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Alex Ferguson Radio Plays

Alex Ferguson was born in Jarrow and lives on Tyneside. He is an experienced writer who has worked in radio, television and film. For radio he wrote some plays in the late fifties and early sixties, none of which seem to have survived as recordings; he resumed radio work about thirty years later.

His R4 series 'My Uncle Freddie" ran for six seasons won the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain’s Award for Comedy & Light entertainment in 1997.

Information about some of the individual plays is shown below.

Alex is the founding writer of Corin & Vanessa Redgrave’s Moving Theatre with productions of his plays 'The Flag' and 'Casement' at Battersea Lane and the Riverside. Television work includes the short film 'Lads!' He founded the Bold As Brass Theatre Company in 1997 and was Creative Director until 2008, when he became Life President.

His collections of short stories, 'My Uncle Freddie' (2004) and 'Uncle Freddie and the Prince of Wales' (2010) are in print, published by Iron Press. He has also written juvenile fiction.


Information mainly summarised from www.authorhouse.co.uk (thanks to GL for locating this - ND)



BBC BROADCASTS

A woman's walk is never done*....2000
Afternoon play, 1 Sep 00. The first of four plays by various writers in the series 'Walks of Protest'. Jessie Lincoln is left holding the baby when husband Tom joins the Jarrow March. But as Tom marches in one direction, headstrong Jessie marches in another - and takes the road to independence. With Janine Birkett, Trevor Fox, Carol McGuigan, Peggy Shields and Jack McBride. Director: Lindsay Leonard.

I see the moon*....1999
Ghost story, 22 Apr 99,45m, rpt. 2001.

The old man & the angel*....1998
R4, 11 Jul 1998, with James Bolam.
...........The Old Man & The Angel by Alex Ferguson (R4, 1500 hrs. 11 July) was an excellent play about an old man who loses his wife.........then an angel appears to him. The dialogue between the old man, played by James Bolam, the angel and various people who try to help him, including a particularly unctuous counsellor, is wonderful. Sensitive listeners should have handkerchiefs ready.......ND, VRPCC newsletter, Sep 98

My Uncle Freddie....1997
Set in 1930s Jarrow: trilogy relating the antics of ten-year old Lecky and his imaginative Uncle Freddie. With Gareth Brown, Shaun Prendergast and Charlie Hardwick; director Melanie Harris. See listing below. Rpt. BBC7 Feb 08.

DANCING ON THE METRO....1994
Broadcast 1 Mar 94.


WALPAMUR AND PLYWOOD....1993
13 Mar 93, SNT, by Alex Ferguson. In 1934, the Ashington branch of the Workers' Educational Association decided to add art appreciation to its evening classes. The WEA and Durham University organised for the painter and teacher Robert Lyon to come and instruct the group, but its members, mainly miners from the Woodhorn and Ellington Collieries, quickly grew dissatisfied with the course. To kindle their interest, Lyon suggested that the group members try creating their own paintings as a means to develop an understanding and appreciation of art.

Features Corin Redgrave as Robert Lyon, with Derek Walmsley, Art Davies, David Begg, Joe Caffrey, John Branwell, Christine Cox, Carole Copeland, James Thackeray and David Swinburn. Directed in Manchester by Dave Sheasby

For more information about what became known as The Ashington Artists Group, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashington_Group

See also 2007 R3 play "The Pitmen Painters" by Lee Hall (adapted from his stage play) which was inspired by William Feaver's 1988 book, "Pitmen Painters: Ashington Group, 1934-84".

A date in September*....1992
3 Feb 92; afternoon play; a man attends an old school reunion after 40-odd years; his wife is not keen on either his old schoolmates or his enthusiasm for seeing them, and with good reason.


Alex also lists some plays he wrote much earlier, in the late fifties and early sixties, broadcast by the BBC:

THE SONG OF CRAZY HORSE ....1960
15 Jun 60. With Robert Shaw. Produced in London by John Gibson

THE SECRET VALLEY....c1960
Produced in Leeds, probably by Colin Shaw.

THE PIANO PLAYER ....1958
21 Aug 58; Home Service, The Thursday Play, with William Sylvester, Patrick Magee, Mary O'Farrell. Produced in London by John Gibson.


SNT=Saturday Night Theatre.



Series:

MY UNCLE FREDDIE....1990-2000
Alex Ferguson’s comic drama set on Tyneside in the 1930s and 40s. Lecky Ferguson is growing up in a penniless but close-knit family in wartime Jarrow, and relies for explanations of the world’s many mysteries on Uncle Freddie. Some of the plots are slightly surreal; for example, in one episode a biplane is shot down with a catapult; they are also acutely observed.

There were several series:

Afternoon plays, 45m:
1. 4 Apr 90 The Pineapple King of Jarrow
2. 11 Apr 90 A Shocking Day
3. 18 Apr 90 For the honour of the family

4 Mar 92 Another Woman's Child
11 Mar 92 A Tale of Sunshine and Showers
18 Mar 92 Red Sails in the Sunset
Sean Prendergast, Alex Ferguson, Gareth Brown; prod. Melanie Harris.

1. 16 Jul 97 Heart's Ache, Heart's Ease, rpt. 27 Sep 97
2. 23 Jul 97 A Time of Deep Afflication, rpt. 4 Oct 97
3. 30 Jul 97 A Catalogue of Disasters rpt. 11 Oct 97
Sean Prendergast, Alex Ferguson, Gareth Brown; prod. Melanie Harris. All 45m.

Evening drama, 8pm, 30min:
1. 9 Apr 98 A Flying Visit
2. 16 Apr 98 A Prayer for Those Abroad
3. 23 Apr 98 You Know What Pilots Say
4. 30 Apr 98 The Flight of Birds
5. 7 May 98 Life is a Bowl of Cherries
6. 14 May 98 Big Boys Don't Cry
Sean Prendergast as Uncle Freddie, Alex Ferguson as narrator, Gareth Brown as young Lecky Ferguson. Producer Melanie Harris.

1. 18 Mar 99 Harvest of Hope
2. 25 Mar 99 Love's Long Journey
3. 1 Apr 99 Where Black Tides Rage
4. 8 Apr 99 When All Hope is Gone
5. 15 Apr 99 A Visitation of Angels
6. 22 Apr 99 Of the Brotherhood of Man
Sean Prendergast as Uncle Freddie, Alex Ferguson as narrator, Gareth Brown as young Lecky Ferguson. Producer Melanie Harris. Apparently this series is a repeat broadcast.

1. 3 Jul 00 Two Heads are Better Than One
2. 10 Jul 00 Do Butterflies Have Souls?
3. 17 Jul 00 The Blue Bird of Happiness
4. 24 Jul 00 What is This Thing Called Love?
5. 31 Jul 00 I'll Tell You What Love Is
6. 7 Aug 00 Blue Birds Over
Sean Prendergast, Jamie Bell, Alex Ferguson, Colin Maclachlan. Producer Melanie Harris.


    Review of print version of 'Uncle Freddie and the Prince of Wales'
    ....this book is simply a nugget of gold, a diamond, a thing of rare beauty. True, it is comical; but I think that what totally won me over was its celebration of humanity: It's funny, but it is so much more. Everyone should have a uncle Freddy-and the other wonderful characters you will find here.
    (summary of a review by KJB, Amazon website, Jan 2013)


      ....and a summary from the Ironpress website:
      .....A new collection of short stories, again focusing on the author's part-real part-mythical Uncle Freddie, located in the Jarrow of the 1940s where the author grew up.

      The writing is an amalgam of the terrible poverty of wartime Tyneside and the surreally imaginative – meeting such famous characters as the Prince of Wales or Joe Stalin upstairs on a no.38 bus en route to Hebburn.

      Iron Press published Ferguson's story collection The Pineapple King of Jarrow in 2004, which rapidly sold out. That work was dramatised by BBC producer Melanie Harris, who is planning to dramatise the new collection, this time for the stage with her own indie production company CrossLab Productions.





Nigel Deacon / Diversity Website

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