Mrs Beech

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“When I wrote Goodnight Mister Tom I knew a lot more about William’s mother than I revealed in the book. I didn’t write more about her because it was Tom Oakley and Willie Beech’s story.

Some years after it was published, I was working on the musical with the composer Gary Carpenter and I felt that I needed to write the lyrics for two songs to show not only how disturbed and frightened she was but also to reveal her broken childhood and what led her to commit suicide.

Meanwhile, as the musical was being performed there was talk of a TV adaptation and I was introduced to the screenwriter Brian Finch. After it was given the go ahead I brought up the subject of Mrs Beech. I knew he would need to write scenes for her and I didn’t want her portrayed as evil even though her actions were abusive. And I told him about the songs.

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