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Academic delves into life of famous science fiction writer for the BBC

Posted on 16/12/2010

The Day of the Triffids, one of Wyndham's best known novels

Dan Rebellato, Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London, has made a documentary about the celebrated science fiction author, John Wyndham, which is due to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 21 December.

The programme explores Wyndham’s persistent attractions, his exploration of sexual and social anxieties, and features original interviews with biographer David Ketterer, the manager of the PENN club where he lived, the gardeners at Kew, his chief archivist and the headmaster of his school. It also includes interviews with Royal Holloway Professor and noted science fiction author and expert, Adam Roberts. The programme also features readings from the books and their adaptations and a rare archive interview with Wyndham himself.

In 2003, Professor Rebellato adapted The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham for BBC Radio 4’s Classic Serial slot, a production which has since been released as a BBC Audiobook. It starred Bill Nighy, Sarah Parish, Katherine Tozer, Nicholas R Bailey and Clive Merrison.

Professor Rebellato’s plays have also been a big hit this year. His latest offering, He Knows When You Are Sleeping, is being performed at Theatre503, in South London until 22 December. It concentrates on an affluent couple who are surprised to read in the newspaper that Santa Claus is coming to town. This leads them to question their relationship, their jobs and their lives. What will happen to them? Have they been naughty or nice? This play is written for PLAYlist, a regular portmanteau theatre event, where writers are asked to write plays inspired by particular songs on a certain theme; the stipulation is that the plays should be the same length as the songs. The theme of this event is Christmas songs.

This play follows on from the successful run of Professor Rebellato’s Chekhov in Hell at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth, in November and Manchester, which was performed at the Arcolaon 12 December as part of the Miniaturists programme of short plays. The play was directed by Royal Holloway Drama graduate Lucy Kerbel and performed by Charlotte Melia and Royal Holloway Drama graduate Paul Westwood.

Tickets for He Knows When You Are Sleeping are available at: http://www.theatre503.com/whatson/detail/224/


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