STEVE MAY RADIO PLAYS
A stylish writer for radio who has
written some excellent comedies....I have only a little biographical
information, but know that he has judged plays for the Society of Authors
(e.g. Imison Award, 2003) and has written music for at least one
of his own plays.
Update..........I have found some information on the Society
of Authors website, where Steve is on the Broadcasting Committee. He has
written around 30 plays for BBC R3 and R4. "No Exceptions" won a Giles
Cooper Award, and "Fair Hearing", with music by the author, was runner-up
for Writers' Guild best original script...he has contributed to a wide
variety of publications (natiional newspapers, Penthouse, Medieval English
Theatre) and done talks on R3. He is a trumpeter, and arranges and performs
jazz for City Lights.
1982 Poisoned Apples
1983 No Exceptions
1984 Mirror, Signal, Manoevre
1987 On a Plate
1988 Cultivating Friends
1989 The Governor
1991 A selection of ordinary household sounds
1993 Testosterone I Sing, R3
1993 Check the Tension
1996 Cover, Recovery
1997 Fair hearing, R3
1998 Last Man Out
1998 Quartet (serial)
1999 Market Research
2001 The night before Christmas
2002 Baby First
2003 Pets (a reading of a Steve May short story)
2003 Facing the Mirror, 45m
2004 Chess Wars
nk ...Down among the Umalogas
nk ...Fair Hearing
NOTES ON SOME OF THE PLAYS
19 Jun 82; with Ingrid Hafner/Caroline Bliss.
15.10.83. With Rod Beacham.
ON A PLATE....1987
14 Jul 87. As part of the Catering programme at the Youth Centre, Trevor is sent by Mr. Palmer to the 'Silver Spoon Restaurant' to start two weeks of training.
With Anthony Jackson [The Cook], Chris Chescoe [Trevor], Paul Gregory [The Archbishop], Ian Thompson [Mr. Jardin, the Lecturer], Michael Tudor Barnes [An M.P.], and Stephen Thorne [another M.P.]. BBC Announcer Peter Donaldson; directed by Richard Wortley.
Produced by Richard Wortley. Paul, a do-gooder youth worker, is sent to Ringworm, unemployment
capital of the North. Fred, an ancient gardener, shows him what's
what. 9 June 88 - Afternoon Play.
Christopher Scott ............Paul
Geoffrey Matthews ............Fred
Stephen Tompkinson ...........Kev
David Learner ................Trev
Steven Harrold ...............First Voice
Victoria Carling .............Bev / Second Voice
Michael Tudor Barnes .........Cabinet Minister
R4, 25 Nov, SNT. With David Collings, Donald Gee, Geoffrey
Whitehead. This is a satire on the HIV scares of the late 80s. Excellent play, if a bit long.
BBC Radio 3: Drama Now; 14th Nov 89.
Based on a true story, "The Governor" is set in the remote South Pacific island of Pitcairn, a small volcanic island with approximately 1.75 square miles of land area, located halfway between New Zealand and South America, c1832.
In 1832, Joshua Hill arrives on Pitcairn Island, inhabited in the 1790s by British mutineers from HMS Bounty and some Tahitians who joined them. The descendants of the mutineers, who had lived for 30 years under the leadership of the last mutineer, John Adams, migrated to Tahiti in 1829 following his death, but then returned.
The plot: Hill has plans of his own.
Cast: Geoffrey Whitehead [Joshua Hill], John Moffatt [English Captain], Brian Miller [George Hunn Nobbs], Charles Simpson [Evans], Michael Graham Cox [John Buffet], Stephen Garlick [Fletcher Christian], Richard Tate [Edward Quintal], Ken Cumberlidge [William Young], Elizabeth Mansfield [Mrs. Evans], Joe Dunlop [Captain Sanderlands], Danny Schiller [Charles Christian], Colin Starkey [Captain Freemantle], Simon Treves [Lord Russell], Susan Sheridan [Sarah Nobbs], and Tara Dominick [Diana Quintal].
The children were played by Susan Sheridan, Elizabeth Mansfield, Tara Dominick, Gary Briggs, Emma Bunton, and Nicholas Gatt.
Directed by Richard Wortley.
A SELECTION OF ORDINARY HOUSEHOLD SOUNDS....1991
2 Apr 91. With Amanda Redman/Robert Glenister
TESTOSTERONE I SING....1993
Unusual comedy with cricketing overtones. Was broadcast on radio 3. Contains
some very choice lines.
CHECK THE TENSION....1993
A black comedy; an angry, know-all teenager argues with her awkward mother.
18 Jan 96. Comedy involving an insurance salesman and a lonely housewife.
29 Jun 1997 - The Sunday Play
By Steve May. During the Second World War, Charlie, a young violinist, finds a place in Michael Tippett's Voluntary Employment Orchestra. Like the man he so admires, Charlie wants to be a virtuoso musician and a conscientious objector, but for a poor kid from Peckham, even to get a fair hearing is not that easy. With Julian Rhind Tutt, Samuel West, Gavin Muir, Bill Wallis, Tessa Worsley and Denys Hawthorne. Director Eoin O'Callaghan.
LAST MAN OUT....1998
R4, 1400, 6 Jan 98. At the end of a night of jazz, only the drummer
and the bar manager remain, packing up and picking over the remains of their
lives (RT). Louise Lombard/Donald Sumpter, dir. Ned Chaillet.
12 x 12m drama serial about four musicians who've just left college.
They form a radical and somewhat unlikely quartet (RT). Music by Steve May,
performed by Adam Walters (horn), Paul Sharman (trumpet), Marie Lloyd
(clarinet), and Charlotte Eksteen (cello). The actors: Amanda Gordon,
Ian Jeffs, Alex Lowe, Colleen Prendergast, Robert Harper, Rachel
Atkins. Dir. Eoin O'Callahagn.
Friday Play, 5 Mar 99. It is 9pm on the first Friday in March. Tessa
is waiting for her 14-year-old daughter to come home. But it seems that
she's not accepted the terms of her 9 o'clock curfew. With Lindsey Coulson,
Kelly Wright, Harry Myers, Dawn McCormack; dir. Jeremy Mortimer.
Rosewell College of Higher Education is in the throes of
implementing yet another half-baked initative (where have we heard
this before?)...Terry has been gazumped for the job of Dean by
Nigel the nerd, who now threatens to chase industrial sponsorship
at any cost. With Russell Dixon, Nicholas Farrell; dir. Peter
PROFILE by Steve May (4 June, 1415 hrs. R4) was a wonderful send-up of the Further Education system. The Faculty of Human Interests has a new, reorganising Dean. One by one, the staff members have to invent schemes to market the College more effectively. The best idea ensures promotion to the position of Dean's Assistant. But who wants to be associated with a lazy womaniser called "Nigel"? The staffroom caricatures were here in full force : the 'yes-man', the lecher, the cynic, the would-be novelist, the bully..............anyone involved with education who has witnessed the half-baked schemes thrown at it over the last decade will find this a real tonic. (ND, VRPCC review, Sept 99)
A black comedy about market forces and sentimentality. With
Samantha Bond, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Hugh Ross and Sandra James-Young.
Dir. Richard Wortley.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS....2001
Stars Clement Freud, Samuel Barnett. This was broadcast on 19th
December and was a lighthearted Christmas comedy. RT: To 17-year-old
Justin, it does not feel like Christmas. In trouble with his mum and
his girlfriend, he is dismissive. But he discovers the magic of
Christmas is real.
Michael is an evolutionary biologist who has written books on the
reproduction imperative. But when he becomes a father he has to try
out his theories in real life. Humorously illustrates
what we all know-
those with the biggest brains often have the least sense. R4, 11 Mar 02.
Read by John Telfer on stage at the Bath Festival. Even very clever
cats can make mistakes...story 3 of a series of five,
the rest by other writers.
FACING THE MIRROR....2003
R4, 29 Dec 03, 1415: Robert Sockhart is turning into his mother.
Now she's dead and he wants to shake her off, and do things right with
his daughter, but his mother keeps turning up...in his face and hair and
under his skin. This is not a radio play in the usual sense; there are
dramatic elements to it but there are also interviews. With James Quinn, Pat Keen, Cherie Taylor-Baptiste, Andrew
Hilton, Ben Casswell. Pianist Steve May; directed by Mary Ward Lowery.
"Chess Wars" is a dramatised reconstuction of one of the strangest contests ever held - the World Chess Championship in which Bobby Fischer challenged Boris Spassky for his crown in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1972.
Boris Spassky is the reigning World Chess Champion and, at 35, he's polite, diffident, a champion who would grind out victories. Bobby Fischer - aged 29, the American wunderkid of chess, tempestuous, unpredictable, a very fast, aggressive player, a truly inspiring match winner, and a monster - challenges him. Each is the product of a very different political system -of two nations currently eyeball-to-eyeball over the SALT Nuclear Disarmament Talks.
Before a pawn is exchanged on the chess board, the antics, the brinkmanship and the tantrums which marked out this peculiar contest began. With each game, the spectacle of the Cold War being fought by proxy becomes more compelling.
With Anton Lesser [Boris Spassky], Adam Levy [Bobby Fischer], Bill Wallis [Bill Lombardy], Christopher Rozycki [The KGB], Kenneth Collard [The Referee], Garrick Hagon [Paul Marshall], Roland Oliver [The Grandmaster ], Carl Prekopp [Chester Fox], and Christian Rodska [The Narrator].
Directed by Jeremy Howe.
19May 08. Comedy thriller by Steve May. Cassie is a horizon scanner for a global bank. When she discovers a black hole in the markets, she must get to the bottom of it. Her father is busy trying to read the credit crunch and her mother is busy shopping online with credit cards. Her colleague Reg is stealing her computer memory to develop his own software. All are trying to plan for the future in their different ways. Cast:
Cassie ...... Devon Black,
Frank ...... Paul Clayton,
Mark ...... Mark Meadows,
Reg ...... Carl Prekopp,
Lesley ...... Marlene Sidaway,
Bank Manager ...... Stephen Critchlow,
5 May 15: Higher
New series. Ep. 1 of 2: Year of the Rat. More of the comedy by Steve May, chronicling the exploits of staff at the worst University in the country. Jim is sent to China to recruit new students, but the new interim vice-chancellor seems to be setting him up to fail. Conclusion on 6 May. Jim: Jonathan Keeble, Karen: Julia Roundthwaite, with Sarah Lam, Alex Liang, Mark Chatterton, Olwen May, Andonis James Anthony, Emily Pithon and Will Tacey. Produced by Gary Brown. Repeated in 2017.
6 May 15: Higher
Ep. 2 of 2: Creative Solutions. Jim has returned in triumph from China and is rewarded by being promoted to makeshift vice-chancellor, but a shady educational company is working with the board of governors, intent on doing a deal with the university. Cast and producer - see yesterday's entry. Repeated in 2017.
DOWN AMONG THE UMALOGAS....date nk
Will the white man be able to fit in with the natives? More to the
point, will he be good enough?
TURTLE NECK....date nk
Very curious multilayered play about a missing child. I think this was broadcast on R3. About 55m.
Nigel Deacon , Diversity website, with help from 'radiofans'.
Back to top