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Plenty on Wikipedia and on IMDd.  Those two websites are great for the date and place of birth, as well as listing the TV, films, stage and radio I've worked on.  What they don't do is describe what it was like working on those productions, alongside the wonderful and sometimes not-so-wonderful personalities involved. They also don't divulge the highs and lows of over 50 years of marriage, bringing up three kids as well as emerging grandchildren. If you're interested, Learning My Lines (my autobiography), Echoes (my first novel) are for sale through my website, as is an archive of my blogs from 2009-2013.

Sunday, 29 March 2015


Some 20 years ago John Willis, head of Channel 4, told me that he wanted to do a week of shows about the homeless on 4. He was determined to do it but worried that commercials makers wouldn’t want to be associated with a channel doing a week of depressing programmes.

John’s father was the legendary Ted Willis, a writer of extraordinary screenplays and plays, who was also a dedicated socialist. Hence I suppose this was one of the reasons that his son wanted to do this week about homelessness. 

The week would include Cathy Come Home, Edna the Inebriate Woman, interviews with people in terrible circumstances and including a group of people building their own homes.
A few months later I bumped into John and asked him about the success or failure of his experiment. He told me that he was thrilled about it. Far from a disaster, Channel 4’s income for that week had exceeded the income from any week from the previous six months.

This connects to my previous post about Jack Rosenthal. If Channel 4 can do such a radical transformation of their normal weekly output what about Jack and others?

There must be treasures hidden somewhere waiting to be aired. There must be plays from Pinter, Stoppard, Charlie Wood, Rosenthal and many, many more just crying out to be seen and audiences that want to see them.

Come on Channel 4, root around, dust them off and show them again. John Willis has moved on but there must be someone at 4 with the wit to take a chance.

Think about it. Please. Just press the button marked GO.         


  1. Hope you don't mind me sharing the petiton again Ray, given your post is on the same theme?


    Let's get these classic single dramas and plays repeated again!

  2. I'd sign the petition, of course Mark, but how?

    1. I think you need to set up a profile with change.org first, something with your name and a password to allow you to sign from there. Sorry, been so long since I'd joined Change I'm not quite sure how I started/what I had to do

  3. I signed by copying and pasting Mark's link in my search at top of screen and it took me straight to it. Hope this helps.

    1. Thanks for that info Annie - so you didn't have to register or anything? Excellent, in which case Ray it's as Annie says; copy the link I shared (highlight right click and you should see an option marked COPY) paste it into your toolbar (go to toolbar, right click again and go to option marked PASTE) and it should give you the petition address, click it and it takes you straight to the petition, ready to sign :) Thank you

  4. No , didn't have to register Mark and I've shared it on my FB and Twitter accounts.