Robert Westall was born in 1929 in North Shields, Tyneside. After studying at Durham University and the University of London he became an art teacher at Sir John Deane's College in Northwich, Cheshire. He left in 1985 and briefly became an antique dealer. His first novel, 'The Machine Gunners' was published in 1975.
Westall left the North East in his early twenties, but he returned to it time and again in his writing. He wrote novels set in Tyneside in the Second World War, and a number of creepy tales which have been dramatised for radio. He died in 1993.
BBC RADIO BROADCASTS
06.07.81 The Wind Eye
05.02.89 St. Austin's Friars ("Fear on Four)
31.10.92 Yaxley's Cat
??.06.96 The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral
27.07.02 The Wheatstone Pond
NOTES ON SOME OF THE PLAYS
THE WIND EYE 1981
A slightly eerie "timeslip" story about a family on holiday and an old fishing boat. No casting
details available; my recording lacks the closing credits.
YAXLEY'S CAT 1992
Frightening tale set in less enlightened times...superstition and persecution, with Richard Pearce as Tim, Susan Mann as Jane, Kathryn Hurlbutt;also stars Peter Tuddenham, Patience Tomlinson, Jonathan Wyatt, Jo Kendall, Graham Howes. Directed at Pebble Mill by Nigel Bryant.
THE STONES OF MUNCASTER CATHEDRAL 1996
A supernatural thriller, narrated by the steeplejack who is hired to restore part of the cathedral. He feels uneasy each time he works on one of the towers, and his son starts to behave strangely. Then there's a serious accident. He decides to look into the tower's history. With Peter Meakin as Joe Clarke, Terry Molloy as Sergeant Allardyce, John Webb as Revd. Morris; also stars David Holt as
the Billy, Sally Ormond, Tim Black, Richard Mitchley, Gillian Goodman, Zeta Sattar, Anthony Pedley; directed at Pebble Mill by Rosemary Watts.
THE WHEATSTONE POND 2002
----Robert Westall, who died in 1993, had a reputation for high quality tales of the supernatural. In 1981 we had The Wind Eye, a story about a family on holiday in a deserted bay, where past and present are intertwined. Yaxley's Cat, (1992) was about superstition and persecution in 1600 Grimsby. In 1996 we had The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral, with a demon inhabiting the tower. Recently we heard The Wheatstone Pond (R4, 1430, 27 Jul 02); once an Edwardian boating lake, but now deserted and forgotten. There is a suicide; the pond is drained, and some very disturbing objects are found in the mud. Martyn Read did the dramatization, and the director was Rosemary Watts. In Westall's words, "there is a freedom in ghostliness. You break the surface of life and let the underside come out. If even life is a flat plane, the ghastliness gives depth and height. It's a new dimension". (Norham College website, Tyneside) --ND, VRPCC newsletter, Sep 02
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
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