I grew up Roman Catholic and attended St Austin's Primary and St Thomas à Becket secondary before taking A Levels in English Literature, History and Ancient History and General Studies at QEGS (Wakefield's Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.)
- on a mobile van delivering bread and cakes round Wakefield and Leeds
- in a Wakefield jeans factory
- in a Wakefield pub behind the bar
- in a London bookshop
- on a Kent hop farm
- but for over 31 years mainly as a teacher
Vying for Shakespeare’s and Ibsen's places in my affections are the playwrights Marlowe, Jonson, Ibsen, Shaffer, Caryl Churchill and Timberlake Wertenbaker; poets Chaucer, Donne, Blake, GM Hopkins, Simon Armitage, Gillian Clarke and Carol Ann Duffy; novelists Dickens, the Brontë sisters, E M Forster, Anne Tyler, Dave Duncan, T H White, Anne McCaffrey and Colm Tóibín. I admire the ambition of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, often read dystopian novels and love the BBC's adaptations of classic books, my favourite so far being their 2005 serialisation of Dickens's Bleak House. I feel unfeasibly loyal towards the founding principles of the BBC and wish it would concentrate on those rather than having to be distracted by commercial considerations.
I am a regular audience member (and summer school delegate) of the Royal Shakespeare Company and am always happy sitting in a seat at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre or the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. Apart from Shakespeare, theatre, cinema, TV and reading, my other loves are spending time with family and friends, walking in countryside, food and drink, and enjoying an eclectic mix of music.