ALAN BLEASDALE Biography - Writers


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Alan Bleasdale (born March 23, 1946 in Liverpool, England, UK) is a British television dramatist, best known for several powerful social drama serials based around the lives of ordinary people. His first success came as a writer of radio drama for the BBC, with several plays following the character of Scully being broadcast on his local station, BBC Radio Merseyside, in 1971. Scully was a young man from Liverpool, and Bleasdale’s plays represented a more realistic, contemporary depiction of life there than would usually been seen in the media.


The character became so successful that Bleasdale wrote a stage play, two novels and in 1978 a BBC Television play about the character. The same year, he wrote another one-off play for BBC ONE, entitled The Black Stuff. This latter play concerned the story of a group of Liverpudlian tarmac-layers - the ‘black stuff’ of the title - and a job in Middlesbrough that goes disasterously wrong for all of them resulting in the loss of their jobs.


Although the play remained untransmitted for two years as it waited for an available slot, on its eventual broadcast in 1980 it won much praise, and producer Michael Wearing of BBC English Regions Drama managed to commission the sequel serial that Bleasdale had already been working on. The series, Boys from the Blackstuff, was transmitted on BBC TWO in 1982, and won much praise. It established Bleasdale as one of Britain’s most important television writers and social commentators.


Since Boys from the Blackstuff, Bleasdale has gone on to pen several other important television dramas, including The Monocled Mutineer (1986, BBC ONE) and G.B.H. (1991, Channel 4).