This is the place where you can air your views on Willy Russell's plays, the musical - BLOOD BROTHERS, his novel - WRONG BOY, the new CD - HOOVERING THE MOON. So come on - if you've been to see BLOOD BROTHERS, or have performed in one of Willy Russell's plays at college or school, read WRONG BOY and found yourself laughing out loud in front of complete strangers, or enjoyed tracks from Willy's album, HOOVERING THE MOON - let us know. The points raised here are often answered in Willy Russell.com's regular newsletters.
DeeDee Rescher - Long Beach, California Willy Russell, you have changed my life. I have been performing Shirley Valentine at various venus in Southern California since 2004. It is a huge mountain of a script, but each and every word has purpose and meaning. You truly mastered the "poetry of common speech". I don't know you but I have thanked you literally hundreds of times as I did Shirley's dance upon those stages. It is poetry with profound depth, and I have begun my own journey though "escape" into the land of self discovery with your help, the walls help and Shirley's help. Oh, and I cook a MEAN plate of chip and egg! Thank you. Thank you.
Janet Atkin – Nottinghamshire I am convinced I saw Blood Brothers at the Nottingham Playhouse in the early eighties but can find no mention of it in past Playhouse productions. It was quite simply brilliant and has stayed in my memory. Can anyone help with information?
The Wrong Boy. I laughed, cried and my heart ached for Raymond as it aches for my son who could have been Raymond. Unlike Raymond, he died at the age of 27years before he could 'find himself' and a reason to continue living. I will treasure this book always. Thank you, Mr Russell.
Leanne Irving - Sunderland
Hello Mr. Russell, I just wanted to write to you and let you know that your works are some of the greatest I've ever read. 'Blood Brothers' has made a huge impact on my life. I'm currently a level 3 Drama Student at Sunderland university, and it's my dream to one day play Mrs Johnstone. I'm currently writing my dissertation on Blood Brothers & Educating Rita, and was hoping by any chance would you be able to give me a quote I could use in the dissertation. Maybe about your influences to write the plays? I would appreciate it so much and once again can't thank you enough for your amazing writing style. Much love, Leanne
Jean Poet - Birkenhead Great Writer!
Dan O'Hanlon - Northern Ireland Saw Blood Brothers for the first time last night, in Cheltenham. (will look to see it again.) Powerful. Penetrating. At it's heart, very Greek--could have been written by Aeschylus--which is why I would change (only) one thing: the name of the character "Narrator," which is not actually in the dialogue, but in the program, should be changed to "Guilt." The story's ever-present spirit, he is, after all, it's soul--not just the guilt of the two mothers, which is the lesser, but much more so of the society that drives parents to acts of despair.
Stella Tang - Qingdao, China I am currently a high school student studying A-level at an international school in China. My love for drama has never ceased since I first encountered a play script in my literature class. We have set up a performance group at school and are now up to a rehearsal on Blood Brothers. Hopefully we are able to present it next February in a local theater:) I am casting Mrs. Lyon and genuinely looking forward to get involved in duplicating such a masterpiece!!!
Joe Swindells - Liverpool
I was thrilled to find to find this site and the Guest Book.
Like people from all over the world I have enjoyed Willy's writing. It goes without saying his talent is remarkable in that he conveys human life and emotions in a way that ordinary people can identify with. I was interested to read about Willy's early life a lot of which I am familier with as He lived next door to me as a child. The location was Knowsley Village, a few miles from where he was born, at Whiston. I have very fond memories of both Willy and his parents Bill and Margorie. As as has been mentioned his dad owned a chip shop and his mum owned a drapers - both on the nearby Kirkby Trading Estate (this estate was formally an armaments factory during the war). Willy's dad did a lot to help my brother and I stay on the straight and narrow after our dad died when I was 14. And his mum was always kind to us. Eventually. The bungalow estate where we lived was demolished and we moved to new houses on the far side of Knowsley Village. Willy's family moved near to his parent's shops at Kirkby.
I didn't have any contact after that, for many years. Then two or three years ago having followed his career closely I got in touch and was thilled to meet him. It was lovely to chat and he still had that 'knowing' twinkle in his eye that must have captured much of lifes humour and frailties that is so evocotive in his writing. Well done Willy. I know your mum and dad would be so proud of your fantastic achievements. It is a privilage to know you and I wish you lots more success in your future.
Sarah – Hertfordshire
As a strong willed teenager, I have been obsessed with Musical Theatre from a very young age. I went to see "Blood Brothers" four years ago in London with my GCSE Drama class at my old secondary school and I loved the show! The effort the actors made on stage was extraordinary; they certainly made the story realistic. I was heart-broken to find that Blood Brothers closed last week but I hope, one day it will return to the West End in the future. Now four years on, I've started college and studying a BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts. I desperately want to be an actress because the shows in the West End like Blood Brothers have influenced me to follow my dreams and help me build a career path in the future. In a few weeks time, I'll be doing my Grade Eight Musical Theatre Exam in Singing and I'm thrilled to be singing "Easy Terms" as one of my pieces. I'm really sacred but I'm sure it'll all work out. I'm surprised to find that you did everything to put Blood Brothers on stage; even the music! Good on you.
Thank you so much for helping me to discover Blood Brothers and good luck for the future.
Marguerite Wilkinson - Plymouth
In the 70' s my first husband and I used to go to the Top Lock folk club in Runcorn where we always had a good time and my husband John Pye used to play. You sorted out the bridge on his fiddle. I doubt you remember us but I have followed your brilliant career through the years. I now live in Plymouth as far away from Painful Pye as possible !! You still look the same but a bit more grey, very happy memories of growing up in Merseyside in the 60s and70s all my love.
Dan Reuben - London
How come you never posted part 2 of The South Bank Show, as promised? Would love to see the complete show. Any chance??
Hello Dan. Yes, we did... Apologies. We will try and root out the original VHS and transfer to the website. Thanks for flagging it up. WEBWEAVER
Johannes - UK
Hello! 2 weeks ago I visited Blood Brothers for the 2nd time! Unfortunately it closes at the end of October! I got 2 CD´s of the Musical but they were recorded 1995/1996 as you know. I would be incredibly happy if a newer CD would be recorded with the actual cast in London especially the Narrator´s voice. I think after 16 years after the last show was recorded it can be worth... Best regards
Neil Young - Coventry
I have been a fan of Blood Brothers for many years, having seen it so many times i cannot count. Each and every time the emotions given by the cast are amazing and you are transported into their world. Please please please do not let them close the show it deserves to run forever. But i just wanted to say thankyou for giving us this masterpiece to enjoy. Thanks again Neil
Julie Moug - Oxfordshire
My sister and I saw Blood Brothers today and came out of the theatre both saying how amazing it was. It had humor, drama, social realism and provoked a surge of emotions that was unexpected. After the laughter, the constant admiration or the performance came the tears (relieved to see when the lights went up I wasn' t the only one wiping them away). I'll certainly be urging friends and family go to see it !!
Allison Rosenbaum - America
I saw Blood Brothers this summer at the Phoenix Theatre and was absolutely blown away. what an incredible piece of theater by such amazing actors! It has quickly become my new favorite show and my latest obsession. When i heard that it was closing, i was absolutely devastated, and still am. I was wondering, is there any possibility of the final performance being recorded and sold as a DVD? I'm sure it would be greatly appreciated by the many that are in love with the show, and it might be the only opportunity some people would have to see it. The show is so moving and wonderful and deserves to be watched again and again.
Andrea Chettle - Rushde, Northants, UK
So very sad to hear of the closing of Blood Brothers in the West End. It would be fantastic if this production could be captured on DVD so the fans can still re-visit this wonderful show Thank you Willie Russell
Ken Gidner - Michigan, United States
I'm really curious about the significance of the references to William Blake in "Educating Rita." There are many English poets to choose from, yet Blake is specifically chosen: 1. dismissed as a "dead poet" by Frank, 2. Frank was "saving him for" Rita, but surprised that she had learned him at summer school (Songs of Innocence and Experience) and 4. Rita's new school chum is named Tiger (The Tyger?). This seems intentional to me. I am reading too much into this?
Nick Perry - Oundle
I met Willy Russell at the Arvon Foundation in Hebdon Bridge - he was running a songwriter course with Tim Firth. Both men are generous with their time, inspiring with their ideas and warm in their hearts. As head of drama in a large comprehensive school I have had the opportunity to teach Blood Brothers to any number of students and have taken parties of schoolchildren to see Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre in London every year for the last 12 years. It never fails: joy and tears blended together. What a privilege it was to meet the great man.
Helen Vanes - Hinckley, Leics
Wow, Mr Russell, my friends and I just went to see Blood Bros (the play) at the studio in the Concordia. Wow. I had shared your poem, I Wish I was Our Sammy, with several nearly 8 year old boys, who loved it as much as I do, and maybe grew to think poetry can be wonderful; and I always wanted to see the play. Wow, I was not disappointed. It was so powerful, and the New Theatre Players' acting was very good, particularly the twin who stays at home. I like to think you would be proud of them! In richer days I have seen a lot of theatre, and this rated amongst the highlights. It was highly topical, which make it all the more powerful. The fact that you only licence it for studio productions, and the way you apparently sent good luck cards to all the players (I chatted with the bar staff- everyone felt the play was more than just another production, it seemed) - it all made me feel the reality of the experience, that you were there with us and shared our experience as the audience. Nowadays, theatre seems to be more about raking in the money from rich people than sharing experience with everybody. So it was a special day for us - we came away in an altered state and just talked till late. Thank you. I will make sure I don't wait so long before I see the next production by Willy Russell.
Louise Bentley - Perth, Western Australia
My love for Blood Brothers started in 1985 as an 11year old schoolgirl. I was chosen, along with 3 other kids by the headteacher to go watch it in Bradford, West Yorkshire. This began a lifelong crush on Mr Con O'Neil, and also on the play itself which will hold a place in my heart forever. The original cast staring Kiki Dee etc was magnificent, and the songs still to this day regularly can be heard either at home or in the car and still give me goosebumps. From the first time seeing it in 1985, I have seen it as often as possible in Bradford, Leeds etc and excitedly introduced so many people to the same love affair with Blood Brothers. Im forever hoping that one day it will come to Perth, Western Austrailia where I now live, and continue to spread the word of the play to everyone I meet. I even tried to coincide a visit back to the UK in 2010 with yet another screening, but missed it by a week. My 13year old niece will see it for the first time in May in Bradford + Im sure she'll start the love affair too. Thankyou so much for such a life changing experience + then again a few years later with Dancin Thru The Dark!!! Love affair No2 starts with renting the video out so often that the owner decides to let me buy the only copy!! I own the VHS copy + then the cassette soundtrack origianlly, + will soon be the proud owner of the imminently arriving remastered DVD which Ive been waiting for 20years and had pre-ordered as soon as news broke!! Thanks again for love affair No 2!! Keep them coming Mr Russell
Linda White - Colchester
My special needs son did a version of Blood Brothers at school and it really affected me. i have wanted to see it ever since then 2003! I went to see it at the Pheonix theatre a month ago. What can i say? Stunning, amazing and still so relevent today. I am not ashamed to say that i cried and cried at the end, and not in an attractive way! It was amazing and i havent stopped telling my friends about it since. I would definitely go and see it again!!
Mark McCowan - Brighton
Blood Brothers is an amazing piece of work , truly stands the test of time , saw it again in London last week , Fantastic . It just flows so seamlesly from song to song and ripped my heart apart again !! Spellbinding Mr Russell.
Tracey Dixon – Hull
Can I just say a huge thank you for Dancin' Thru the Dark being released on DVD, I absolutely love this film but my VHS copy is somewhat worn out. I've just found out its being released on DVD and I've pre-ordered it. Huge fan of Con O'Neill, Huge fan of Blood Brothers, lost count of the number of times I've seen it. So, just a huge thank you once again Willy.
Pete Drage - Wrexham
I first came to hear of Blood Brothers when our school was performing it as their yearly production in 1996. I had a very small part in it (i played al capone in the kids game scene) and fell in love with the play by just watching the other actors rehearse, when it came down to the final production even from an amateur group it was amazing, so good that we decided to perform it in Theatre Clwyd (Theatr Cymru). During my drama coursework in 2000/2001 i got the chance to go and see a live production and it was amazing, it still remains one of my favourite musicals ever and i always enjoy looking out for it and cant wait to see it at the Alhambra in Bradford this year. I am however a bit disappointed that i cannot purchase a DVD of a professional performance anywhere, i have looked everywhere but cannot find one and i think it would be amazing if a show could be recorded and sold commercially.
Sophy Clark – Nottingham
i am doing blood brother at school and it is amazingggggggggggggggg. best book evaaaaaaa
Jason Mirren - Aberdeen
willy russell and his play our day out is verry good and i would like to watch it time and time again
Elaine Ward - Nuneaton
Came to see Wiilly's interview in Stratford last Sunday. What an inspiring, insightful and fascinating experience! I am an aspiring actress in training and I had my own Rita moment when I asked Willy a question! I take with me many quotes from that interview that really touched me - thank you Willy1.
Mal Taylor - Lancashire
Hi just wanted to say thank-you. I was homeless as a child and lived rough on the streets for a number of years. Your plays: One summer with Billy and Icky although fictional almost mirrored my life in reality at the time and I found some comfort in it. Also enjoyed watching Shirley V and Dancing thro the Dark (which is probably ur most underrated classic). Educating Rita inspired me not to give up and gain an education for myself. Without your films/plays inspiration I doubt I would be who I am today-happy. I guess you have won lots of awards. I doubt any match this one. - Thankyou very much, your work changed my life. Just thought I would mention it.
Sam Williams - Powys
Hi. This is the first time I've ever done anything like this but felt I had to tell you how much I enjoyed reading and writing on the play educating rita for an English assignment. I can honestly say I found it extremely funny, witty and thought provoking and also relevant to my life. Just like Rita and yourself I am a mature student doing an access course to higher education to better myself. i hasten to add i will be looking up other of your works forth with. Yours truly Sam.
Cristina Moore - Australia
Hello, Went to see Blood Brothers in Sept 2011 we were blown away .the standing ovation didn't do it justice , didn't take a breath in the last song ...please is it available on dvd for those of us who don't have the chance to see it again ? Is it coming to Australia. Thank you.
Class 9/En1 - Werneth School,Stockport
Dear Mr Russell, We have been studying your play 'Blood Brothers' and we have really enjoyed it. We were wondering about the motif you use through Marilyn Monroe - did you deliberately choose Monroe to show the decline in the Johntones' lives? This is probably an unrealistic request but we were hoping that you might like to come in to our wonderful school so we could interview you about your experiences. We enjoyed the play so much that we would love to gain a further insight into it. Yours, in anticipation, Year 9b/En1
Michelle Yunis - Exeter
i miss liverpool because of you.... lived in exter for the past 2 years. i am your educating rita! i miss comming the playhouse and seeing you guys, alan, tim and roger. ever xmas somebody gets a copy of the wrong boy. you dont need scouse somalian to tell you how brilliant you? do you?
Lewis Jones - Barnsley, UK
Hello, I was wondering if the rites for Blood Brothers (Play version) for a high school. It is going to be the last year at the High school as we will be getting a new one at September 2012 and as we are a performing arts school we really want the school to go out with a bang... This would be a amateur production performed at The Kingstone High School, Barnsley in England. Please get back to me as soon as possible if i am able or unable to perform the play version...
Amanda McGuinness - Liverpool
Hi,just wanted say how much of a fan I am of the hit musical blood brothers. I saw it for the first time when I was thirteen and fell in love, it is my abition in life to play a lead in the show. I am a performer and have a degree in performing arts, when I was fourteen I got to sing live on a local radio station singing "Tell me its not true" where I was suprised by Barbara Dickson who was performing in the show at the time , we both appeared in the newspaper. I have saw the show 11 times now and love it more and more each time, I hope one day my dream will come true and I have the script in my hand.
Michelle K - Braintree
Hi, thought I'd let you know, that I am doing BTEC Level 2 Performing Arts at my local college and my classmates and I are going to do Our Day Out (the original play) as our main production next year. As I am a mature student (nearly 38!) I'm thinking of going for one of the teacher roles.
Iain Condie - Herts Dancing thru the dark on DVD from next week !!!!
OMFG! at last !!! so so so so happy, I need to buy about 10 copies for hristmas presents ! thank you I x
Gary Gardner - Liverpool OUR DAY OUT
Hi I loved this show! I can remember the day it was screened also we were all going on a trip to chester zoo two weeks later and a few mad boys decided to repeat some of the antics of the cast. Well written and well played out . Havnt seen it since it was first screened back in 70,s.
Valerie Cottrell – Cornwall
Can I get a sample CD of the music for OUR DAY OUT, THE MUSICAL? I understand there is an educational pack costing £40 and I have a sample script and vocal score but my pianist is not available for a while and I need to choose my play for next term NOW!!!!
Our Day Out - The Musical: Unfortunately this is not yet officially available for amateur production. But stay tuned, this website will be the first to know when it becomes available. WEBWEAVER
Niamh Muhall-Smyth - Cork, Ireland
A question on Blood Brothers... Darren Wayne was Mrs. Johnson's first born child. However in the play Sammy appears to be portrayed as the oldest. What happened to Darren Wayne??
Darren Wayne - spot on observation! Anachronism and I can only plead guilt as Shakespeare's clock in Julius Caesar. WILLY RUSSELL
i really enjoyed our day the story and the show.
Marian Burns – Ireland
I just wanted to thank you for writing Blood Brothers. I have been to see it three times and just love, love, love it. Will you ever release the rights for amateur groups to perform it? keep up the great work.
Fabio Castrini – Rome
The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell
The book was enlightening .. I drew the cover and then it was the best book I have read and closer to my way of thinking and has opened so many interests ... illuminating and powerful !
Tracey Lee Rein - BC Canada
The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell
How did I like this book? I just finished it...an old, rather ratty, paperback copy I stumbled upon in my favourite used book store, a place called Nuggets, in Chilliwack BC Canada. A bookstore which is very aptly named as The Wrong Boy is definitely a golden nugget of a book if ever there was such a thing. The moment I finished The Wrong Boy, I went to Abebooks and ordered a brand new, signed by the author, hardcover copy. Something I've never felt the need to do before with any other book I've read, but this time, I just had to. I admit, I am a hopeless bibliophile and as this is without a doubt one of the most incredible novels I've ever read, I simply had to have a new, hardcover copy. Having it signed; well, that's the icing on the cake of perfection. This entry has been condensed for reasons of space - WebWeaver
nina jones - billinge nr wigan
hi,i am Nina I attend Rainford high technology college and love your work I think my teacher told me you used to go to school there! is this true??? because if it is I would just find this amazing!! from Nina
Caroline Ross - North Wales
Heard Willy on radio last week talking about the Everyman and bemoaning the fact that in the Seventies the theatre put on 12 premieres a year and now all the money goes on administration (I paraphrase). I would love to use the exact quote in an essay exploring this change for the worse in theatre funding - where was he interviewed, please, so I can get a recording? It went out on Tues 28th June.
Maggie How - London
Magic to hear Willy in the Purcell Room at the Meltdown festival as one of Roger McGough's guests reading from his novel - brilliant rendition of The Wrong Boy - love the plays too of course, but nothing like hearing the man himself read his own words...
Amera Abbas - England
I have just been to watch your well writen play "Blood Brothers" and I must say it is fantastically amazing. I was so amazed that when it finished I literally stood up with my fellow clas mates and I clapped and cried my heart out. With me being a twin and both separated at birth I felt as though I was apart of the play... well not with an extreme class difference. Also Eddie played by Simon Willmont and the ex- Mickey played by Richard Munday both came to my school for a gcse workshop. I must say both were absolutely amazingly phenomenal. I had a wonderful experience, I recieved an autograph from both of them and I loved every second of it! I would love to meet them once again. This workshop kept me smiling non-stop, that when I left my face ached. Blood brothers is a wonderfully funney yet tragic play, I encourage everyone to go and see it. If you have already seen it go again!!!
Ray Keeley - Liverpool
I attend the Everyman Youth Theatre and have just had the Honour of meeting David Morrissey, he is such an inspiration and has further fuelled my desire to Act ! He was so nice for taking the time out to talk to us and even signed my Mum's One Summer DVD !!I recently watched the One Summer DVD and thought it was fantastic!
Jan Dexter - Algarve
Love your work in all of its richness. I am involved with a Producer just now about to make a comedy feature in the Algarve. Would love to be in touch with you to ask you one question - and it's not for money! Just a word from your expertise on script cover. Would be great if you felt willing to contact me - thanks so much.
Christina O'Donnell - Liverpool
I absolutely love you Willy Russell. You have a great respect for the dignity of women, expecially working class women and the working class in genral. As a young mum in 1981, I felt that there might have been more to life and went back to education. I read Great Expectations and could relate to Pip and around the same time, I saw Educating Rita. I've loved One Summer, Shirley Valentine and Blood Brothers. You are in tune with people who want to break through the comfort zones, rock the boat and make a life for themselves. You're work is greatly appreciated..
Becca Young - Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire
I love 'Blood Brothers' and was therefore very proud when my son told me that he was going to be the Narrator, in his GCSE Drama group's assessed performance of the play. However, I was brought back down to earth with a bump when he subsequently informed me that his Drama teacher was going to mark him down significantly, due to his inability to imitate a Scouse accent. I thought this was a little unnecessary, as the Narrator's role and portrayal would seem to be more open to a subjective approach, than some of the other characters, perhaps. Just needed somewhere to rant, really. Thanks..
Janet Jones - Wisbech, Cambs
Dear Willy, I was the original 'Rita' working at a Co-op-met my boyfriend at 13, married him at 17 - had 3 kids by the time I was 25 - then I got made redundant went to College + found education was my escape route from 'paramount reality' ! That was 25 years ago- and now I am studying for a Doctorate in Education. My thesis is on how Education transforms people like Rita. Please, please can I interview you for my thesis - even if it is only by email - as your work has changed my life and that of my students. I am a lecturer now and Course Director for a Degree - still love my hubby + kids to bits-my life has completely changed due to you. I really hope you will get in touch and help me with my research. With very Best Wishes Janet.
Priit Oidekivi, 14 - Sofia, Bulgaria
Love your plays, and have seen many of them. Playing Brian Reilly in Our Day Out, drama performance. Love it..
Henry Rees - Dunstable
I have always wanted to know where the idea of "the Marilyn Monroe " theme came from for Blood Brothers and what was behind it? I stayed with his sister Dawn over the weekend and she didn't know the answer!! It's such a brilliant musical.
Wendy Chambers - Cheshire
Oh I get it now, only a hairdresser could write a script like the Shirley Valentine storyand educating Rita. (didn't know you had been one of us). Must have seen Mrs Valentine at least 20 times, my second most watched films after Ken Russell's great direction, Women in love. Best wishes Willy, Wendy, hairdressing since 1971.P.S. MY cousin is Tony Etchells the writer.
Paula Thompson - Wigan
Hi Willy, What ever happened to Linzi Matthews? I saw her twice in BB and still think she's a World class actress. Is there any plans for to go back to BB? Do you know what she's in at the moment? Please let me know. Rgds, Paula
Elena Holowitz - Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Mr. Russell, I currently attend a performing arts high school for vocals. Earlier this moth I was given an assignment that had to do with musical theatre. We were told to pick a musical, and to study it. We would be asked to sing a piece from the musical we chose, talk about the composer, and to discuss the background information about the show. I was in a youth community version of Blood Brothers almost three years ago. So I chose, Blood Brothers for my assignment. It has been an honour to learn more about the show. I want to thank you for allowing my former cast mates, and I to experience first hand how much the theatre can impact the lives of young people. Thank you so much for all your wonderful contributions to theatre over the years!
Tony Koziol - Chester
Hi Willy. Cast yourself back to 1964 at the Continental Academy of Hairdressing. I remember me and you going to the Cavern most lunch hours to see the bands play. We also frequented the pub next door although i cant remember what it was called. Anyway, some great memories of those days, Especially seeing the Beatles before they were famous. Who would of thought things would have turned out for you the way they have. "Fantastic". I still live in Chester,so if you are ever likely to come this way, maybe we could have a pint and a chat. Regards Tony Koziol.
Joyce Baron Kerr - Mold, North Wales
Have seen Blood Brothers three times and never tire of it, because to me it oozes the atmosphere of the best city in the world. I was born in 1947 on the Wirral and yes i am a wannabe scouser. I saw you on the t.v. last night re: the cavern. I was there too. What an honour to have been part of that wonderful time. I was the one at Liverpool airport with a banner saying welcome home our Beatles. A tear or two was shed and my heart was full remembering. Thank you.
Judy Maughan - Australia
Read Wrong Boy 4 times over a period of 3 years & was lucky to purchase a copy & have lent it to members of my family who have all enjoyed your book --also own dvd Shirley Valentine & am looking for Educating Rita dvd at the moment-- A question for you -- what do you call the use of a string of words with the same letter??? i find that fascinating-- thanking you for the great experience of reading your work -- best wishes.
Oonagh Comerford - Co. Kerry, Ireland
I was wondering is it possible to buy or borrow a copy of the film of Terraces - I have just read it with my English class and they loved it! I would like to show them the film too, regards, Oonagh, English Teacher.
Victoria Mills - Berkshire
Our Day Out... I was fortunate enough to be in our schools production of Our Day Out, must of been about 20 years ago. I remember all the lines like we just performed last night. Whilst I'm on here, please release Dancing thru the dark on DVD. Pure Genius.
John Gannon - Liverpool
Hi Willy - a simple question: When you wrote 'The Boy with the Transistor Radio' (1980), did you envisage the rise of the 'walkman'? This is a consumate play - did nothing ever come of this above the airing on School's TV ouput?
Holly Long - England
I'm reading educating rita in class and its really really good, and i've got a homework to find out information on him, and its been really interesting. I'd like to say thanks Mr Russell for opening my eyes. Youve inspired me in many ways cheers :D.
Sheryl Zettner - Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
I haven't had as much exposure to Willy Russell as I would like here in the U.S.A. "Educating Rita" is my favorite film ever, and "Shirley Valentine" is not far down my list. Just recently found a copy of Blood Brothers at our library bookstore. Haven't finished it, but it's pretty cute, although I like the others more. I wish someone would make more movies from his plays. They may be popular to perform in the U.K., but movies are more universal. Plus, I can buy a DVD of a movie I love and watch it a million times. I just saw a thread online where people were discussing whether his plays were outdated and too '80s. What a bunch of pretentious nonsense. Educating Rita was about how education is abused for class issues, which is always current. And the idea that Shirley Valentine could be outdated??? Someone is always having a mid-life crisis. Maybe not the same people, but yes, it's still current. For that matter, I think the whole educating and class theme is very much 19th century. Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, William Gilbert, etc, etc, but the themes are still important. Anyway, thanks for the website.
Ashleigh Gibbons - Newport, Wales
Hi, I'm studying blood brothers for performing arts and I am looking at going for the role of Linda... however, my teacher has asked us to look at the text in detail. So I was wondering, did Edward and Linda actually have a full affair or was it just a kiss? I am a big fan of your work. Yours sincerly Ashleigh and friends. x
Jenni Spice - Emsworth, Hampshire
Having just appeared as Mrs Johnstone in BB the play at my local amdram society, I am now producing 'Our Day Out' for our youth group in July 2011 . We are very lucky to have our own community theatre and would love you to come and see one of the kids performances if you can. We are based on Hayling Island and can promise you a wonderful evening!
Harriet Mayne - York
Hi Willy. We have studied the book Blood Brothers at school and I for one love it! We are going to see Blood Brothers at York in May! We also had to get into groups and perform a scene from the book I played Mrs Jhonstone and the Narrator. My teacher says I played the Narrator really well!!!
Katie Charalambous - Grimsby
I am a school student, writing about you for a class presentation. We are going to study one of your books, not too sure which one yet, but we have already studied your play 'blood brothers'.
Ashley Cardwell - Anglesey
I went to see Blood Brothers with school in Liverpool's Empire. OMG it was amazing!!.
Garry Burnett - Hull
Please come to our folk club Willy, Bayfolk in Robin Hood's Bay. You would be very welcome. Hoovering the Moon is class.
Keith Jones - Isle of Man
Caught up with the site after a little while, glad to see that Steve Williams is still in contact and his posting brought back memories of trips to the vicarage, all I did was helped with the posters and the scenery but also remeber sunday nights at the Top Lock with Steam Collection and keeping Willy company to gigs in the old Ford Anglia. I guess my only claim to fame was witnessing the signing of your first BBC contract. Glad things worked out OK with that!!
Sharon Kelly - mainly PRC (China)
Have recently watched Educating Rita again I wondered how Willy managed to capture my life so perfectly. Having read the mini-biography on your website, I now know. I feel my life has gone from a child in 'Our Day Out' to the student in 'Educating Rita' ending as 'Shirley Valentine' although China was my final haven. Thank you Willy for portraying women so beautifully, their hopes, dreams, despair and the resolution thereof.
Colm Murphy - Newry
Dear Mr Russell, is there any possibility the rights to perform Blood Brothers (the musical) will ever be released. I am head of music in a large second level school in Northern Ireland and we would love to put on a production with our students in 2012. Is there any possibility?
Lorraine Whiting - Romford
I like website and show, what great writer!
Elizabeth Croll - Staffordshire
Although I now live in Staffordshire I was born and raised in Liverpool.I am a great fan of Willy Russells work my favourites being Shirley Valentine and Educating Rita - pure genius ! I visited Liverpool last weekend to see my mum , now 84! and my son who studies music at Lippa.We went to see Our Day Out at the Royal Court (very last minute ) I had never been aware of this work. I just wanted to make contact just to say what a fab night we all had, it was just fantastic , so funny, the cast were fab, it should be on the West End it is seriously good ! I havent been to the Royal Court for many years and although its a little tired and worn it is still very special, it has a great atmosphere and the staff were great!
Jo Lovejoy - Co Durham
Hello Willy, I would just like to say a big thank you. I have enjoyed many of your works over the years and I had the honour of portraying Betty last year when we performed scenes from Breezeblock Park on my performing arts course...with much laughter and success. We are about to embark on our Blood Brothers journey where I'm sure there will be many tears shed and emotions shared. What I love about your characters and situations are that they are so real, we can all relate in one way or another to them and that has a bearing I'm sure on their appeal.
Avis Davies - Chester
Just been to see Our Day out (4th time - twice last year and twice this time around!) Brilliant. Good to catch a word with 'The Man' himself - made my night. Hope this does make the West End it deserves it - particularly with a cast of scousers...
Zoe West - Cornwall
Willy Russell Blood Brothers is truly amazing!! i'm studying it for english and we listen to the songs it's pure brilliancy, Really can't wait too see it. Your so talented..
Clive Gardener - Limehouse, London
Dear Willy Russell, I have come across your page for the BBC 'Play of the Week': 'Our Day Out'. I am most surprised to read that the film has not yet been released - presumably on DVD. There appears to be a misprint in the transmission date, because I worked on the film (uncredited) as 2nd Assistant Film Editor for around three weeks between 23/5/77 and c.10/6/77 as my first job in the film editing department at BBC Pebble Mill. Susan Elliott, who had shockingly-dyed hair for the BBC in the 1970s (I seem to recall, perhaps unfairly now?!) was scheduled to take over my place by the film unit manager - just before the work on the sound track began. From the BBC beta programme catalogue which has long since evaporated from the internet, I managed to obtain the film's first transmission date: 28/12/1977. It was great fun to work on the production and although I was sad not to see the track-laying process, I do recall having some great conversations with the director Pedr James in the canteen at break times. It was also quite enlightening and entertaining to see the final stages of the picture edit and comedy timings being completed. Best regards.
Adam Bestwick - Heswall, Wirral
Having watched the show 'Our Day Out' at the Royal Court Liverpool in September and been part of the stall section who rose to their feet in standing ovation, we were compelled to return with some other friends to enjoy the show again. I have recommended this play to anyone who'd listen to me, and it was just as good second time around! The energy, songs, dancing and enthusiasm pull you in from the opening scene, and the set design is simply awesome. A cubular construction that constantly evolves with sections that slide, rotate and fold as the scenery changes with a little help from your imagination. I've read some comments about people not understanding the scouse dialogue during the songs. As a brummie, I had no problems with the accents at all.
The character who plays Amy Chandler has a great voice and played a smashing pivotal role, but it would be unfair to single out just one individual - such was the dynamism of the young cast - amazing! Surely this show must be going to the West End now?.
Trish O'reilly - Liverpool
Have loved Willy Russells work for years ,I am a dance teacher in Liverpool. Have been to see Blood Brothers in London at Easter And Our Day Out twice at the playhouse recently. Could I find out if Willy is releasing backing tracks for the music to Our Day Out and if so would schools or amateur productions be able to use any of their songs. They are so memorable you go out the theatre singing the songs. thank you ..
Lesley Maenami - Middlesbrough
Please, please please could you let me know where I could get a copy of the "I hate the Arts" piece used on the South Bank Show many moons ago. As a Drama teacher, I would love to use it as an introduction to a selection of scripted scenes for GCSE.
Hello Lesley. Thank you for contacting WillyRussell.com. We hope to have progress soon on adding The South Bank Show to the website and with the 'I Hate The Arts' poem. Stay tuned. WebWeaver
John Gannon - Liverpool
Hi Willy. My wife and I went to see “Our Day Out” at the Royal Court recently and were both knocked out by its augmentation! We went to see the last ‘outing’ with Drew Schofield and Michael Starke (also at the Royal Court), which was superb but I have to say, all concerned have really boosted the whole experience! The set is ingenious; not only contributing toward diverting the audience’s attention away from the theatrical setting, but also focusing the attention solidly in the performance, truly enhancing our journey with Mrs Kay and her Progress Class. We found the cast’s use of the whole of the set - especially the moveable sub-sets - particularly inspired, adding extra dimensions to the limiting size of the stage and giving the whole experience a movie feel with long-shots, medium-shots and, with the use of the moveable subsets, close-ups. Crowning this was the consummate scripting, the wonderful songs and all-out performances given by the cast!
Nicholas Earnshaw - Stafford
Hello, I just want to say "thank you" Willy Russell. Growing up I always went to see "Blood Brothers" when it was on tour and came to Wolverhampton and it made me want to be an actor. The show meant a lot to me. Now I am an actor and have recently finished playing Dennis in "One for the Road" at Sheringham Summer Rep. What a great play and role! I hope it gets a similar revival in the West End like Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine have. The audiences loved the play, so a double thank you in creating characters that are so real, witty yet poignant.
Lesley Newth-West - Amersham, Bucks
I have just come back from seeing 'Blood Brothers with my 16 year old daughter at the Wycombe Swan Theatre. I have watched Willy Russells plays and films over the years, mainly on tv as too many trips to the theatre haven't been possible. Both my children have studied his plays at school. I work in the field of adoption so was interested in the themes from a professional standpoint. I wanted to say what a powerful experience it was watching the musical. It cleverly looked at all the different standpoints and feelings alongside making comments on the role society plays. It was superb to share this with my daughter whose passion is drama and music. I don't usually write posts but wanted to give my comments and thanks.
Katrin Boeker - Hamburg, Germany
I would actually prefer to send a personal email but this is better than nothing- "Wrong Boy" just touched me so deeply that I have to thank you, Willy Russell, for this deeply true story about feelings and withdrawing, misunderstanding and love. You spoke out of my heart and mind and I wished that everyone on this planet would read this and would be touched by it as I was and still am. This could be an enormous awakening. Thank you for sharing. K.
Paul Wilkinson (Snowy) - Wales
Steve Williams has posted some fine photos of Blind Scouse at the Edinburgh Festival, and an image of the branding he devised for us.
He may be interested to know that I still have a framed copy of one of his original screenprinted publicity posters for the Blind Scouse trilogy, bearing a few wine and beer stains, a sort of battle-scarred patina which forensic analysis would probably source as draught Thirty Shillin'. Wierdly, I now run a screenprint and display business.
I clearly remember the Princes Street Gardens publicity stunt.
He was called John, and may have been the best actor in the whole troupe. He may have been a bit of an undiagnosed dyslexic, and I can still remember his answer when I asked him if he was Little John, then where was Friar Tuck? Answers on a postcard, please.....
Rob Smith - Leeds
My comments are simple. I recently rediscovered 'Shirley Valentine' on DVD, I know its been around a while. The story has had a profound effect upon me at my stage in life, the monologues are so emotionally loaded and have awoken a deep crisis within myself. Shirley's predicament reflects exaclty how I feel right now, her words (and others) are so prophetic and for me deeply and emotionally felt. 'Dreams are never found in the place you expect them to be' says Costas to Shirley. As a man I love this movie, I love the characters, sadly Anna Keaveney is no longer with us. Its themes do not just apply to middle aged women. I just wish the DVD edition could be digitally remastered and have the americanisation dubbings removed. This is a vastly underestimated movie but it has become my dessert island disc, and I love it. thats all I want to say really.
David Mitchell - Leicester
I am the teacher in charge of Citizenship at a High School (11-14) in Leicester. I have been trying to get a video/DVD copy of "Terraces" for the work we are doing on peer pressure. It would be ideal. How can I purchase a copy.
Kath Petersen - London
I found this website during my search for an audio book read by willy russell in the 80s- 'the house at pooh corner'. i'm really sad to find out that it's no longer available. i just thought i'd write and say that russell does the best rendition of 'the more i snows tiddly pom' i've ever heard. thanks willy for hours of childhood fun!
Eve Morse - Swansea
I saw Dancin' thru the dark about 20 years ago and I have always wanted to see it again. I note from W.R's newsletter dated Dec 2009 that he thought it may be released soon. Does anyone know where I can get a copy from and when. I would love to watch it now - it's a fantastic mixture of humour and romance and the actors were brilliant and I enjoyed the music. Thanks for any help!
Stuart Nisbet - Glasgow
Hello, I just wanted to stop off quickly to say a few things, I'll try not to ramble! First of all, when I was doing GCSE English this year, I came upon Educating Rita. This wonderful, wonderful play has had such an impact on my life, and my viewpoint/mindset. It made me want to research more about Willy Russell, and again, such a wonderful, inspiring story in your life. I haven't had a chance to see/read any of your other plays, but I will definitely look into doing so. Thank you so much for your wonderful contribution to theatre and literature in general.
Noel Valerio - Argentina
I did'nt use to like reading plays but Shirley and Rita have totally changed my likes; I had to read them for university otherwise I would'n have read them. They are really marvellous, the way they approach the reader and their vocabulary!!!They are perfect. Many thanks Willy.
Pat McDermott - Stalybridge
This is a chance in a million but just had to have a go. I have a story to tell, the only person on this earth who could tell it and help so many young people outhere is Willy Russell. Never been lucky so I'm not holding my breath Willy but would love to hear from you.
Hello Pat. Thank you for contacting WillyRussell.com. Once again though, I need to direct you to Willy's newsletter(s) (HERE) which might offer some guidance on getting your story told. Good luck. WebWeaver
Christine Norbet - London
I really enjoyed reading the wrong boy and the play blood brothers. I want to get into writing plays and books and wanted advice on the best way to start. Do you take on trainee writers or will you be my mentor? Thank you
Hello Christine. Thank you for contacting WillyRussell.com. Can I suggest that you read Willy's Newsletter from December 2009 which is here. Good luck with your writing ambitions. WebWeaver
Becky House - Pontefract
Hey Willy Russell, We're doing about Educating Rita in English because we're just that cool :) My friend thinks you look like Dumbledore :)
Kate King - Wolverhampton
I absolutely loved the wrong boy. It is the best book I think I have ever read. It made me laugh and cry in equal measure and as soon as I had finished readin it on the train I went home and gave my son a big hug. Brilliant. I have also been to see Blood brothers and loved it. All the characters are so realistic.
Debbie Wilson - Petersfield
I attended Speke Comprehensive in the 70s, and was Girl 1 in the BBC TV adaptation of Our Day Out. However, I know that Willy Russell has said that a documentary on the 'making of Our Day Out' would have been interesting, (which I would agree with). However, has anybody ever considered a 'whatever happened to the kids of Our Day Out' follow up? and whether the young people who were involved in the film, upon reflection, feel that the experience had any impact on their lives? ie, did knowing something else make them aspire to something else?
I am a Social Work Teacher.
Mark Smith - Chesterfield
The first time i saw Blood Brothers was in Sheffield, it played for three weeks and i saw it every Saturday of that three week run. I forget how long ago that was, but it was a good few years ago. I have seen it every time it has come to Sheffield since, and i'll probably go to see it every time it comes in the future. What's more, it still brings that lump to my throat after all these years, powerful stuff. Absolutely brilliant! So, here's the thing. Every day i check the news section of the web site and every day i'm disappointed because what i'm looking for isn't there. That one piece of news. The one that says the Blood Brothers movie is on it's way... So that's it really, i was just wondering, how are things going on the movie front?
Thanks for contacting WillyRussell.com. Blood Brothers does tend to have that effect on people, even those who don't normally enjoy 'Musicals'. However the latest news we have on BB - the film, can be read on Willy's regular newsletters. You can read his latest newsletter here.
Jono Cull & Emma Essam - Rugby
Hi we (jono+emma) went to see blood brothers yesterday 15/5/10 at the wolverhampton grand theater. My mum and dad have not stopped going on about it ever since they went to see it a cpl of years ago, so we eventually bought the tickets and now I know why they talk about it so much. It has to be the best musical in the world it was so funny and sad and the actors/actresses are so good it just felt as if we were watching the events happen in front of are eyes, at no point did I feel as if I was watching a play it was brilliant. I recommend this to everybody.
Jerry Price - Tallahassee, Florida US
I saw One For The Road in London in 1987 and have never enjoyed a play more, nor have I ever laughed harder. To this day I cannot look at a garden gnome without thinking of this play. Besides the humor, I found it to be a very telling portrayal of that insidious, smothering, suburban ennui in which I had found myself in the 1980s, just prior to my first divorce. I would love to see this play again. Thank you for writing it.
Jayne Sharpe - Nottinghamshire
Hi, I would like to say how fantastic Blood Brothers is. Having seen Blood Brothers numerous times (being my favourite musical) the story still makes me laugh and cry. I have to say how absolutely sensational Melanie C is portraying Mrs J. Undoubtedly the best Mrs J I have ever seen.
Francesca Gould - Bristol
I watched Shirley Valentine when I was 22 and loved it, it still means so much to me. I am nearly 42 (as she mentions in the film) and still think it is a fantastic piece of work. You're a genius!
Moira Mai - Wales
Hi there..If you read these personaly,get in touch..you never did sign my copy of Hoovering The Moon..Remember Ty Newydd???Ive often wondered what you wrote about whilst you were there.....I forget the name of who you were with now but you were both brilliant company...
Garry Burnett - East Yorkshire
Have you any plans for more live readings or gigs ? If so can we book you for Bayfolk at Robin Hood's Bay ?
Faith Fulcher - Basildon
Dear Willy, I am the secretary of the Bring The Royal Iris Back Home Facebook group and am writing to ask for your support in our quest to bring the Grand old Lady of the Mersey back home. She is in a dire state in London and we are hoping that we can purchase her from her current owner and restore her to the glorious vessel that she once was.
Gary Cash - Birkenhead
Watched the tv adaptation of "Our day out" when i was at school (i'm 46 now)and it was 2 days before our school history trip to chester we all went into a gift shop and no one bought anything but we all came home with pockets full of souvenires (no animals tho)...hope to see it again one day happy days.....keep em comin Will.
Kerry King - Manningtree Essex
Hi. I am directing Blood Brothers and as this great play is about people,relationships, class, love and moral dilemma I wondered if Willy Russell would object to it being set in a Northern part of the country or London? Does it really matter if it is not in Liverpool as the strength of this production lies in the emotion and sense of loss. I would love to know his thoughts. Many thanks.
I went to see blood brothers recently for my Drama and am now studying Educating Rita for English lit i love your works!
Grace Newton - Folkestone, Kent
I'd just like to thank whoever thought it would be a good idea to create this website. I am currently studying a Performing Arts degree and i can say without this website, i would have been screwed!!! Willy Russell RULES!!!
Sophie Denman - Manchester
Over the weekend I went down to London to watch Blood Brothers for the second time, (with Melanie C playing Mrs Johnston). I enjoyed it very much, but I seem to remember that the first time I watched it (a number of years ago) that the music was very different. I just wondered if you had re-written the score? Thanks.
SÅ‚awomir Ostrowski - Cracov in Poland
Today I go see the show Shirley Valentine. I know it will be a great evening thanks.
Shelfield Community Academy
Dear Mr. Willy Russell, We are writing to you to tell you that we think Educating Rita is a fantastic play. However we are intrigued to know how you see the future for Frank and Rita. If you were to add another act, what would happen next to Frank and Rita. We have had numerous discussions about this and we would be keen to hear your thoughts.
With Respect, Sally, Chloe, Joanne and Emily
Nicola Golightly - Cheltenham
Hello, I am putting on a production of Our Day Out with my Youth Theatre. I am trying to get hold of a CD with the original songs but am so far unsuccessful. I wondered if you could tell me where I might be able to get hold of one?
Steve Williams - Liverpool
I have just gone through the guestbook as I remember Alan Stevens brilliant recall of our fringe days. I have just found some photographs of the advertising stunt in the park. I have sent them to Willy and I am sure he will make them available along with the other photos of the Edinburgh Festival all those years ago. It was great to read the comments from the others members of the gang. Fond memories of a wonderful time. Photo here...
Margaret Osborne - Hinckley Leics
I was thinking of how much I admire Willy Russell's work this morning and had an old cassette tape playing when there he suddenly was - on Desert Island Discs. The weirdest thing was his luxury was a meadow with an oak tree in the middle - MY DID luxury has always been an English woodland with all the seasons. Great minds and all that! I nearly met him once, after seeing BB in London, he was on the steps outside but I didn't know until later. Drat! Would have gone and said thankyou so I'll say it now - thankyou Willy, for all of it! That was the 2nd time I'd seen BB and was keeping the tears at bay until my sister let out the most enORmous sob at the end! Seen it 5 and a half times now - still gets to me.
Natasha Jade Grant - London & Winchester
I first got in to Willy's work when I borrowed (yes, honestly) a copy of 'Our Day Out and Other Plays' from my boarding school English cupboard aged 13. I took it home at the weekend and was amazed- this was nothing like the kind of thing we normally read. I was hooked. I was given a copy of 'Shirley Valentine' a year or so later, burnt on to a cassette by a friend. I listened to it so often, I wore out the tape ribbon and can still quote chunks from memory. Sad, eh? Now, I am a writer of children's and young adult fiction. If I can be half as good as Willy, I'll be ecstatic.
Bronwyn Preece - British Columbia, Canada
Dear Willy, I have had the hysterical pleasure to read and re-read 'One for the Road', as for a university directing project, I have decided to mount the 'Tupperman Man' scene. I have never laughed out loud so much while simply reading a play! I so loved ready of the saga of the play's title....and came to realize that in the spirit of the play, it is now likely due for another name change -- why not? -- in the spirit of Dennis Cain and the play's legacy....I propose that the play now be re-named in 2010: 'CASTLEHILLS RUCKSACK' -- (and then several years down the line, it could be change again.....or maybe every subsequent 40 year milestone!) -- Very much fondly.
Debbie - Lancaster
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE release Dancing Through The Dark on DVD!! I can't believe it's not available :( One of my favourite films of all time!