Roy Minton

An occasional writer for The Wednesday Play and Play for Today, Roy Minton's first contribution was Sling Your Hook (1969), ostensibly a comedy about a group of Nottingham miners on holiday in Blackpool, but actually an allegory for the decline of the coal industry. The next year saw The Hunting of Lionel Crane, with Robert Powell and Michael Robbins, and Ben for Thirty-Minute Theatre. After Go For Gold (1973), 1975's Funny Farm was set in a mental hospital, but it was a play based in another kind of state institution that would gain Minton lifelong notoriety. In Scum, tough young thug Carlin (Raymond Winston) is transferred to a stricter borstal after defending himself from a beating by two warders. Content to do his time quietly, his hand is forced by the toughest inmates, his only option being to be more vicious and take over effective control. The play's portrayal of the prison authorities' pragmatic acceptance of this power structure, along with the de rigueur racism and violence of both sides, and a shocking male-rape scene, led to the BBC banning the play. Minton subsequently novelised the story, which was remade as a feature film in 1979 by the same director, Alan Clarke, after whose death the original was finally screened  on BB2 in 1991. A gentler effort was the six-part Horace for Yorkshire Television in 1982, developed from a single BBC play about a mentally handicapped youth.

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[Biography as submitted for inclusion in The Guinness Book of Classic British TV (1996, 2nd edition), with minor corrections]

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