Bill Stanton was born in Brightside, Sheffield in 1917. He was the second youngest of a family of eight. He trained as a teacher, then volunteered for the Army. After the war he ran a private school with his wife Dorothy. Then he worked for the English Steel Corporation, firstly (1954) as a sales representative. When he retired in 1980 it was as Area Manager for British Steel in Leeds.
A much more detailed biography of Bill Stanton is available on the site run by the Stanton family:
and there is also some information on Wikipedia.
This site concentrates on his radio work. In 1960 he had a short story broadcast on BBC radio as the Morning Story; the first of a series. In 1966 his drama-doc, "Young Joey", was broadcast, and it was followed by his first fictional drama, The Compost Heap, in 1969 -the story of an old man who has become a burden to his family. After this he wrote a large number of plays on social issues, drawing on his experience of family life in Sheffield. He taught on weekend courses for aspiring writers for thirty years until his death at the age of 82. He took a degree in English Literature at York University in his seventies; the oldest graduate the university has had.
The radio plays I've traced are listed below. I am grateful for information supplied by Roger Bickerton.
BBC RADIO PLAYS
Recordings of asterisked plays known to exist within VRPCC collections.
NOTES ON THE PLAYS
Fruits of two Seasons....1973
Dayspring is at Hand....1973
The Compost Heap....1969
A Thin Man Screaming....1971
The middle-aged, overweight chief clerk in a steel stockholders company has his boat rocked when his departmental manager dies suddenly. Will he inherit the job? There are some obstacles: his lack of ambition, his lifestyle (he lives with his mother and is totally dependent on her) and lack of knowledge of the world. He's not very good with women, either; his number one love is food.
The Compost Heap....1972
Twelve Tuesdays to Christmas....1972
A PLUG FOR THE CABINET
A tale of woe about the unfortunate Lucius Tring, an innocent abroad in the world of D.I.Y.
The play has been written by Bill Stanton, who has definite views on the shape of the short play.
"When I was a very new boy at radio drama I had the feeling that the BBC would do anything that was good drama, and I wrote a tem-minute play. I sent it along, and Bill Ash said yes, he thought it was very funny, but there was no way they could possibly use it because the BBC has to work on scheduled plots; it has to be a play of given length, and that's the discipline. You have to learn how to write to a given length. Of all the different lengths, fifteen minutes is the toughest.
Curiously enough, some years ago,. I attended a writers' seminar, and they played us a tape of Tom Stoppard's lovely short play, about the taxi. That's the sort of thing that works at that length. It has to have .... a sort of inevitability about it ..... it has to build up frenetically, as it were, to the point where you hit the climax, and then - that's it - and out! I found it quite a tough discipline".
Bill agrees that the trap to be avoided is that of thinking up a brilliant idea and trying to squeeze it into fifteen minutes. As for his play 'A Plug for the Cabinet', the inspiration came from a member of his own family...
"I had a father-in-law who couldn't even replace a fuse. If he'd ever been put in the position of Lucius Tring, he would have ended up in just the same sort of disaster as Lucius did ......"
Nigel Deacon, Diversity website
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