Arthur Kelly
Radio Plays

Arthur Kelly (born Aug 1931) left school at 15 and served an apprenticeship as shipwright in Cammell Laird shipyard. After finishing his apprenticeship he served some time as a shipwright then moved to work as a carpenter on the railways. He tried a few jobs including working at the Liverpool Playhouse as assistant stagehand/carpenter during the time that Richard Briers and his wife Ann Davies performed there.

Later he worked at the De Havilland factory as an Aero Pattern maker. After marrying Caroline in 1957 he decided to qualify as a teacher having attended night school to reach the required standard to attend teacher training college. He subsequently attended De La Salle, Hopwood Hall for three years. During this time his interest in Art and writing developed.

On qualifying he taught at a Liverpool school as an Art/Woodwork teacher. Finally he obtained a post at St Edwards College, Liverpool teaching Art. Subsequently he became Head of the new CDT department there. For all of his teaching career he encouraged his students to pursue their particular talents, especially writing. One of his students, Stephen Baxter, went on to become a well-known science fiction writer, who dedicated one of his books to Arthur.

Arthur wrote a number of radio plays for the BBC. One of them , for which we have a recording, is "Echoes" (1976), set in Liverpool. He wrote several series of factual programmes for Radio Merseyside, one of which was based on the bombing of Liverpool during the May blitz during World War 2. Another series was about entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries called "Great Grandad's Night Out".

Arthur also wrote a stage play called "The Mersey Ferry Boat Show" in 1977, directed by Tim Albery (now better known as an opera producer), at the Liverpool Playhouse Upstairs.

The only time Arthur himself featured in any production was as narrator in "Great Grandad's Night Out".

His radio play "Paper Phoenix" was produced by the BBC in London and starred Dinsdale Landen.

Arthur continued to write but also concentrated more on drawing and painting after he retired following a heart attack. He suffered a fatal heart attack in 1993 when walking with his youngest son, Bernard, in the Lake District. He was just 61. He was working on a novel but it was never completed.

Phil, his second son, is also a writer, and has had an historical novel published called "Duncan of the Britons", to be found on Amazon uk.


pre-Oct 74: Short stories and playlets, Radio Merseyside
Oct 74: Merseyside at War; Radio Merseyside
13.11.76 Echoes (Thirty Minute Theatre)
12.06.75 Paper Phoenix (Afternoon Theatre); rpt. 17.02.77


Various short stories and playlets broadcast by BBC Radio Merseyside, including "History Long Ago" - one of which was "The Road Builders", script by Arthur Kelly; and a six-part series on Victorian Liverpool called "Great Grandad's Night Out" (6 x 15m), narrated by Arthur himself.

Oct 1974 - scripts and research for a 13-part radio documentary on "Merseyside at War" (13 x 22m). Produced by Robert Cooper for Radio City's opening months. Programme controller Gillian Reynolds.

R4. Thur 12 Jun 75. Afternoon Theatre, produced by Harry Catlin. 45m. Cast: BBC info says Dinsdale Landen, Alan Tilvern and Nigel Graham; CK says Dinsdale Landen and John Justin.

R4, 30m. With Eileen Derbyshire, Ronald Herdman and Russell Dixon. A family drama set in Liverpool. Produced in Manchester by Robert Cooper. This play was also broadcast on New Zealand radio.

Script and research by Arthur Kelly, drama documentary "The Mersey Ferryboat Show" for the the Playhouse Upstairs (Liverpool Repertory Theatre), directed ny Tim Albery. Songs and music by Nicholas Peake. Stage performance, not a radio broadcast.

...I am grateful to Caroline Kelly for sending information about her late husband, and a recording of 'Echoes'. At the time of writing, this is the only recording of Arthur's work which we have. If you have others, please get in touch. - ND

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