Biography


Nothing fancy or flowery... just the facts.

Born in the London Hospital in the Whitechapel Road, an establishment clearly within the sound of Bow Bells, I am, technically, a Cockney.

Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War, I was packed off to a mixed-sex prep school in Hove, primarily to escape any possible bombing of London. The danger in taking up residence on the south coast of England, at a time when a German invasion was considered imminent, seems to have been discounted.

In the autumn of 1940 the school departed en masse for a castle standing in its own grounds in West Wales, where I passed the next four years. I returned to London in June 1944, just in time to greet the V1s -– the buzz-bombs -– as they made their first sortie over the capital.

At the start of the new school year I joined Owen’s School, from where I won a scholarship to St Edmund Hall, Oxford, to read Modern History.

First, however, I did my National Service from 1950 to 1952, largely in the RAEC (the Royal Army Educational Corps).

I went up to Oxford in 1952. While up, I was on the committee of the OUDS, president of the Experimental Theatre Club, chairman of speakers’ classes for the OUCA, coxed for my college rowing club, and gained a BA Honours degree (2-1) in 1955 (converted after a few years - as these matters are managed in Oxford - to an MA).

Although I appeared in a number of stage productions in Oxford, I concentrated my theatrical activities on radio, using the commercial recording studios that graced the Broad (reel-to-reel tape was then the order of the day). I would beg scripts of past radio productions from the BBC, and direct our own productions using undergraduate actors – inviting the original BBC producer, some of the cast, and sometimes the original writer, to our playback before an audience.

Coming down in 1955, I somehow got a break from the producer of the Woman’s Hour serial, and my first abridgement went on the air in February 1956. Although that was followed by several more commissions, it soon became clear that this was no way to earn a decent living. So in September 1956 I joined British Cellophane as a junior advertising executive.

From then, I ran a double career:– one in advertising, marketing, publishing, the Civil Service and finally a national cancer charity; the other as a writer for BBC radio and related fields. The former saw me progress through a variety of companies, including the law publishers Butterworths, Granada publishing, Times Newspapers (the pre-Murdoch era), the Department of Health and Social Security and Macmillan Cancer Relief. The results of the latter career are recorded elsewhere on this website.

I was made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours, 2006 "for services to broadcasting and to drama."

Along the way, I married Sheila Brown in 1958, and we begot three sons - not the least achievement in this strange, eventful history.
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