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Unreasonable Behaviour
by Christopher Reason

Christopher Reason - Unreasonable Behaviour

R4, Monday Play. 1 Jun 92.

Stephen Malone is an ambitious West Yorkshire Labour councillor who, in the past five years after being elected to office, has risen to Deputy Leader and Chair of the Borough's Social Services Committee. With the recent election having past and Labour having won a wafer-thin majority in Council, Stephen now feels confident he can push through the recommendations made by Alan McAndrew, Director of West Yorkshire Social Services, in his report to the Social Services Committee in which Alan shows the scandalous behaviour of the Tories when they previously led the Social Services Committee. Stephen has a lot riding on Alan's report (a man he hand-picked for the job) as he wants to finally bring the Borough into the second-half of the 20th century.

Watching Stephen's rise is Harry Greenwood, Leader of the Trade Union, who has been impressed with Stephen for some time. Stephen has ambition, flare; is a good talker and knows how to handle the media; he knows when to keep his mouth shut and when to stir things up. These are all qualities he admires and Stephen has done wonders with Social Services since he took over the Committee.

Harry approaches Stephen with an offer that might interest an ambitious young man. Old man Rossiter, the Labour MP for the area, went in for his check-up the previous week and found he had a heart problem. He'll be standing down sometime over the next few weeks, but both Greenwood and Rossiter want Stephen to run for Labour in the By-election which is to follow. With Rossiter sitting on a 15,000 majority and with Harry having all the Trade Union votes in his pocket, it would be a cinch for Stephen to get and win the nomination to run for Labour and win the By-election.

That said, this offer is given only if the rumour of Stephen having marital problems are false. Labour can't afford to have a candidate whose marriage is disintegrating during the By-election. Excited about the offer, Stephen emphatically denies this rumour, even though he is secretly trying to patch up his marriage after receiving a surprise telegram that very day from his wife's solicitor asking for a legal separation. But the telegram isn't the last surprise for Stephen.....

The play opens with the result of one of the 'surprises' Stephen will receive before looking back at the events leading up to it. Dr. Alan McAndrew, the former Director of Social Services (now Prisoner 8437), has been given a sheet of paper to list the reasons he wished to be segregated from other prisoners under the terms of Rule 43. Alan, a former hard-working and respected civil servant, has just been given a dressing down by the judge at his trial who called Alan a respected member of the community who occupied a position of supreme trust, a trust he abused. The community now holds Alan in contempt, but the one mitigating factor in his favour is that he pled guilty to these charges and thereby spared his victim the ordeal of having to testify. The judge sentenced him to three years in prison...

Christopher Reason's play about an ambitious local councillor won the 1992 Writers' Guild Award for best original radio play. Also, Siriol Jenkins won the Radio Times Award for Best Actress.

With Russell Dixon [Dr. Alan McAndrew, 47-year-old Director of West Yorkshire Social Services], Siriol Jenkins [Judy Anne Morrison, 15-year-old in Care of West Yorkshire Social Services], Keith Drinkel [Stephen Malone, West Yorkshire Labour Councillor and Deputy Leader & Chair of the Borough's Social Services Committee], Gillian Bevan [Joanne Malone, Stephen's Neglected Wife of 12 Years], Melanie Hudson [Mary Douglas, 26-year-old West Yorkshire Social Worker], Theresa Streatfeild [Joanne's Solicitor], Joanna Wake [Ruth, West Yorkshire Labour Councillor], Peter Gunn [Colin Sanders, Divisional Officer in Social Services (Mary's Boss)], Eric Allan [Harry Greenwood, Leader of Trade Union in West Yorkshire], John Church [Mr. Curtis, West Yorkshire Conservative Councillor], Jonathan Adams [Mr. Hunt, West Yorkshire Conservative Councillor], David Learner [Alan's Solicitor], Gordon Reid and Peter Penry-Jones [The Prison Officers].

Other parts played by members of the cast.

Directed by Marilyn Imrie.

Re-broadcast on BBC Radio 4: Saturday Night Theatre on Saturday 27th February 1993 @ 7:50 p.m.

Jim

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