heather, is bringing out an album in November. The album New Things To Say will include four of the songs from it. Heather and I created the book, I wrote the lyrics and Alexander L’Estrange wrote the music. It was Heather’s performance in the musical which won Pick of the Fringe at the Brighton Fringe Festival. The album will be performed by Alexander and his wife Joanna Forbes L’Estrange otherwise known as the duo, L’Estranges in the Night with guest musicians.
And for those who laughed at radio 4’s hilarious series Two Pipe Problems, written by Michael Chaplin, and starring Richard Briers and Stanley Baxter as resident sleuths living in a retirement home for members of the theatrical profession, keep your ears peeled. A new episode is about to be recorded for Radio 4. It was Michael who adapted Just Henry for ITV.
That’s all the news for now.
Update: New Things To Say is available now by clicking on the CD Cover.
Fiery Angel, The Ambassador Theatre Group, Fiery Dragons & The Children’s Touring Partnership present The Chichester Festival Theatre Production of Goodnight Mister Tom
Live on stage in London for a limited 9 week season!
After playing to packed houses across the UK, this critically acclaimed Chichester Festival Theatre production comes to London for a limited 9 week season. Now a modern classic, Michelle Magorian’s wonderfully uplifting tale is brought gloriously to life in a brand new stage adaptation by David Wood, with Olivier Award-winning actor Oliver Ford Davies starring as Mister Tom.
Set during the dark and dangerous build up to the Second World War, Read more >>>>
Michelle Magorian is one of Britain’s most popular authors and it is no surprise that some of her finest works have been dramatized on TV. Inspector Morse actor John Thaw was among the stars who brought Goodnight Mr Tom to life in 1998 and on Sunday 18 December, fans of Michelle’s work can see Just Henry on ITV. As with Goodnight Mr Tom, ITV have spared no expense in assembling an all-star line up for Just Henry that includes Sheila Hancock, Dean Andrews and Elaine Cassidy. Michelle very kindly agreed to talk to Best British TV about the book, the show and her other work.
As a writer do you feel nervous about allowing someone else to bring your book to life in the form of a TV Show?
‘Play as cast’ were the words written on a long term acting contract with a repertory theatre company. I was not only fortunate enough to have been offered these contracts but my work was mostly in theatres that were three and a half weekly rep.
For six days a week these companies would have three weeks to rehearse a new play or musical followed by the technical and dress rehearsals, while giving six evening performances and two matinees of the preceding production. Each month we would be given the cast list for the following play/musical and would be expected to play whatever was thrown at us. Occasionally I was cast as more than one character in the same piece.