Michael Arditti Radio Plays

Michael Arditti was born in Cheshire and educated at Jesus College, Cambridge. He began his literary career writing plays, of which several were produced on the stage and the radio, including The Volunteer (National Youth Theatre 1980), The Freshman (National Student Theatre Company 1984), Something To Scare Off The Birds, (Radio Four 1985), The Morning Room (Radio Four, 1985), The Chatelaine (Radio Four 1987), and The Family Hotel (Radio Four 1991).

He is best known for his novels: The Celibate (1993); Pagan and her Parents (1996), published in America under the title Pagan's Father; Easter (2000); Unity (2005); A Sea Change (2006); and The Enemy of the Good (2009). His short story collection, Good Clean Fun, was published in 2004.

Pagan's Father was shortlisted for the Lambda award; Easter won the Waterstone's Mardi Gras award and was longlisted for the Whitbread; Unity was shortlisted for the Wingate award.


R4, May 85. Eleven year-old Simon is taken by his mother Eleanor to spend the summer at their country house. Her increasingly erratic behaviour, induced by the break-up of her marriage (of which Simon is unaware), pushes him more and more into the company of the eighteen year old gardener, John, whose own family life has been shattered by his fatherís recent suicide. John, who shares an estate cottage with his mother, Ruth, initially rebuffs Simon but gradually mellows, with disastrous results. Over the course of the summer, all four characters have their lives transformed and Simon discovers the complexity of adult desire. Cast: Anna Massey, Graham McGrath, Tessa Worsley, Spencer Banks; directed by Richard Wortley .

R4, Aug 85. Sixty year-old Sarah Mottram, a doctorís receptionist, and her younger brother, Ralph, a teacher, return to their family home after their motherís funeral. They discuss both their past and future, betraying the sterility of their emotional lives. Sarah shocks Ralph by announcing that she wishes to use her share of the legacy in order to travel, but she abandons her dreams, with surprising speed, when their aunt reveals her own fears and needs. Bereft of the role of dutiful daughter, Sarah takes on that of dutiful niece. Cast: Anna Massey, Hugh Dickson, Pauline Letts; directed by Richard Wortley .

R4,Jun 87.Lady Dorothy Combe-Carrington, an elderly landowner, has been forced to open her ancestral home, Astbury Hall, to the public. Among the two hundred or so visitors one summer afternoon are the Cutter family: Frank; Mary; their two sons, David and Jason; and Davidís girlfriend, Gail. David, a student radical, is equally disgusted by the Combe-Carringtonís accumulated wealth and his motherís deference to a family for whom her own mother worked as a maid. A few days later he breaks into the house in the dead of night to take revenge on Lady Dorothy. During the ensuing confrontation, she displays a grit and guile worthy of her ancestors, disarming him in every sense. Cast: Graham Cox, Worsley, Julian Firth, Rusty Livingstone, Stephen Harrold, Karen Ascoe, Tim Reynolds, Penelope Lee, Fabia Drake; directed by Richard Wortley

Piers Alexander, a young print works owner, has booked a room at a small hotel in North Wales for a week in October. The reasons for his choice become clear when he reveals to Lily Hardman, the proprietorís wife, that he is the baby she gave away for adoption twenty-five years before. Piersí arrival causes havoc to the lives of Lily and her other son, James, an unemployed graduate forced to live with his parents. Only Jamesís father, Roy, remains oblivious to the turmoil, insisting that it is business as usual at the family hotel. Cast: Robert Glenister, Jonathan Firth, William Simons, Elizabeth Kelly, Emma Gregory, Norman Jones, Joanna Myers, Alan Barker, Clarence Smith, Peter Gunn.

compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website / Jan 2010

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