Alfred Wilfred Bradley (1925-1991), BBC Radio Drama Producer

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Alfred Wilfred Bradley (1925-1991), BBC Radio Drama Producer

Postby John Saunders » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:21 pm

Whilst working my way through Wycombiensians on Tony Hare's website, I came across the name of Alfred Wilfred Bradley (OW 1938-43), who in the 1950s had started to work as a theatre producer.

Though he doesn't yet have a Wikipedia page, he certainly merits one as he was a very eminent radio producer, eventually becoming the BBC's Senior Radio Producer for the North-West Region. There is an annual BBC Alfred Bradley Bursary of £5,000 awarded to new radio dramatists.

Alfred Bradley was paid a series of terrific tributes by the famous playwright Alan Ayckbourn which have been collected on this website: http://research.alanayckbourn.net/style ... age40.html

Alan Ayckbourn website wrote:In 1964, the first West End transfer of an Alan Ayckbourn play received a critical mauling and closed in less than a month. As a result of the failure of Mr Whatnot, Alan Ayckbourn seriously considered leaving theatre and although he ultimately did not take that step, between 1965 and 1970 he worked primarily as a radio drama producer for the BBC based at Leeds. He had been offered the job by and worked with Alfred Bradley, a much admired and respected drama producer whose passion for encouraging new writing and writers saw him inspire many leading Northern writers of the time. He worked at the BBC between 1959 and 1980 and even after his retirement, he was actively involved in radio - apparently Alfred rang Alan Ayckbourn for a radio play just the week before he died in 1991 aged 65.


Alan Ayckbourn in 2011 wrote:Although only a dozen or so years older than I, Alfred turned out to be what I later referred to as one of my 'guardian uncles'; those remarkable people whom I was lucky enough to meet in my early years who subsequently shaped and informed my life. I remain indebted to him.


Alan Ayckbourn in 1987 wrote:I went and got a job at the BBC, as a producer… Mr Whatnot had flopped in the West End as a result of a disastrous series of circumstances and everyone had told me that this was the moment when you were going to have trouble parking the Rolls Royce! In fact I had trouble paying the bill on the typing paper. So I needed a job and another fairy uncle drifted into view - this time Alfred Bradley, who was Head of Drama at Leeds, a sort of far flung empire you see, who was at that time encouraging the most extraordinary sort of wave of northern talent. The Stan Barstows and John Braines and Willis Halls and all those people who were all at that stage starting their writing careers or establishing them. He needed someone just to help. He had only seen me acting but I think I was the only candidate with any production experience. And so I got the job and spent five years there working on radio plays, which was terrific.


There are several more such tributes paid to Alfred Bradley at that website which are well worth a read. The RGS should be very proud of him.
John Saunders
RGS 1963-70 (personal website http://www.saund.co.uk)

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John Saunders
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Re: Alfred Wilfred Bradley (1925-1991), BBC Radio Drama Producer

Postby John Saunders » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:28 pm

Here is Alfred Bradley himself, from Old Boys' Notes in the April 1951 Wycombiensian...

Alfred Bradley wrote:A. W. BRADLEY (1938-43) writes that he is now getting established as a producer. He is at present at New Brighton, where he has a pleasant hard-working company ; young enough not to be cynical and disillusioned. He enjoyed the experience of hearing Lupino Lane as one of his stars and Bradley hopes to produce a new translation of Antigone in a small London theatre for the Festival of Britain. He was sorry not to be able to entertain the O.B.’s, but hopes that next time he will have the time and the money to do so.
John Saunders
RGS 1963-70 (personal website http://www.saund.co.uk)