Stephen Wakelam is an English writer and playwright born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. After Cambridge University, he became an English Teacher then Head of Department in South Yorkshire until he became a full-time writer in 1976. He was Young Writers’ Tutor at the Royal Court Theatre from 1981-1984 and then tutored young playwrights at the National Theatre Studio in the 1990s. He has written over forty performed plays, initially on television before moving primarily to radio. His subjects are almost exclusively biographical and cover a broad range of interests.

Presented here are eight BBC Radio productions of Wakelam’s work.

A Dose of Fame – In the final stages of writing Howards End, and nervous of success, E.M. Forster grapples with a mysterious death, his own sexuality and the seed of an idea for his next novel Maurice.
Morgan….Stephen Campbell Moore

Adulteries of a Provincial Wife – Gustave Flaubert’s masterpiece Madame Bovary was published 150 years ago. Who was the inspiration for Emma and how did his own life become embroiled in his writing?
With Daniel Evans, Robert Glenister, Anastasia Hillie, Jennie Stoller.

Death at the Bed End – Publication of a biography of Charlotte Bronte sparks the threat of libel suit. So a detective heads to Yorkshire to discover more. Steve Wakelam’s drama is based on true events.

Lying Low – Samuel Beckett checks into a quiet hotel deliberately under a pseudonym and it’s here that he befriends Janet who works part-time at the hotel while studying for her French A-level. They bond over an Agatha Christie novel. This burgeoning friendship tests Janet’s loyalties, presenting her with a dilemma she needs to resolve. This clever blend of fact and fantasy is inspired by the three weeks that Beckett spent in Folkestone prior to his marrying his long-term partner, Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil.

Mrs Tolstoy – In his fifties the great writer Leo Tolstoy has a spiritual crisis and converts to Christianity, taking the vows of poverty and chastity literally. Tolstoy stops sleeping with his wife and wants to give everything away but Sofya has ten children to feed. This is the woman who transcribed ‘War and Peace’ six times and who fights off rivals on daily basis for a place at his side. A portrait of a tempestuous marriage.

Punters – “Nijinski is what this game’s all about. Each year you hope to see another horse like him, another one to set your blood tingling. You hope for one that’ll never get beaten. But they always do… just like people… I want to win a bit, yes…. more than a bit…. but there’s more to this game than making money or losing it… ” When Mark comes home from university and puts a successful bet on the horses, a group of friends become obsessed by winning at the races.

Selling Immortality – It’s only a small painting by a little-known Renaissance master but it seems to have an uncanny power- and not just because of its beauty. Anyone who sells it dies soon after. But it also has the power to change lives for the better, as a young man finds out on a voyage to Italy.

Waiting for the Boatman – The painter Mario Minniti has travelled to Naples to seek out his old friend and former mentor Caravaggio. But on arrival, the great painter is nowhere to be found. In a bid to track him down, Mario retraces Caravaggio’s last known movements. His search reveals a life lived dangerousla