James Brook taught for a while, then became a commercial rep selling building fixing devices, and then decided to try writing, supporting himself with any old job going. Taxi driver, burger bar, digging gardens, labourer - did quite well with that: ended up in charge of the dumpy level. Finally had a breakthrough into radio with 'Cerdic and the outside world,' a comedy. For the next ten years or so there was a steady stream of plays, all for the radio, ranging from comedy to serious drama to supernatural thrillers, finishing with 'the hitman' a comedy, which was actually taken up by French's acting editions; so a couple of times he's had the pleasure of seeing his work on the stage. There was one TV play, a 'second city first' which sank without trace. Having given writing a good bash and not making it out of bedsitter land, James went into IT, finding it a much more comfortable, logical world, with way better money. Married, three kids, has recently become interested in gardening, whatever that implies.
Radio drama enthusiasts regard his work very highly. "Jonas", "The Doppelganger" and
"The Missing Piece" are radio classics. His quirky comedies "The Jellico" and "Giving Up" are also superb.
*1974 Cerdic & the outside world
*29 Jun 74 The Jellicoe rpt 1975 R4 and WS 1976
*17 Feb 75 rpt 24 Jul 76 Jonas
16 Apr 75 Nuts
30 May 75 The wooing of Mr. Drimble
*2 Jul 75 Blodwin and the crock of gold
15 Nov 75 Blop
*7 Jun 76 The missing piece
*27 Nov 76 Mr. Jessop & the devil
*17 Dec 76 Father Christmas
*1 Jan 77 The doppelganger
28 May 77 The raffle prize
*8 Apr 78 The tale of the knight, the witch & the dragon
*15 Nov 78 Giving up
*3 Mar 79 A dream of murder
30 Mar 79 The nightmare story of Arnold Pottersbar (Just before midnight,15m)
24 Apr 79 A turn in the road
*25 May 79 The Bognor Regis vampire (Just before midnight, 15m)
8 Jun 79 The other side of the coin
*25 Feb 80 The barley sugar lollipop
*19 Feb 81 The best of friends
*3 Jan 88 The snowman killing (Fear on Four)
*15 Aug 89 The hit man
Asterisked plays know to exist in VRPCC collections.
Other remarks about these plays:
THE JELLICOE is a social story about an upright piano and its owner. JONAS is a malevolent spirit trapped in a ouija board. THE MISSING PIECE has supernatural overtones, as does THE DOPPELGANGER. GIVING UP is about a smoker who wants to quit; THE HIT MAN is a highly entertaining story about a hired killer's loyalties, and THE SNOWMAN KILLING is a particularly nasty tale in the "Fear on Four" series; you will only listen to it once...
ND / Diversity Website
THE SNOWMAN KILLING....1988
1st of 12 horror and suspense plays in the series FEAR ON FOUR. Introduced by Edward de Souza as The Man in Black. Produced for Fear on Four by Martin Jenkins. With Imelda Staunton, Alistair White, Alkis Constantouris, Brian Hewlett, Emily Richard, Eva Stuart .
THE BEST OF FRIENDS....1981
Produced by Ian Cotterell, R4 19-Sep-1981; with Rosalind Adams,
Patience Tomlinson, Gordon Reid, Christopher Scoular, Andrew
Secombe, Angela Down, Michael Cochrane, Frances Jeater. A
murder story with a difference: Bill and John have been friends
since schooldays - but when Bill is found dead in his
house, skull smashed by a golf club, John is implicated...
..........recording sent by John King: many thanks.....-N.D..
THE BARLEY SUGAR LOLLIPOP....1980
with Frances Jeater, Sean Barrett, Anna Cropper, Elizabeth Lindsay
Directed by Ian Cotterell. 25 Feb 80, Monday play, rpt. 2 Mar 80, afternoon theatre.
Tom and Jill are happily married, then Tom's old
flame Jenny bounces back into their lives. The action jumps around
from the present to the past and back again.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN....1979
With Deborah Paige/Ian Thompson. 8 Jun 79. A relationship develops between a married man and a woman with a long-term boyfriend. We hear the thoughts of both protaganists as the affair progresses - hence the title; a most memorable play. Don't know who produced it but I guess it was Ian Cotterell. 55m.
The BOGNOR REGIS VAMPIRE....1979
With Philip Voss, Margot Boyd, Philip Voss,Tammy Ustinov . Producer: Ian Cotterell. R4 25-May-1979.
THE NIGHTMARE STORY OF ARNOLD POTTERSBAR....1979
with Charles Kay & Kathleen Helme; produced by Ian Cotterell. R4 30-Mar-1979
A DREAM OF MURDER ....1979
Another unnerving paranormal thriller. A group of friends suffer
from a recurring nightmare, which gets gradually worse. It predicts a murder. Radiophonic sound by Paddy Kingsland. Produced by Ian Cotterell.
R4 03-Mar-1979. With Nigel Anthony, Sean Barrett, Sheila Grant,
Alan MacNaughtan, Rosalind Shanks, Tammy Ustinov, Alison
Draper, Josie Kidd, Fred Bryant. Recording sent by Paul
Collins - many thanks.
Produced by Gerry Jones; R4 15-Nov-1978. John Pullen,
Anthony Newlands, Henry Knowles, Nigel Lambert, Brian
Haines, Fred Bryant, Eric Allan, Michael Spice, Peter
Wickham, Philip Voss, Philip Sully, Manning Wilson,
John Gabriel, Andrew Branch, Timothy Bentick, Danny
Schiller. A very amusing story about a guy who is trying
to give up smoking, from the point of view of the organs in charge of his body.
.....Recording sent by Jeremy Stevenson; many thanks...
THE TALE OF THE KNIGHT, THE WITCH AND THE DRAGON....1978
Quadrophonic recording; dragon created by Radiophonic Workshop. Producer: Ian Cotterell. R4 08-Jul-1978. With Timothy Bateson, Patrick Stewart, Marcus Campbell, Henry Knowles, Gavin Campbell, Elizabeth Proud, Sheila Grant, Anthony Newlands, Peggy Paige, Kate Binchy, Jonathan Scott, Kenneth Shanley.
Excellent tale about a champion knight who's selected to kill a dragon controlled by a witch. But the witch has a beautiful daughter, and there's a princess, and the knight's squire, and ...... brilliant production! ...ND
Music by Paddy Kingsland &
B.B.C. Radiophonic Workshop. Producer: Ian Cotterell.........
Adam & Jane are on a make-or-break second honeymoon; but at Oxford
station, Adam sees his possibly dead mother & then at the hotel he
meets Beth, a 25 year old girl with the mind of a child of seven, who
looks like Jane....."a doppelganger is your other self - your dark
brother of myth, who wishes to take your place in this world..." ...
R4 1-Jan-1977. With Elizabeth Lindsay, Penelope Lee, Nigel Anthony,
Emily Richard, Mary Wimbush, Jack May, Geoffrey Collins.
Produced by Christopher Venning, R4 17-Dec-1976. With Rosalind Shanks, Christopher Scoular, Christopher Cazenove, Simon Richmond, William Eedle, Anton Philips, Rod Beacham. A 'relationships' tale ...
Produced by Ian Cotterell : R4 17-Feb-1975...with Julian Holloway,
Anna Cropper, John Rye, Prunella Scales, Carole Boyd, David March.
Two couples innocently play with a ouija board and find themselves drawn
into an unnerving relationship with Jonas, who has been dead for nearly a
J.C.W. Brook R4 16.4.1975/1130 Emily Richard/Nigel Anthony/Dinsdale Landen/Michael Shannon
- Produced by Gerry Jones. 15-Nov-1975...with Peter Jeffrey, Betty Huntley-Wright, Michael Cochrane, Anthony Higginson.
An excellent light comedy - drama involving a young couple
and an elderly brother and sister who fell out years ago over
something they can't remember... with Derek Seaton as Ian,
Richard Hurndall as Fred, Glays Spencer as Alice and Rosalind
Adams as Clare, and Betty Huntley-Wright as the housekeeper.
Produced by David Spencer. The Jellico, incidentally, is a piano.
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