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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 was 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 Down Among the Umalogas, 55m
1982 Poisoned Apples, 30
1983 Jack, 90
1983 No Exceptions, 30
1984 Mirror, Signal, Manoevre, 75
1985 To Glory We Steer, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
1985 Keeping Faith, 90
1986 Powers Passing, R3, 55
1986 False Pretences, 55
1987 On a Plate, 30
1988 Cultivating Friends
1988 Squatting In A Goldmine, 30
1988 Side Effects, 45
1988 Moonman, 75
1989 SID, 75
1989 The Governor, R3, 75
1990 A Vanity Case, R3, 25
1990 Turtle Neck, R3, 60
1991 A selection of ordinary household sounds, 30
1993 Check the Tension, 75
1993 Testosterone I Sing, R3, 45
1995 Fair hearing, R3 rpt 1997, 80. Music by SM.
1995 The Freedom Trap, 3 x 30
1996 Cover, Recovery, 30
1996 Remplisson, R3, 45
1998 Last Man Out, 30
1998 Quartet (serial). R3, 12 eps, music by the author
1999 Market Research, 45
1999 Waiting, 60
1999 Profile, 45
2001 The night before Christmas, 45
2002 Baby First, 45
2003 Pets (a reading of a Steve May short story)
2003 Facing the Mirror, 45m
2004 Chess Wars, 60
2004 Arthur, 6 x 45 (with Sebastian Baczkiewicz)
2006 Schach dem System (revised German version of Chess Wars), WDR, 55
2008 Horizon, 45
2008-2015 Higher: ten episodes, 45; all stand-alone plays



NOTES ON SOME OF THE PLAYS


DOWN AMONG THE UMALOGAS..1982
Will the white man be able to fit in with the natives? More to the point, will he be good enough?


POISONED APPLES..1982
19 Jun 82; with Ingrid Hafner/Caroline Bliss. BBC blurb: Trying desperately to avoid the wicked step-mother Image, Diane seeks to get through to her step-daughter Sandra, who is at home on vacation from college. She meets opposition at every turn. Produced by Brian Miller; BBC Bristol.


NO EXCEPTIONS..1983
15.10.83. With Rod Beacham as the teacher. Giles Cooper Award, Published By Methuen In Best Radio Plays Of 1983. Rpt. 11 Aug 84. Roger Burge can outrun anyone his age and is certain to lead the school athletics team. In class, however, he is the most disruptive of all the tough kids - and his teacher is determined to tame him. Rod Beacham, Roger Burge, producer - Alec Reid.


JACK..1983
20 Mar 83. In 1906, the American novelist and adventure-story writer Jack London undertook to circumnavigate the world in a small boat, accompanied by his wife, Charmian. In a series of revealing letters from both Jack and Charmian the story of this macho American writer is told. Jack London: Keith Alexander, Charmian London: Kate Harper, Martin: Peter Whitman, Voice of The Press: William Roberts. Producer: Brian Miller, BBC Bristol.


MIRROR, SIGNAL, MANOEVRE..1983
19 Mar 84. Having had enough of the stifling respectability of middle-class marriage, driving instructor Percy Longridge runs away to safety in an inner-city red light district. He soon finds, however, that it is not the refuge he imagined. Percy .... John Hartoch, Counsellor .... Angela Phillips, Susan .... Deborah Cranston, Brenda .... Narissa Knights, Vim .... John Telfer, Gavin .... Pavel Douglas, Heather .... Helen Atkinson Wood, Angie .... Tracy Harper, Surly man .... John Abineri, Perdita .... Miranda Richardson, Bernard .... Tim Meats, CID man .... William Hope, with Helen Atkinson Wood, Pavel Douglas and Anthony Hall. Producer: Brian Miller.


KEEPING FAITH ..1985
7 Oct 85. Monday Play. BBC blurb: Nothing is ever simple for Alan: the anarchy of the world inevitably casts a comic shadow between him and his hopes. His new job doing census returns looks like a doddle, but of course life gets in the way. Alan: Mike Gwilym, Grealey: Alan Thompson, Doctor: Peter Woodthorpe, Bonita: Kate Harper, Amanda: Carole Boyd, Paco: Edward de Souza, Luke: C J Allen, Winston: Paul Newney, Car driver: Brian Smith, with Gwen Cherrell, Christopher Douglas and Eddie Gachegua. Producer: Penny Gold.


FALSE PRETENCES ..1986
23 Sep 86. Cuppling College is 'the Jacobean-style home of recluse and reservoir poet Craig Biggin'. A weekend poetry course is assembled there with many a surprise to follow. Biggin: Anthony Jackson, Trish: Liza Ros, Bullneck Bullivant: Neville Smith, Emily: Sheila Grant, Roger: Eric Stovell, Heather: Susie Brann, Policeman: Tim Reynolds, Real Biggin: Richard Durden, Producer: Richard Wortley.


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. He meets Cook, a know-it-all at the restaurant, who wants Trevor to think big-time crime, but Trevor wants to be home in time for tea.

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; produced by Richard Wortley.


CULTIVATING FRIENDS..1988
Paul, a do-gooder youth worker, is sent to Ringworm, unemployment capital of the North. Fred, an ancient gardener on the allotments, shows him what's what. 9 June 88 - Afternoon Play. Rpt. 1989.

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
Produced by Richard Wortley.


MOONMAN..1988
20 Jun 88. Ambrose Byron has written a book. He is a security guard in a shopping precinct and nobody is inclined to take his literary talent seriously. Byron v the world. Byron .... Norman Beaton, Trina .... Sylvestre Le Touzel, Debbi .... Carolyn Backhouse, Morris .... Ewen Cummins, DJ/Chairman .... Steve Hodson, Coggin/Lord Imber .... Laurence Payne, Simon .... Ian Targett, Bookshop manager/Schmidt .... Simon Cuff, Sales rep/DJ .... Stephen Rashbrook, Sally .... Emily Richard, Princess .... Camilla Power, Jag .... Richard Tate, Chatshow host .... Michael Tudor Barnes, Critic .... Michael Deacon, Interviewer .... Paulsirr, Youths: Mark McKenzie and Dwauen Ackerman. Producer: Penny Gold.


SQUATTING IN A GOLD MINE..1988
11 Oct 88. In the series "Tuesday Follies" - six 30-minute plays. Prissy young Robert informs his wife that house prices are booming and they are sitting on a gold mine. But then who is squatting in their basement? Robert .... Robert Glenister, Anne .... Moir Leslie, Cath .... Polly James, Pats .... Maggie McCarthy, Gutty .... Anthony Jackson, Producer: Richard Wortley.


SID..1989
R4, 25 Nov, SNT. With David Collings, Donald Gee, Geoffrey Whitehead. This is a satire on the over-the-top HIV scares of the late 80s. Excellent play, if a bit long. Pringle: David Collings, the Hairdresser: Donald Gee, a Client: Tessa Worsley, Sir Henry Pelham: Geoffrey Whitehead, Simpson: Michael Kilgarriff, Sir John Knox: David King, Pringle's wife: Joan Walker, Journalists: Charles Simpson, Journalists: Ken Cumberlidge, Mental orderly: Vincent Brimble, Australian doctor: Brian Miller, Sue Smug: Alice Arnold, Chairwoman: Elizabeth Mansfield, Box: Christopher Good, Cox: Joe Dunlop, Anita: Jane Slavin, Producer: Richard Wortley.


THE GOVERNOR..1989
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.


SIDE EFFECTS..1989
23 Aug 89. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl - to girl. Annie: Elaine Claxton, Jan: And Julie Berry, Brian Fish: Peter Acre. Producer: Richard Wortley.


TURTLE NECK..1990
Very curious multilayered play about a missing child. I think this was broadcast on R3. About 55m.


A SELECTION OF ORDINARY HOUSEHOLD SOUNDS..1991
2 Apr 91, rpt.25 May 95; late-night listening (11pm). Thirty Minute theatre. A husband and wife discuss sounds recorded to deter burglars. But they are more disturbed by a fox that may or may not be real. Margaret: Amanda Redman, Selwyn: Robert Glenister, Producer: Richard Wortley.


TESTOSTERONE I SING..1993
Unusual comedy with cricketing overtones. Was broadcast on radio 3. Contains some very choice lines. Short appearance by Brian Johnston and the TMS team.


CHECK THE TENSION..1993
A black comedy; an angry, know-all teenager argues with her awkward mother. BBC Blurb: An African state has a way of encouraging holidaymakers, but the tensions within it are ignored by an English businesswoman until it is too late. Beatrice: Stephanie Cole, Jean: Sarah Badel, Louise: Jane Slavin, Fez: Geoffrey Matthews, Video Narrator: Steve Hodson, Producer: Richard Wortley.


FAIR HEARING..1993
Shortlisted for Writers’ Guild Best Original Script Award.


THE FREEDOM TRAP..1995
A drama in three episodes, 11pm, starting 27 Jul 95.
1. Bob is Mr Reliable , Mr Placid , until his cruise liner drops anchor in Qaman. Bob: Bill Nighy, Sarab: Sudha Bhuchar, Randy: John Hartley, Cagey: James Aubrey, Ahmed: Sam Dastor, Pianist: Colin Guthrie, Producer: Celia de Wolff.

    2: 3 Aug 95. Bob and Sarab escape from Qaman and set off on ajoumey across Europe. Cast & production: as before, with Sarab: Sudha Bhuchar, Jen: Ingrid Lacey, Mervyn: David Collings

    3: 10 Aug 95. Bob and Sarab's lives are changed for good. Bob: Bill Nighy, Sarab: Sudha Bhuchar, Jack: John Benreld, with Ingrid Lacey, Natasha Pyne , Becky Hindley and Andrew Branch. Pianist Colin Guthrie. Producer: Celia de Wolff.


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


FAIR HEARING..1997
29 Jun 1997; 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. Originally scheduled for broadcast August 98; pulled at short notice because of “sensitivity” re princess Diana Anniversary.


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.

Horizon….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, Producer….Mary Ward-Lowery.


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.




Nigel Deacon , Diversity website, with help from 'radiofans'. Missing titles in listing filled in later (2019) from Steve May's website.

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