HOME

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.

BBC BROADCASTS

1982 Poisoned Apples
1983 Jack
1983 No Exceptions
1984 Mirror, Signal, Manoevre
1987 On a Plate
1988 Cultivating Friends
1989 Sid
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
1999 Waiting
1999 Profile
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
2008 Horizon
nk ...Down among the Umalogas
nk ...Fair Hearing
nk...Turtle Neck

NOTES ON SOME OF THE PLAYS

POISONED APPLES....1982
19 Jun 82; with Ingrid Hafner/Caroline Bliss.

NO EXCEPTIONS....1983
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.

CULTIVATING FRIENDS....1988
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.

Cast List:
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

SID....1989
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.

THE GOVERNOR
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.

COVER, RECOVERY....1996
18 Jan 96. Comedy involving an insurance salesman and a lonely housewife.

FAIR HEARING....1997 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.

QUARTET....1998
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.

WAITING....1999
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.

PROFILE....1999
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 Kavanagh.

    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)

MARKET RESEARCH....1999
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.

BABY FIRST....2002
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.

PETS....2003
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....2004
"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.

Horizonů.2008
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, Producerů.Mary Ward-Lowery.

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

Radio Plays
Apples
Potatoes
Vegetables
Wine Making
Music
Artwork
Cosby Methodist Church
Gokart Racing
Links to other Sites
Contact Us