Scene: A Man of Letters

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started7th Feb 1997
last rpt23rd Jan 1998
2 school years
episodes1
duration30 mins
subject ⚖️Citizenship
age rangeAge 13-16
languageenIn English
Scene A Man of Letters title.jpg
SceneHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious unit: Summertime Next unit: Breaking the Code HierarchyNext.gif
Scene dramasHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious drama: Summertime Next drama: Breaking the Code HierarchyNext.gif

A Man of Letters is an episode of the BBC schools TV series Scene from the 1990s, covering citizenship for secondary school pupils.

From the teacher's notes

From Tim Firth's notes on 'the origins of the play': "A Man of Letters was written by mistake. It was a play where the set design same ahead of the theme - and just as well, it turned out. (...) In the autumn of 1990, I was summoned to the Stephen Joseph Theatre to meet Alan Ayckbourn. He asked me if I'd be interested in writing a short lunchtime play for their studio. (...) He then led me into the 'studio'. To my horror I saw about sixteen pensioners sitting with their backs to the stage, slurping mushroom soup and moaning about bus fares. 'It doubles up as the canteen for our bistro.' said Alan.

"I went back to Warrington under the impression I was writing a play to be performed in a persioner's caf. If the play were set outdoors, say on the ledge of a building then the characters would legitimately have to shout, so would be heard above the noise of sucked soup. And secondly if the props weren't something diddy like a whisker decanter or handbag, if they were something vast and eye-catching, then even the most obdurate of grannies would have to turn round. There's no way, I decided, you can ignore a six foot high, bright red letter 'F'." - Scene teacher's notes spring 1998 p.4.

Credits

Written by Tim Firth

Broadcasts

  • Spring 1997
  • Spring 1998

Also broadcast for a general audience, late in the evening on BBC2 in July 1997.

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