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WALLY K. DALY RADIO PLAYS

This page contains a listing of Wally K. Daly's plays, followed by information (located by Greg Linden, to whom - my thanks) as follows:

Radio Plays
Notes on the plays
wkd as protester
wkd adapter
wkd as actor
wkd - anecdotes
wkd - biographical
wkd as presenter
wkd as alternative dj
wkd in the archive
correspondence

Wally K Daly is the author of a wide range of radio plays - earlier work mainly comedies; later plays tend to be more serious, though "With this ring", one of his latest, is extremely funny. He has written for television, done a film for Warner Brothers (Nessie- an animated cartoon feature), written short stories, a Doctor Who book, lots of TV plays, some "Juliet Bravo" and "Casualty", 3 "Casualty" books, and two stage musicals. He's currently working on two children's books and "Pardon?", a 45-minute comedy for Radio 4.

update.........Broadcast by BBC7 in Jan 2004 - Burglars' Bargains, A Right Royal Rip-Off and The Bigger They Are....three excellent comedies featuring a gang of crooks committing robberies whilst they're still inside....

May 2011 - I am told by 'bd' that Wally K has a new play going out on 23 May 2011, R4, called Whistling Wally's Son (see below).

BBC BROADCASTS

SATURDAY NIGHT THEATRE
03.08.85 The Bigger They Are*
21.04.84 Welcome Sister Death
10.03.84 With A Whimper To The Grave*
09.10.82 What's Stigmata?*
03.04.82 A Right Royal Rip-Off*
15.12.79 Burglar's Bargains *
17.02.79 The Silent Scream *
01.07.78 Before The Screaming Begins*

AFTERNOON THEATRE
03.05.1983 Time Slip*
13.07.1981 Burglar's Bargains*
19.04.1979 It's A Wise Child
10.12.1978 What's Stigmata ?*
31.08.1977 Everybody's Got A Quid
09.03.1977 Give Or Take The Odd Thousand
10.03.1976 Whistling Wally (rpt)
03.12.1975 Everybody's Got A Quid
13.07.1974 Whistling Wally

AFTERNOON PLAY
26.02.1992 Fair Exchange*
12.03.1992 Butterflies Don't Count*
14.03.1992 The broken butterfly*
24.09.2001 For I have sinned*
10.03.2003 With This Ring*

MONDAY PLAY
??.03.1986 A Plague of Goodness*
17.09.1988 Cripplehead*
19.02.1996 Rasputin-Almost the Truth*
07.04.1997 Death of an Unimportant Pope*

OTHERS
24.06.1979 Only the lonely*
1980s.........Give or Take, comedy series
1984 Anything Legal, comedy series*
09.11.1975 Priest and Confessor*, Radio 3
1988.....Marys*
c1990....Without Fire*
24.05.1990 Nightmare World*
27.08.1990 Orphans in Waiting, serial*
26.03.1995 '2004'*, World Service
22.01.1999 625Y*
16.10.2002 The Abbess's Tale - Yesterday's Dreams*
18.07.2003 Suffer Little Children
03.01.2005 Children of Witchwood, serial, BBC7
06.07.2006? The Child Within*, afternoon reading
23.05.2011 Whistling Wally's Son*

The Bigger They Are....2004
In 7 Drama at 1pm (rpt 2am) on Sunday 18 Jan 04 there's a chance to hear The Bigger They Are, the last in a trilogy of Wally K Daly plays. There's a Mafia plot to defraud the Bank of England which is foiled by two city gents, a gang of prisoners and a Prison Governor. Fans of Wally K's work can look forward to more of his original work in the coming months.

The Children Of Witchwood....2005
-a new 5-part serial for BBC7, 3rd to 7th January 2005. A student at a local college goes missing. Is it the work of the eerie Cranford family or are more malevolent forces at work?

Nigel Deacon, Diversity website.

asterisked plays known to exist in VRPCC collections.

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NOTES ON SOME OF THE PLAYS

PRIEST and CONFESSOR....1975
Radio 3, 09 Nov.1975, 60min - a double bill by Wally K. Daly. The Priest with Richard Briers The Confessor with Tony Haygarth; dir. Martin Jenkins.

WHAT'S STIGMATA?....1978
A well-behaved atheist finds that he has been left with the marks of The Cross......why has God singled him out? With Peter Jeffrey, Norma Ronald, George A. Cooper.

ONLY THE LONELY....1979 24 June 1979; R4, with Manning Wilson and Gladys Spencer; produced by Martin Jenkins.

"SCREAMING" trilogy....1979
The plays: Before the Screaming Begins, The Silent Scream, With a Whimper to the Grave.
These were not in the BBC archive; new digitised copies were compiled from copies held by VRPCC and broadcast during July 2004.

BURGLAR'S BARGAINS....1979
A gang of crooks rob Harrod's. But they're not ordinary crooks - this is in the style of the "Carry On" films... With Peter Jones, Lockwood West, Bernard Bresslaw, Charles Hawtrey. This play is to be transmitted, along with the rest of the trilogy, on BBC7 in Jan 04.... This play was not in the BBC archive, and a new digitised copy for broadcast (Jan 2004) was compiled from copies held by VRPCC and WKD. The same was done for THE BIGGER THEY ARE.

A RIGHT ROYAL RIP-OFF....1982
The gang plan to steal the crown jewels. With Peter Jones, Lockwood West, Bernard Bresslaw, Charles Hawtrey, Donald Hewlett.

.......wkd writes......"two visits on radio as talking birds....I was Captain Flint the parrot in John Scotney's adaptation of "Treasure Island" (made the Times Media Book of Crosswords that year...'who played the part of the parrot' and the answer was 5 letters 1 letter 4 letters so no doubt you can guess the answer. But more importantly I played a talking raven in the Tower of London in the middle play of the trilogy Right Royal Rip-Off...Martin the producer wouldn't allow a credit as I'd already been mentioned twice...."

TIMESLIP....1983
Giles Cooper award.

ANYTHING LEGAL....1984
8 part comedy series. Two city gents are made redundant. Unknown to their wives, they set up as entrepreneurs. This series was not kept by the BBC. Eventually (2007) a recording of the eight shows was located by a member of VRPCC, and they were subsequently broadcast by BBC7.

THE BIGGER THEY ARE....1985
The gang plan a robbery ...they're going to get rich, and they're also going to give the Mafia their comeuppance .... with Peter Jones, Donald Hewlett, Charles Hawtrey, Lockwood West.

A PLAGUE OF GOODNESS....1986
A prayer, a slogan, and an absolution... the story of a charismatic preacher from the States...

MARYS....1988
Giles Cooper award. The two Marys in the play are Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus. This is a thought-provoking play about their lives. Apparently when it was written there was a row at the BBC about whether it should be broadcast, but in these more enlightened times it gives a refreshing new perspective on a familiar story.

WITHOUT FIRE....c1990(?)
Very funny play about the hazards associated with giving up smoking. With Paul Danemann as the luckless Philip, Norma Ronald as his wife, and also starring Bernard Brown, Richard Durden, Jane Leonard, Graham Blockley, Tessa Worsley. Director Martin Jenkins.

Orphans In Waiting....1990
serial, broadcast in 6 parts on Radio 5 from 27 Aug to 1 Oct 1990 (repeated on BBC7 in April 2005)..... Where are Mike, Pete and Janey's parents? What are those strange marks in the garden? (.......G.L.)

'2004'....1995
Out of a chaotic society generated by crime and violence steps a man with a mission, preaching a vision of a crime-free nation. With Bill Nighy and Derek Waring. Directed by David Hitchinson. (.......G.L.)

DEATH OF AN UNIMPORTANT POPE....1997
Was Pope John Paul I murdered? With Geoffrey Whitehead, Keith Drinkel, Stephen Thorne, Bernard Hepton.

625Y by Wally K. Daly (R4 22 Jan. 1999) investigated what might happen when a gene is discovered which can extend a person's life. For a while it looks as if scientists will have the discovery to themselves. Then politicians hear of it and events rapidly spiral out of control. The story was very believable, and for that reason, disturbing. The lead parts were played by Amanda Root and Geoffrey Whitehead. (VRPCC newsletter, Apr99)

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FOR I HAVE SINNED....1999, rpt. 2001
A monologue about a disillusioned priest, performed excellently by Bernard Cribbins.
RT-An elderly priest is haunted by the memory of a confession which forced him to confront his own faith and beliefs. Broadcast 20 October 1999; winner of a bronze Sony Radio Award for drama, 2000.

The Prioress' Story....2001
-27.09.2001 - Greed overrides religious beliefs when the prioress sees the chance of acquiring Robin's lands (from the Afternoon Reading series "The Adventures of Robin Hood")

LOVE TO HATE....2001
Afternoon Play, 23.11.2001- With Andrew Sachs, Cathy Tyson, Natasha Pyne, Becky Hindley, Gavin Muir and Garard Green. Directed by Pam Fraser Solomon. A middle-aged librarian books a performance poet to appear... but then he starts to follow her...45m . (...-G.L.)

Yesterday's Dreams ....2002
16.10.2002 - Two former lovers meet on the anniversary of a wedding which never took place (short play in the Woman's Hour series "Flames") [this is the one about the blind piano tuner about to marry. "There's None So Blind" must have been the original title.]

WITH THIS RING....2003
A comedy with some substance to it: a Catholic divorcee wants to remarry and needs an annulment. The person he wants to marry is nearly thirty years younger. Paul tries to sort things out in the confessional, but things don't work out in quite the way he planned. With Stephen Moore as the divorcee, Sean Barrett as the Irish priest, Jean Boht as the ex-wife and Anna Livia Ryan as the bit of fluff. Dir. Peter Kavanagh.

SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN....2003
60 minute drama on the Hutu and Tutsi massacres in Rwanda.

WHISTLING WALLY'S SON....2011
....... The date of the broadcast has been moved to May 23rd Radio 4, 2.15pm.

Sequel to 'Whistling Wally' (1974); contains one of wkd's funniest scenes ever - about a boy and girl playing Doctors and Nurses in a derelict bombsite house; also contains a harrowing closing scene. There's a brilliant performance from the ten year old playing Kevin (Wally K as a child). The author was born in Grangetown Middlesborough, and the play is one of the first dramas to be played with a cast all with Teesside accents, as against the usual Geordie. The opening and closing scenes were recorded on what remains of Vaughan Street Grangetown Middlesborough Teesside, which was Cleveland.

Wally K adds .....At this stage roughly 40 years from the first R4 play broadcast 'Whistling Wally' I think it's about time to hang up the biographical - I've probably covered it all by now. As the Narrator (brilliant performance by some unknown!) in the piece says at the outset "my plays are my life - my life are my plays." If you get a chance to hear it - enjoy.

- Cast: Jamie Dickinson, David Seddon, Monica Dolan, Jodie Day, Neil Granger, Tom Bevan, Marlene Sidaway.

BD adds: All Middlesborough actors; Pier Productions, produced by Martin Jenkins; Wally K in attendance.

* known to exist in VRPCC

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ARTICLES AND OTHER PIECES:

The Stage, January 21, 1999: Pg. 3

Jarvis anger at BBC Radio drama cutbacks
Broadcasting watchdog The Voice of the Listener and Viewer celebrated the 75th anniversary of radio drama this week with a stern rebuke to the BBC from actor Martin Jarvis and radio playwright Wally K Daly.

Jarvis, whose Just William recordings for BBC Radio brought the Corporation wide acclaim, was unable to attend the event at London's theatre museum but faxed a message criticising the BBC for employing only six actors in its Radio Drama Company.

"I recently telephoned the BBC asking how many actors they now employ," he wrote. "And the person answering the phone said they had not heard of the Radio Drama Company.

"A great body which was once 40-strong is now reduced to six. We now live in a society where phrases like budget-conscious, downsizing, retrenchment and recession are heard more often than plays on air. It would be tragic if in future the only drama associated radio is the story of its demise."

Daly, who is also chairman of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain, echoed Jarvis' call to reinstate radio drama to its status as the 'national theatre of the air', adding: "It would be irresponsible to say we do not have frustrations about our future as radio writers."

He added that because of the way in which rates of pay are negotiated by today's BBC, experienced writers who have produced three or more dramas for BBC Radio automatically receive a fee of 60 per minute and are being priced out of the market. First time writers are entitled to 40 per minute under the guild's contracts.

Former BBC Radio drama chief John Tydeman then told the gathering that it was "regrettable" that Radio 4 is only producing six 90-minute plays a year.

Responding to the criticism, controller of BBC Radio drama production Kate Rowland announced that BBC Radio 4 was going to broadcast every Shakespeare play in the canon over the next four years to celebrate the millennium. ..............what's the royalty payment on a Shakespeare play?-N.D.

"There is also over 700 hundred hours of radio drama on the network," she added. "Change has to take place if we are to preserve something." (sic)

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WKD as Adapter:

Radio 4, 15 October 1990
FOCUS, by ARTHUR MILLER, dramatised by Wally K Daly
With Peter Marinker, Shelley Thompson, John Church and Leonard Fenton.
Produced by Martin Jenkins.
A powerful study of anti-semitism in New York in the early 1940s.

The Guardian (London) October 19, 1990 Arts: Through glasses darkly - Radio Review.......By VAL ARNOLD-FORSTER
The BBC radio drama department has long been of the opinion that what Distinguished Authors want for their birthdays are celebratory productions of their work, possibly their lesser known works. And it may well be the perfect gift for the Man Who Has Everything a phrase which has no feminine version, no doubt for some very good reason.

Focus, a dramatisation by Wally K Daly of Arthur Miller's novel published in 1945, was this week's Monday play.

It's set in New York in the early 1940s where Newman, a quiet man, lives with his mother and works as an office manager. He acquiesces both in his neighbours' and his employer's anti-semitism until the day he starts wearing glasses and finds himself perceived as a Jew, despite his baptism certificate and his mother's attachment to a local (and bigoted) priest.

He is demoted at work, finds it hard to get another job, and is increasingly harassed by anti-semites. His wife (who, at first meeting, he mistook for a Jewess) wants to leave the neighbourhood, or at least to try to suck up to the nasty neighbours. In the end, he reports an assault from a gang of local thugs to the police, who presume he is Jewish. And, as a final affirmation, he accepts the description.

The dramatisation worked well with speech and thought combining to give a clear voice to Newman's moral dilemma. The obvious symbolism of the glasses was not over-played, and the implicit questions about Newman's actual racial identity were left unanswered, a subtler device than revealing, as I feared at one moment, a Jewish granny in the background.

It's an angry scene which could easily go over the top, but the tone of the production, by Martin Jenkins, was realistic, and Peter Marinker, as Newman, gave a notably thoughtful performance, making sense of the hero's development from wimp to man. Strong performances, too, from Shelley Tompson as the wife and John Church as Finkelstein, the Jewish shopkeeper.

Undoubtedly, though, the play was far too long, and, from time to time, found it too close to a fourth form lesson. Preaching is no substitute for dramatic invention and, even when we have drawn the parallels with today's attitudes, the heavy moral message had a certain period flavour.

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INVITATION TO THE VAULTS....1991
originally scheduled for 17 January but postponed until 21 February (4th show of Series 3 of Fear On Four), by Basil Cooper, dramatised by Wally K Daly. With Sarah Badel... A crooked literary agent is subjected to a harrowing revenge.

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The Blade of the Poisoner....1991
by Douglas Hill, adapted by WKD broadcast in 4 parts on Radio 5 from 1st to 22nd July 1991 (repeated on BBC7) Three allies with psychic powers set out to save 12 year old Jarral from the evil Prince Mephtik the Poisoner. (.......G.L)

THE ENCHANTING EVIL....1995
by Dame Barbara Cartland, Radio 4, 13 Feb 1995, dramatised by Wally K Daly. With Jenny Funnell and Timothy Bentinck. Produced by Shaun MacLoughlin. In 1856, Melinda, fleeing her elderly suitor and his horse-whip, escapes to London.

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wkd as actor............. A minor radio appearance and two lengthy anecdotes about his early years on the stage.

TREASURE ISLAND by Robert Louis Stevenson, Radio 4, 25 December 1989, dramatised by John Scotney. With Peter Jeffrey as Long John Silver and Hugh Paddick as Ben Gunn. Wally K Daly plays "Captain Flint" the Parrot....

The Stage, March 11, 1999: Pg. 11
Miles ahead of the rest
As a new arrival in sixties London, Wally K Daly thought that making his acting debut at the Mermaid would be easy. His Teesside accent caused a few problems but, buoyed by the encouragement of Bernard Miles - and free bread and soup - he finally took his London bow.

In 1962, the going rate for an ASM at the Mermaid Theatre was 12. A one bedroom basement room in Baker Street was GBP 7.7s.6d, and fares to the theatre were in the region of GBP 1 a week. This is not a late-life grumble about the hard financial times of those far-gone days, but to put a perspective on the theatre's free bread and soup.

At the Mermaid in those days, it was two performances a night and three on matinee days and Saturdays.

To sustain the actors, stage management and crew during this gruelling schedule, Bernard Miles, the founder of the theatre, arranged that free bread and soup would be available in the Mermaid's Green Room between every performance. This was, without a doubt, a delicious treat, and much appreciated by all.

As a bright Teesside lad fresh to the theatre, I had quickly discovered in my first week that, if one got to the theatre early enough, Bern-ard's housekeeper - a large jolly lady of uncertain age - would be making milky coffees and ham rolls in the Green Room for Bernard and his wife Josephine, who lived in the flat above the theatre. Not only would she be making it for them, but as I was a jolly persuasive young fellow she would usually be making a coffee and roll for me as well.

With free coffee and rolls in the morning and free soup once or twice a day, one did not need a lot more sustenance, so there was a worry removed. My only serious worry, in fact, was the one line I had been given in the play.

Timmy Bateson was in charge of the hobby horse in the play in question - The Witchs of Edmonton - and each of us village lads had a line or two about the state of the horse and what needed to be done to make it fit for public viewing.

My line was: "... and the tail repaired." The trouble was, I could not say 'tail repaired'... well I could say it - but not without a Teesside accent. Bernard had given me the part on instinct, and he was not going to be beaten. He was sure that if he made me practice the line often enough, he would finally, Henry Higgins fashion, get me to say it right. The line took up precious hours of rehearsal. A certain high dudgeon slowly settled among the other members of the cast. How could so much time be given to this young upstart who had never done anything except appear in a handful of amateur plays in a boys' club in the north east?

It was about this time that the enormity of the subterfuge I was involved in finally struck home. I had presumed I would simply get by as an actor. Who needs training and years in drama school to learn this trade? A pushover - anyone can do it.

An enormously arrogant view in one so young. The truth finally dawned in that first rehearsal period. I realised that the thespian art is in truth a profession. One does need to learn the craft from scratch. To learn how to use the voice, the body, the emotion buried deep within. To learn to shake off the individual that one is and create the character one needs to be for the part being played.

Any actor, at any level of training, could do what I could not. I was stuck in my Teesside shell - and simply playing me, very badly. Having seen the light, I determined that I would not let Bernard down. I would learn my line. It would no longer be delivered in Teesside- ese, but in appropriate country brogue.

After hours of diligent practice in the grotty Baker Street basement room, the day dawned when I finally got it right. Bernard was quite simply delighted. He immediately upgraded me to also be a Morris dancer - to the horror of the choreographer, who now had five professional dancers and me.

What had been a smooth and satisfying scene of pastoral pleasantness all ready for performance became a total shambles. Ankle and wrist bells ringing at the wrong time, sticks breaking, and general mayhem following me around. The choreographer despaired. Bernard was thrilled. What had been "too smooth" for the village green for his taste was once more truly rustic and shambolic. First night finally came and my dream, though tarnished with my thoughts of failure, was a reality. I was a professional actor.

I scanned the reviews to see if my one line had got a mention, but no - it was not to be. Fame would have to wait until another day.

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The Stage, May 20, 1999: Pg. 11

wkd- anecdotes- POST-ATOMIC EXPLOSION
Writer Wally K Daly, an actor and ASM at London's Mermaid Theatre in the sixties, remembers the impact made by Spike Milligan's play The Bed Sitting Room - which faced battles with the censors - and recalls a particularly memorable trip to buy costume supplies

The 1963 production of The Bed Sitting Room, written by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus, was scheduled to rehearse for only a fortnight and no more than three hours each day. The argument was that this post-atomic comedy would be dead on its feet through constant repetition if it was rehearsed more.

None of the cast at the Mermaid Theatre argued with this. Lots of time off is not usually viewed as a problem. Getting the script accepted by the Lord Chamberlain's office, however, was something of a problem.

The usual wheeze of putting in lots of swearing and unacceptable business for the censor to cut out - so that he would not actually notice the stuff you were trying to get past him - did not seem to be working very well. Some fine censorial stupidities developed as the script went backwards and forwards between the theatre and the censor's office.

The Daz song in the play had the immortal line 'You get all the dirt off the back of your shirt with Daz, Daz, Daz'. This was deemed to be unacceptable by the Lord Chamberlain's office. The compromise suggested by Spike - 'You get all the dirt off the front of your shirt' - was considered to be fine.

Watching rehearsals, I realised what everyone already knew - that Spike Milligan is a comedy genius. My true delight was to watch him perform, night after night, from the wings.

One piece of business was put in on the first night when a mote of dust flew down from the flies and Spike nonchalantly swatted it away with the fly swat he carried. By the end of the run, it was a silent, showstopping ten-minute routine. Genius.

By now I was the keenest of keen ASMs. I grew to love the job more each day I was in it. I could run the corner, run the book, run for sandwiches at the drop of a hat. I was always eager to help in any way I could - so come the day of discussion about improving the India Rubber Goods Man's costume, I was all ready to help out.

John Bluthal was playing the part, and his costume consisted of various items of rubber - including a plunger with a wooden handle used for unblocking toilets, worn as a hat, Wellington boots and pink plastic gloves. What he said was needed to make the outfit complete were some Dutch Caps - two for his toes, two for his knees and two for his elbows.

I had, by then, been in London for six months, was not terribly worldly- wise, and had not the faintest idea what a Dutch Cap might be, or what it might be used for. But if somebody was needed to go off and to buy supplies, I was the perfect person. "I'll get them," I said.

The conversation that was taking place stopped and everybody turned to look at me, slightly surprised. "How many do you need and where do I get them from?" I asked. I was given the number - six assorted - and money, and went off to the Rubber Goods Shop halfway up Villiers Street, opposite Charing Cross station, as directed.

What a fascinating shop it turned out to be. The window was crammed full of stuff, although I could not imagine what most of it was used for. Strange devices with lots of buckles and belts, trusses of all shapes and sizes, handcuffs, leg irons, enema kits and various other bits of less recognisable equipment.

Inside, behind the counter, there was a middle-aged male shop assistant in a brown overall. He asked if he could help me. "Yes - I'd like half a dozen Dutch caps, please."

His face showed no surprise at my request, as though it was a thing he was asked for every day of the week.
"What size?"
"Well, I'd like two for the toes of my shoes, two for my kneecaps, and two for my elbows."

This did cause him to pause slightly, but not for long.
"Shan't keep you a second, sir," he said, and popped out the back. He was back in a flash with a plain brown envelope. "There we go - three pairs of assorted Dutch Caps, toe size, knee size and elbow size, three pound, ten bob exactly.'

Having paid him off, I went into Villiers Street, taking one out to check it. Funny - it looked like a little trampoline for mice. I plinged it a bit, and then put it to my eye and found I could just about see through it. I toyed with them on the tube going back to the theatre, tried a couple on my knees to see if they would fit all right, and one on an elbow.

They were fine - but the woman sitting next to me got up and moved away. Arriving at the theatre, I delivered the caps to the wardrobe girl, who blushed and then went to put them on John Bluthal's costume. He, it turned out, was suitably pleased. It was a year later when I finally discovered what Dutch Caps were for. I didn't stop blushing for a week.

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................................

wkd-biographical

The Northern Echo, October 20, 1995
WRITER RETURNS WITH MESSAGE ...
A writer returned to his roots when he visited the school that he left without any qualifications. Wally K Daly, whose television credits include episodes of Byker Grove and Juliet Bravo, spoke about his career to pupils at St Peter's Roman Catholic Comprehensive School, in Normanby Road, South Bank, near Middlesbrough.

He left the school in 1955 and worked as an electrician at Dorman Long steelworks near his Grangetown home.

Mr Daly decided to become an actor at the age of 32 but quickly switched to writing and eventually became chairman of the Writers Guild of Great Britain.

"The message is that you should find some way of believing in yourselves because humans are extraordinary creatures and you should never say you cannot do something," he told pupils. Mr Daly returned to his former school after appearing at the ongoing seventh Cleveland annual Writearound festival.

.............................................

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The Northern Echo, October 25, 1995

HEADLINE: NEVER GIVE UP, URGES BOY WHO MADE GOOD

Gavin Ledwith
The message from the failed scholar and thwarted secretary was simple: "Never say you cannot do something." Wally K Daly was speaking to pupils in the very same school at South Bank, near Middlesbrough, he left 40 years ago without a single qualification. The then 14-year-old's parents would not let him become a secretary for fear he would be branded a "cissy".

He did not last long as an electrician either, although this trade helped him to his first break in the world of drama. Wally left Dorman Long steelworks, only 100 yards from his family's home in Vaughan Street, Grangetown, near Middlesbrough, for London with GBP 35 and wangled a job with the Mermaid Theatre by offering to fix stage lights.

A month later the venue's owner, the late distinguished actor Bernard Miles who was to become Sir Bernard rewarded his confidence by making him understudy to rising star Melvyn Hayes.

Acting itself was only the final stepping stone to his flourishing career as a writer of radio, stage and television shows.

An appearance in Z-Cars in 1963 was followed 30 years later by a role as a tramp in The Bill and he admits: "I am looking to go into the Guinness Book of Records for the worst acting career ever." Ironically, it is as a writer for a third television series about the police, Juliet Bravo, that he first gained widespread recognition.

He has also penned episodes of NorthEast-based children's drama, Byker Grove, and there are now plans to turn his biblical stage drama, How Came A World, into a Hollywood cartoon.

Wally was due to meet a top American film company president this week in London but still found time during his power lunch preparations to appear at Cleveland's Writearound '95 festival.

He also returned last week to St Peter's Roman Catholic Comprehensive School, in Normanby Road, South Bank, to speak to pupils about his career. "The message is that you should find some way of believing in yourselves because humans are extraordinary creatures and you should never say you cannot do something.

"I was chairman of the Writers Guild of Great Britain and got sent around the world twice. I was here at this school and to do all that is extraordinary." Although he left without any qualifications, his favourite subject was drama and he respects the encouragement he received from former headteacher Andrew Skillen.

Another mentor was Bert Wooley at Grangetown Boys Club's drama society.
"I did a radio show called Teesside Revisited and every Teesside actor we met knew Bert." A young Wally was not aware of a deprived childhood although he now says: "Looking back I lived in the slums. All the streets had outside toilets and although they have gone now the poverty simply moved.

Grangetown still has nothing going for it. When I was a boy there was work but not now." He speaks with sadness not condescension and is often back on Teesside to visit his mother, Mary Todd, at her Normanby home.

................................................

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The Northern Echo, November 25, 1995

UNIVERSITY HONOURS TOP PEOPLE
Successful North-East figures were acknowledged yesterday when they were presented with honorary degrees. Former London museum keeper Dame Elizabeth Esteve Coll and steelworker turned writer Wally K Daly received their Teesside University awards at a ceremony at Middlesbrough Town Hall.

Dame Elizabeth, 57, was born in Ripon and educated at Darlington Girls High School before becoming keeper of the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

After becoming a doctor of literature, she said: "I was very touched at being recognised." Mr Daly, 55, left St Peter's Secondary School in Grangetown, Middlesbrough, without no qualifications but has since written for television hit programmes Byker Grove, Juliet Bravo and Casualty.

He described his Master of Literature award as the "icing on the cake of a successful week" in which he had clinched separate film, television and radio contracts.

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WKD as presenter
Here is info about several series he presented, a couple one-off programmes revisiting the land of his roots, and an announcement about a 2002 series on Riverside FM featuring "shortform dramas". -Greg Linden

Wally K Daly's Archive Feature
In this 1989 series, Daly presented excerpts from the BBC Sound Archive. (earliest known date 23 Jan 1989. latest known date 10 July 1989)

Wally K Daly
An early morning (04:00!) Radio 2 programmme featuring "early morning sporting activities and relaxing music" (first show 22 July 1994. latest known date 9 September 1994)

Pick of the Week
"Wally K Daly presents his selection of extracts from BBC radio and television over the past seven days." (earliest known date: 3 June 1994. latest known date: 21 April 1995)

Teesside Revisited
Radio 2, 15 September 1995; Wally K Daly returns to his north-eastern roots to talk about the arts with local painters, actors, writers, photographers and musicians. He discovers that the voice of Teesside is no longer in danger of being drowned out by more forceful Geordie tones.

The Northern Echo, August 1, 1996: Pg. 7
RADIO'S WALLY LOOKING FOR MINERS WITH A TALE TO TELL
Millions of radio listeners are to hear the musical memories of NorthEast colliery band members. Teesside-born writer and presenter Wally K Daly returns to the region next month to interview former miners about their experiences. The two hour show, which is expected to be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in November, follows his Teesside Revisited programme of last year when he interviewed artists and playwrights from the area.

Mr Daly, who has written episodes of television hits Byker Grove and Juliet Bravo, said: "We are interested to speak to miners who went on to become artists or sculptors and also colliery band members or any miners with a story to tell." Interviews will take place on September 12-13 and possibly at the end of the month.

Mining Men, Their Art and Music
Radio 2, 2 November 1996.... Using the Durham Miners Gala as his starting point, Wally K Daly explores the change that has taken place in the North East now that the mining industry has disappeared. He meets miners who have become successful painters and sculptors, and the programme is interspersed with the music of the colliery bands that continue to exist though the pits have gone. He also meets 92-year-old Jack Harrison, who was a member of the legendary group `the Pitmen Painters of Ashington', and discovers how to make a live mouse Christmas tree.

The Stage, July 18, 2002: Pg. 2
RIVERSIDE STUDIOS
Riverside Studios is relaunching its radio station, Riverside FM (87.7 fm) for one month with playwright and presenter Wally K Daly presenting a series of shortform dramas every afternoon from July 15.

Press Association, August 16, 1994
RECORD BOOK FOR SHORTEST RADIO DRAMA
Rob Scully, PA News
The world's shortest radio drama series - recorded in a phone box - is to get an entry in the Guinness Book Of Records, it was disclosed tonight. Writer Wally K Daly recorded the three part show in a telephone box opposite BBC Broadcasting House having to fend of disgruntled members of the public in the process. Three one-minute long episodes of The Telephone Box are to be broadcast by BBC Radio 2 on Saturday morning. Wally said they should not be done as weekly episodes because they are so short listeners would have forgotten what it was all about, so each episode will go out on the same morning separated by a record. "Most of it was recorded in a telephone kiosk opposite Broadcasting House but the problem was that well intentioned passers-by kept trying to join in," he said. "It is a real play and fulfils all the criteria having a beginning, middle and end."

As the recording was going on with Wally and producer Neil Rosser in the cramped phone box one passer-by tried to wrench the door open to rescue them thinking they were stuck. The three one minute shows 999, 998 and 997 go out for the early birds at 5.30am on Saturday or as a spokesman said "maybe for people just coming in from a good Friday night out".

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Mail on Sunday (London) July 23, 1995: Pg. 30 By: Jenny Diski
Wally K Daly plays the unsophisticated presenter of the comedy-drama The Alternative DJ (Radio 2, Saturdays). He's a pigtailed poet with a multilingual parrot called Lucy. He's also The Prat (Presenter Requiring Additional Training) who didn't quite master a DJ course. He promises us My Way, but we get The Happy Wanderer, probably recorded on the day the Bismarck was sunk. And as for playing A Night's Day Hard instead of the ever-popular Beatles tune the right way round, there's just no excuse.

Every week there's a three-minute drama from a notable modern writer, though I'm sure any number of notable ancient writers would have queued up to be part of Wally K's programme. Luckily there's the Major on hand (reporting to TPTB - The Powers That Be) who makes sure that nothing lavatorial creeps in. And let us not forget the spectral figure in the basement who sings Lloyd Webber favourites for an equally spectral spectator who, we're told, looks suspiciously like Edward Fox, but sounds uncannily close to the Prince of Wales. Am I feeling all right? Much better now, thank you, Wally K Daly.

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BBC RADIO 2, 15 July to 12 August 1995, 13:00 - 14:00
The Alternative DJ
A four-part comedy-drama with music.

1. In a small studio high above an unamed city, Wally K Daly sits with Lucy his parrot, playing music and chatting into the night. Meanwhile, others plot Daly's downfall, and a beautiful spectral spirit sings in the basement. Including `The Saturday Three-Minute Play' - `The Wireless Strikes Back', by Peter Tinniswood, starring Peter Jeffrey and Judi Spiers.

2. Wally K Daly discovers he's locked in the eighth-floor loo in a storm and is sure he will be sacked for broadcasting silence. Meanwhile, the beautiful ghost sings in the basement - and listeners can win a prize for guessing her identity. Includes `The Saturday Three Minute Play' - `Life's a Lottery', by David Nobbs, starring Peter Jeffrey and Judi Spiers.

3. Wally K Daly's attempt to teach his early-morning listeners how to juggle with Indian clubs goes badly wrong and he ends up poleaxed on the studio floor. The Major panics when it starts to look as though he could end up in the dock accused of Daly's murder. This week's Saturday Three-Minute Play is `The Ice Maiden' by Simon Brett, starring Peter Jeffrey and Oliver Senton.

4. Aliens arrive in the studio, taking Wally K Daly, Tommy the Tea Person and Lucy the Parrot captive - inadvertantly guaranteeing that Daly will be sacked. But at least the story will be told of how the spectral figure came to be singing in the basement. Three Minute Theatre this week is "The Bomb", with Peter Jeffrey and Oliver Senton.

'In the Archive' series. ........"For that I invented and performed the part of perhaps my most successful character - 'Archivorous' a creature who was the sum total of the BBC archive (having been struck by a bolt of lightning in the fifties Frankenstein fashion) and the brilliant conceit was that no matter what piece of archive it was asked for it could instantly play. In the last episode of the series Daly and Archivorous were captured by aliens (Six foot tall fluffy budgies) and taken off to some far distant planet never to be seen again. And sadly - I don't think any copies of the ten or so fifteen minute episodes survive". -WKD

Greg Linden replies....I am guessing that the Archive series he's referring to is the one we list as "Wally K Daly's Archive Feature" from 1989. If so, you can reassure him that at least 3 instalments appear to exist in the BBC archive.

Anything Legal....c1984
A tale of two city gents by Wally K. Daly featuring Donald Hewlett and Michael Knowles. Charles and George will provide any service that can legally be provided but they first have to learn how to run a business. This appears to be a short-lived Radio 4 comedy series. The only air dates we have uncovered so far are 17th and 31st December 1984 and 7th January 1985. BBC7 repeated one episode.

UPDATE,June 07 - members of VRPCC have located good quality copies of what appears to be the complete series - eight programmes.

.....comment from ND - I wonder if this was a spin-off from the two characters in "The Bigger they Are".....

Many thanks to Greg Linden of California for locating most of the information above.

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CORRESPONDENCE

Tony Mitchell writes: ....WKD also adapted a Douglas Hill story 'The blade of the Poisoner' as a four part serial - which was broadcast on radio5 at 7pm on Sundays ( I believe that this was the first broadcast) - rebroadcast a couple of times by BBC7 in 'the 7th dimension'. (during 2004).

Also...someone else has referred to a 'children's thriller' called 'Orphans in Waiting' - does anyone know about this? It doesn't seem to be mentioned on your web page.

...update...YES.... see additions by Greg Linden, above....

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website.

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