Juliet Ace Radio Drama

Well-known radio writer who has done lots of well-known work, including episodes of "The Archers". I met Juliet recently, and didn't realise how much radio work she had done ... I have expanded the page as much as I can. Any further information much appreciated. Some internet research revealed the following: Juliet Ace, born 27 June 1938, is a dramatist and playwright who wrote for EastEnders and The District Nurse. She has contributed many original scripts and dramatisations to BBC Radio drama. Her screenplay for the Welsh film Cameleon saw the movie win the Golden Spire Award for Best Dramatic Television Feature at the 1998 San Francisco International Film Festival.

Juliet was the third daughter of Charles and Glenys Ace, born and brought up in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire in South Wales. She was educated at Llanelli Girls’ Grammar School, City of Coventry Training College, specialising in Drama and Art, and the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama.

She taught for three years in St Mary Cray before joining a children’s theatre and then working in The Grand Theatre, Swansea for two seasons, in weekly repertory. In 1964, she began to work in Special Education, working with children with special needs.

She married Richard Alexander in 1966, after which she moved to Dartmouth in Devon where her husband worked as a civilian lecturer in The Britannia Royal Naval College.

Juliet began writing plays in 1976 after taking part in an Arvon Foundation Writing Course.

In 1979 she won a Gulbenkian Foundation/Arts Council of Great Britain Award to work with professional directors and actors on new writing. As a result of this workshop her first play, Speak No Evil was produced first as a stage play in Bristol and then as a radio play, directed by Enyd Williams.

Two successful sequences of her radio dramas are semi-autobiographical journeys: young Mattie Jones growing up in South Wales, who first appears as a child in The New Look: Tailor’s Tacks in 1946, completes her growth into a teenager in 1955, five plays later in Mattie and Bluebottle. An older Mattie, liberated by writing, is performed by Patricia Hodge in four plays, starting with The Captain's Wife, and concluding with Upside Down in the Baking Tin.


Speak No Evil ....1980
16.9.1980/1105 Elizabeth Morgan/John Griffiths/Rhys Powis, 30m. Producer Enyd Williams. Runner-up, Pye Award.

Dreams Remembered ....1983
5.2.1983/1405 Steve Hodson/Petra Markham, 30m. Afternoon play; producer Shaun MacLaughlin.

A Time Between Comets....1983
10.12.1983/1405 Iwan Jones/Rhys Thomas/Simon Williams/Guto Harri, 30m. Producer Enyd Williams.

Afternoon play, 3 Jul 85. Elizabeth Proud & Marcus D'Amico. Sony Award runner-up. Producer Shaun MacLaughlin.

Afternoon play, 18 Feb 86. Stephen Thorne & Elizabeth Proud. A play about how we mis-hear. Producer Shaun MacLaughlin.

The Red Shoes ....1986

25.2.1986/1100 hrs. Anna Massey, Martin Jarvis, Natasha Pyne. 30m. Producer Penny Gold.

13 May 06, Afternoon play. Producer Shaun MacLauglin, with Peter Jeffrey and Shirley Dixon.

By Peter Ling & Juliet Ace. Adapted from Peter Ling's trilogy of Crown House novels. With Martin Jarvis, Jane Asher, Margaret Rawlings, Dinah Sheridan, Richard Pasco, Barbara Leigh Hunt, Gayle Hunnicut, Dominic Rickhards. R4, 30.10.88 - 18.12.88. Produced by Graham Gauld. Eight 30m episodes.

17/11/88. Afternoon play. With Jenny Funnell. Producer Shaun MacLaughlin.

THE SPUR....1990
Monday play, 8 Jan 90. Land deals, an ex-farmer and an illegal cock-fighting ring. With Christian Rodska, Anthony Jackson, Vincent Brimble, Anne Morrish. Producer Shaun MacLoughlin.

LOBBY TALK....1990
22.11.90; Juliet Ace & Vic Aiken. In the early 1980s in the Hotel Commodore, Beirut, there lived a famous parrot called Coco. He was the favourite of the war correspondents, which was why Walid the barman was intensely jealous of him. With Andrew Sachs, Stephen Thorne, Steve Hodson, Christian Rodska, Kim Wall, June Barrie, William Eedle, Danny Schiller, Meg Davies, Jonathan Nibbs and Kate Lynn-Evans. Producer Shaun MacLaughlin.

Producer Ned Chaillet. With Alex Jennings, Roger Lloyd Pack, Kate Bufferey, Vivian Pickles, Norman Jones, Helen Cooper, Terence Edmond, Timothy Morand, Eric Allen, Ronald Herdman, Siriol Jenkins, Cassie MacFarlane, Neil Roberts, David Sinclair, Matthew Sim and Auriol Smith. Dramatized by Juliet Ace from Winston Graham’s novel. Philip has returned to Europe from America after his brother appears to commit suicide in Amsterdam. His search for the truth takes him from England to Holland and Italy.

Jacob's Folly....1992
10.3.1992/1400 Jennie Linden/Paola Dionisotti/John Church, 30m. Producer Penny Gold.

8 Apr 93. Afternoon play. Producer Shaun MacLoughlin. With David Learner, Charles Simpson, Melinda Walker and Kate Binchy. Between the time of the court martial and execution of a soldier...

BBC Police drama by Juliet Ace. 3 x 60m stories.
(1) 7thAug95. Look Again.
(2) 14thAug95. Come Follow.
(3) 21stAug95. Double Trouble.

Look Again: Alice and Belinda are identical twins. They have always wanted to be detectives, and because of a computer error, they begin at the same North London police station on the same day. With Jenny Funnel, Carolyn Backhouse, Eric Allen, Cornelius Garrett, Lindsay Mack, Ian Sanders, Rachel Oldfield, Paul Nicholson, Janet Dale, Marilla Robson, Brian Gear, Jilly Bond. Producer Shaun MacLoughlin.

Double trouble: Can't remember the plot, but I recall a very unpleasant rape scene in this episode.

Zinar's Tower....1995
9 Oct 95. Producer Shaun MacLoughlin. With Zia Mohyeddin and Karzan Krekar Zinar. A Kurdish council tenant living on the 23rd floor of a North London tower block is joined by other Kurdish refugees, each with a tale to tell. Monday Play.

Love Story....1997
30 Aug 97, 60m, R4.. Juliet Ace's dramatisation of Erich Segal's romantic novel of the 1970s. With Ingri Damon, Mark Leake, Patrick Allen, Sheila Allen, John Guerrasio, David Brooks, William Dufris, Gerrard McDermott, Tracy Ann Oberman and Christopher Wright. Harpsichord played by David Roblou. “What do you say about a twenty-five year old girl who died? That she was brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me.” 90-minute Saturday Play. Producer Ned Chaillet.

*The Captain's Wife....1998
Afternoon Play, R4, 8 May 98. Every two years, there is a new captain - and a new captain's wife. Mattie, played by Patricia Hodge, is there for them all, moving, over the years, from the centre of the table to the captain's side. She observes the Navy at play and provides exotic relief - until she is ready to change herself. Director Ned Chaillet. BBC blurb: As the years pass, a navy spouse moves from craving conformity to rebellion.

BBC7 rpt, Feb. 08. Juliet Ace's monologue of a woman married to a civilian working in the Navy. Over several years she feels she is just an appendage to her husband and longs to be more like a Captain's Wife. She starts to rebel.

THE NEW LOOK....1999
Trilogy of plays about Mattie Jones's childhood in South Wales. Producer Tanya Nash.

Episode titles:1: 14 May 05 Tailor's Tacks; 2: 14 May 99 Beeny's Camiknickers; 3: 28 May 99 Celluloid Lady.


    (1) 'Tailor's Tacks': With Stephanie Wookey and Jennifer Hill. It is 1946 and Mattie is often hearing things she should not.

    (2) 'Beeny's Camiknickers': With Stephanie Wookey and Jennifer Hill. In the winter of 1947, Mattie spends most of her time with Beeny in the bakery, where she learns to make faggots and discovers the perils of flirting with boys.

    (3)`Celluloid Lady'. It is 1948 and Mattie is fascinated by Mona Morgan and her daydreams about Hollywood film stars, as she pulls pints in her father's pub. With Stephanie Wookey and Jennifer Hill. Rpt. 20 Sep. 02.

By Juliet Ace. 5 x 15m modern plays for Shakespeare's women. Woman's Hour serial. All produced by Ned Chaillet. Titles:
(4) 9thDec99. AND ALL THAT JAZZ
(5) 10th Dec99. DIRTY LINEN

    Episode details:

    1. With Eleanor Moriarty. Faced with parental disapproval of the boy of her choice, at least a young Juliet of today has the internet and an agony aunt.

    2. With Sarah Brown, Gavin Muir and Gemma Saunders. Confronted by the increasingly maddening behaviour of her boyfriend, a Nineties Ophelia discusses the nature of insanity with her psychotherapist.

    3. With Anna Massey. Faced with a doddering dad and a nursing home she runs as a business, what can a modern Goneril do but offer him the box room?

    4. With Bette Bourne. Count Orso offers a modern Viola a spectacular twelfth night, with a wardrobe beyond most cross- dressers' dreams.

    5. With Elizabeth Bell and Oliver Cotton. Everyone thought Rocky would tame the shrewish Cat, but 20 years on, their tempestuous marriage is played out in a national newspaper.

By Margaret Forster, dram. Juliet Ace, beginning 24 Jan 00. 10 x 15m. A family history. With Angela Pleasence, Nicola McAuliffe, Simon Armstrong, Jenny Funnel. Producer Tanya Nash.

    BBC blurb: Woman's Hour serial. Rosemary finds some papers, written by her mother, hidden at the back of a drawer. They contain her mother's version of their family history. Rosemary secretly adds her views.

45m, afternoon play 21 Aug 00. Producer Ned Chaillet. With Patricia Hodge. This is the second play written for Patricia Hodge about the adult Mattie, a semi-autobiographical character based on Juliet Ace’s life. Seduced by the theatre, Mattie joins a repertory company in Wales where she finds that the quick-change artistry of bit parts is a kind of preparation for life.

Historical serial in ten parts of 15m. R4, Jan 2001. Based on the letters and diaries of the young Queen Victoria. Imogen Stubbs, Anna Massey, Adrian Lukis and Christopher Cazenove. Woman's Hour serial. Producer Cherry Cookson.

Money for old rope....2001
3.12.01; rpt.1 Jul 03. Taking a few pills in the interests of scientific research and extra cash should not be a problem, but Jason finds there are unexpected consequences. With Di Botcher, Aled Pugh, Jennifer Vaughan. Afternoon play.

Trilogy beginning 1 Sep 2001. Adapted by Juliet Ace from the film, from a tramslation by Margaret Jarman. Episode titles (all 60m): 1)Marius, 2)Fanny, 3)Cesar. With Richard Johnson, Simon Scardifield, Monica Dolan, Andrew Sachs.

(1)Marius, son of César, feels the pull of the sea, and is prepared to sacrifice his family and his love for beautiful Fanny to fulfil his dreams. Saturday Play, produced by Ned Chaillet.

(2)8 Sep: The story of a lovely young woman abandoned by César's son Marius, who is unaware she is pregnant. Saturday Play, produced by Ned Chaillet.

(3)15 Sep: Richard Johnson, Simon Scardifield, Monica Dolan, Andrew Sachs, Tam Williams, Steve Hodson, Stephen Thorne, Struan Rodger, Phillip Joseph and Sean Baker Twenty years after the events of the first play, the sad comedy of lost love is touched by a rich comedy of death and disclosure. A mother's secrets send her son off in search of a father he never knew. Saturday Play, produced by Ned Chaillet.

R4, 27 Sep 02. More about Mattie Jones' childhood in South Wales in 1953. In this episode, Mattie is fifteen. (see below) Producer Gilly Adams. BBC blurb: Mali Harries and Jennifer Hill In "Blind", the fourth play about young Mattie Jones in a Welsh childhood, Mattie has reached adolescence. She is 15 and frustrated because she has to spend her Saturdays cooking for her grandfather and her blind aunt when what she really wants to do is speculate about sex and boys with her friend Merle or bury her head in yet another book.

*Dead-Heading the Roses....2003
R4,12 Dec 03. Celebrating Jill Balcon's 60th year performing in radio drama. Jill is joined by her son, Daniel Day Lewis. Ariadne, a naval officer's wife, has become the benign queen of death, arranging tasteful memorial services - which will include her husband's. But before his departure he has plotted a final fling. With Jill Balcon, Daniel Day Lewis, Cheryl Campbell, Graham Crowden, William Hootkins. Director/producer Ned Chaillet.

The New Look....2004
19 Feb 04 - Continuing the sequence of plays by Juliet Ace that focus on Mattie Jones' childhood in a small town in the South Wales of the 1950s. Part 4. Blind. Rpt. from 2002 (above). BBC blurb continued......

Mattie's relationship with her aunt is a vexed one but, despite their arguments, she begins to understand something of what her handicap means to her.

One of Mattie's tasks is to read to her aunt and she finds that she wants to protect her from information that may distress her.

However difficult Mattie finds her aunt, she is unequivocal in her love for her grandfather, Dada, and she delights in the stories he tells her. When Dada becomes ill she discovers that making pastry is not the only challenge she has to face and that families can respond to adversity in unpredictable ways.

Young Mattie ...... Mali Harries
Older Mattie ...... Jennifer Hill
Director: Gilly Adams

Part 5. 20 Feb 04. Mattie and Bluebottle

In this last play in the series, Mattie Jones is on the brink of leaving home. It's 1955 and she is 17 years old, studying (so she pretends) for her 'A' Levels. Her parents have said she must go to teacher training college but Mattie still dreams of becoming an actress.

At home, Mattie uses her room to escape and to dream. She is still timorous of her parents but the thing that draws them together is The Goon Show. It's the one time they'll sit together as a family, around the wireless, sharing the jokes. At school, with her friend Millie, she covers up for her family life by endlessly quoting the Goons and by keeping a diary.

The girls are lazy at school and naïve about the world but they know they are on the brink of adulthood and desperate to be independent. But Mattie's mother manages to strike one more blow of humiliation on Mattie's first day of freedom at college.

The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks....2004
23 Feb 05. 10 Episodes. This ground-breaking story of middle-class Jane, pregnant and unmarried, has remained in print ever since it was first published in 1960. In her squalid, L-shaped bedsit, Jane has to overcome both her own prejudices and those of 1950's society against her. Dramatised in 10 episodes by Juliet Ace. Woman's Hour serial. Producer Alison Hindell.

8 Mar 04. A monologue for Patricia Hodge, who plays Mattie, whose road to liberation and success sees her shedding her clothes on a naturist beach only to be asked for her autograph. Producer Ned Chaillet. Broadcast in Afternoon Play slot.

The Backward Shadow....2005
16 May 05. R4, Woman's Hour serial (10 episodes); sequel to ' The L-shaped Room'. Single mum Jane living with her baby in an inherited property. By Lynne Reid Banks. Dramatised by Juliet Ace. Producer Alison Hindell. With Siriol Jenkins, Rachel Atkins, Simon Ludders, Nickie Rainsford and John McAndrew.

10 Jan 08. Jack prepares a leaving dinner for his captain whilst his own son is in action in Iraq. He thinks 'stiff upper lip', but his family don't see how things can be normal. With Todd Carty, Lindsey Coulson, Jamie Kenna, Nick Sayce. Produced by Tracey Neale.

2 Jun 08. Afternoon PLay. Bella wants to go to her grave confident that her children will never know what a wicked woman she once was. But not even a shredder can wholly destroy the past. Bella ...... Gwen Taylor ,Edward ...... Stephen Thorne, Iris ...... Avril Elgar, Cybelle ...... Helen Longworth, Adam ...... Nyasha Hatendi, Simon ...... Steve Hodson, Raymond/Jimmy/Roger ...... Stephen Critchlow. Directed by Jane Morgan.

19 Mar 2020: Moving the Goalposts*
A new drama by Juliet Ace. 19 Mar 80-year-old Mattie is given 18 months to live which allows Mattie the golden opportunity to plan her ‘future’. There’s a will to make, a funeral to organise and possessions to give away. It’s an empowering experience. But then she doesn’t die. Four years later she's left with limited mobility and exhaustion – a condition she shares with many cancer patients who are supposedly cured of the disease. But Mattie is irrepressible and refuses to submit. Mattie ...... Pam Ferris. Written by Juliet Ace. Directed by Tracey Neale.

Asterisked plays known to exist in VRPCC collections.

The Archers BBC Radio 4: 25 episodes.
Brassic: Eight-part series for teenagers for BBC Radio 5, beginning 4 January 1991.
Kiss Me Quick. A serial for teenagers. Directed by Sally Avens and Nandita Ghose. 7 eps. BBC Radio 5, beginning January 1994.
Westway BBC World Service soap. Directed by David Hutchison and Anne Edyvean. Pilot plus 24 Episodes, from 1997.
Mattie – A Liberated Woman. 'AudioGo' Audiobook with three BBC one-woman plays featuring Patricia Hodge as the character Mattie and a fourth play, Upside Down in the Roasting Tin, reflecting Mattie's life seen over many Christmases.

Nigel Deacon, Diversity website.

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