dramatist, born in Birmingham, and studied drama at Manchester University. He came to general prominence in 1980 with his hugely successful eight‐hour adaptation of Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby. Maydays (1983), the first play by a contemporary dramatist to be staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Theatre, dealt with the post‐war decline of socialism. His work also includes Entertaining Strangers (1985, with A. Jellicoe), set in 19th‐cent. Dorchester; That Summer (1987), about the British miners' strike of 1985; The Shape of the Table (1990) set in communist Europe; Pentecost (1994); and Speer (2000). He has also written for radio and television and in 1991, for the National Theatre, adapted Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.