Alan Plater - the memoir of a well-known and popular writer of numerous plays, screenplays and novels. It started the day he heard Mood Indigo at his grandparents' house in Jarrow and continued in his prolonged adolescence when he fell in love with cowboy bands, failed to tune a zither, and perfected the arts of invisible juggling and under-achieving escapology. Then, slightly to his surprise, came a life and career that have brought him a CBE, two CDs, three BAFTAs, four honorary degrees and fourteen grandchildren. Music has been the vital ingredient throughout, with an extraordinary range of collaborators, including Alex Glasgow, the Watersons, Dave Greenslade, John Dankworth, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Kenny Baker and Alan Barnes. As he said to the Queen at his investiture: 'Forty-five years without a proper job. That's got to be some sort of achievement.' It is illustrated with cartoons by the author.
Born in Jarrow, brought up in Hull, and trained as an architect in Newcastle, Alan Plater has been a full-time writer since 1961, with almost three hundred assorted credits in radio, television, theatre and films - plus six novels, occasional journalism, broadcasting and teaching. His first plays were written for radio, a medium he still loves. The Journal of Vasilije Bogdanovic won the inaugural 1983 Sony Radio Award. His television career began with a string of single plays as well as contributions to the pioneering Z Cars series. Subsequent work has included Barchester Chronicles, The Beiderbecke Trilogy, Fortunes of War, A Very British Coup, Misterioso, Doggin' Around, The Last of the Blonde Bombshells, Belonging and, most recently, The Last Will and Testament of Billy Two-Sheds. He has won Awards from, among others, BAFTA, the Broadcasting Press Guild and the Royal Television Society - plus an International Emmy (USA), the Golden Fleece of Georgia (CIS), the Grand Prix of the Banff Festival (Canada) and the Screenwriting Award of the Biarritz Festival. A third generation trade unionist, he was President of the Writers' Guild from 1991 to 1995. In 2005 he won BAFTA's much-cherished Dennis Potter Award and was given a CBE in the New Year Honours List. He lives very contentedly in London with his wife, Shirley. When he remembers where he left his spare time, he spends it adoring his grandchildren, hanging around Ronnie Scott's and worrying about Hull City.