Simon Brett began his professional life at the BBC working on radio programmes like Week Ending, Frank Muir Goes Into and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. At the age of 35 he became a full time writer. The result has been a string of radio comedy series, including After Henry, No Commitments and Smelling of Roses. He has appeared in quiz shows such as "Quote Unquote", and has chaired the News Quiz for several years. He has also presented the series Moral Notes which examined how the Victorians used popular songs to reflect morality and values.
Much of his comedy (After Henry, No Commitments and Smelling of Roses) has been based on the relationships women have with other women. In this context he has worked with Prunella Scales, Celia Imrie and Joan Sanderson.
Simon Brett was born in Worcester Park, Surrey. He was educated at Dulwich College and then at Wadham College, Oxford, where he studied English. Between 1967 and 1977, he was a producer with BBC Radio. He subsequently spent a couple of years working for Thames Television. He has written and edited a variety of books. He was a radio producer originally, before deciding that his sideline as a writer could be made full-time. Best known are his radio/TV sitcom After Henry, and his Charles Paris and Mrs Pargeter novels.
Women characters are so much easier to write anyway, he says, because they "tend to say what they think". They are also "less likely to posture or put on fronts" when in a group.
Simon is a contributor to the mystery series starring David Threlfall as Paulo Baldi, the sleuthing monk. He has written other one-off radio plays, details of which will be shown below if/when I can locate them.
(Part of the above is paraphrased from an interview I heard on Radio 4 during "Woman's Hour")
SIMON BRETT RADIO CREDITS
ONE-OFF PLAYS / SERIALS
Contributor to: Week Ending, The Burkiss Way, The News Huddlines, Frank Muir Goes Into..., and early work on The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
CAST IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE....1984
SO MUCH BLOOD....1985
AFTER HENRY (four series) - about 30 episodes, 1985-92. If you want to follow this up there are plenty of details on the British Comedy Website. The programmes are about three generations of women living in the same house. Prunella Scales was Susan (the middle-aged widow), Joan Sanderson was her mother, and Gerry Cowper was the daughter. Russell, the owner of the bookshop where Susan works, was played by Benjamin Whitrow.
1st series: 8 x 30m shows
22ndDec85 A WEEK OF SUNDAYS. (Christmas Edtion)
NO COMMITMENTS (1992-1999) This is another sitcom about the lives of three interconnected women: Anna (Rosemary Leach)and her sisters Victoria (Nicola Pagett / Angela Thorne ) and Charlotte (Celia Imrie, except Series Two where Josie Lawrence took the part). We have contented, self-assured Anna, who spent her middle years caring for the trio's parents, and her two younger sisters, one a domineering housewife and the other a hystrionic with a messy love life. There have been six series,which probably means about 30 episodes. Other websites can supply the detail.
UPDATE - another series, 6 episodes, Jan-Feb 2005
First series: 6 x 30m, 9th Jan-13th Feb 92.
I don't do logs of comedy shows - please don't email me the details! I think they are available on the British Comedy Website.
SMELLING OF ROSES....2000
Series 1- 6 x 30m 3rd May - 7 Jun 00.
THE BODY ON THE BEACH....2002
WOMB WITH A VIEW (summer 02? 45m)
RT-A monologue for two, adapted by Simon Brett from his stage play. What is it like for the baby during pregnancy? And who is really in charge, the mother or the baby? Felicity Goodson plays both the mother-to-be and the articulate embryo in a comedy of development and deliverance. With Felicity Goodson.
PUTTING THE KETTLE ON (14 Nov 02, 45m)
Baldi - The Book Case....2003
THE MAKING OF "CAVALIER"....2004
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
Thanks to Reiner Staszewski for sending info. on a play I missed.
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