Bill & Erna Naughton, photographed by Colin O'Brien, 1962
12 June 1910|
9 January 1992 (aged 81)|
Isle of Man
|Occupation||Playwright, screenwriter, novelist|
Born into relative poverty in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, Ireland, he moved to Bolton, Lancashire, England, in 1914 as a child. There he attended Saint Peter and Paul's School, and worked as a weaver, coal-bagger and lorry-driver before he started writing.
Although best remembered for his play, Alfie, mostly because of the British film starring Michael Caine in the eponymous role, Naughton was a prolific writer of plays, novels, short stories and children's books. His preferred environment was working class society, which is reflected in much of his written work.
In addition to Alfie, at least two of his other plays have been made into feature films. These are Spring and Port Wine, which had James Mason starring in the role of Rafe Crompton, and All in Good Time, filmed as The Family Way, which starred John Mills. His novel Alfie Darling, the sequel to his earlier novel and play, was also filmed, with Alan Price succeeding Michael Caine in the lead role.
His work also includes the novel One Small Boy (1957), and the collection of short stories The Goalkeeper's Revenge: And Other Stories (1961). His 1977 children's novel My Pal Spadger is an account of his childhood in 1920s Bolton.
Many of his plays were performed at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton town centre. An 85-seat adaptable studio theatre within the Octagon is named after him.
During his lifetime, he received the following awards:
- Screenwriters Guide Award (1967 and 1968)
- Italia Prize for Radio Play (1974)
- Children's Rights Workshop Other Award (1978)
- Portico Literary Prize (1987)
- The Hon. Fellowship, Bolton Institute of Higher Education (1988).
- My Flesh, My Blood (1957)
- Alfie (1963) (adapted for 1966 film Alfie)
- All in Good Time (1963) (adapted for 1966 film The Family Way)
- He Was Gone When We Got There (1966)
- June Evening (1966)
- Spring and Port Wine (1967) (adapted for 1970 film Spring and Port Wine)
- Lighthearted Intercourse (1971)
- Keep It in the Family (1967)
- Annie And Fanny (1967)
- Derby Day (1994)
- Roof Over Your Head (1945)
- One Small Boy (1957)
- Alfie (1966)
- Alfie Darling (1970)
- My Pal Spadger (1977)
- The Goalkeeper's Revenge (1961)
- Late Night on Watling Street (1970) [new edition 2013]
- The Bees Have Stopped Working: And Other Stories (1976)
- Spit Nolan (1988)
- Ricky, Karim and Spit Nolan: Adventure Short Stories (2003) (with Jenny Alexander, Pratima Mitchell)
- "Seventeen Oranges"
- "A Real Good Smile"
- On the Pig’s Back: An Autobiographical Excursion. Oxford: Oxford U.P.(1987)
- Saintly Billy: A Catholic Boyhood. Oxford: Oxford U.P.(1988)
- Neither Use Nor Ornament: A Memoir of Bolton: 1920s. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe.(1995)
- Glenn Collins (11 January 1992). "Bill Naughton, 81, a British Playwright Who Created 'Alfie'". New York Times. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- "Bolton Museums - Bill Naughton". 27 January 2010.
- The Bill Naughton Short Story Competition, 2008, retrieved 2 June 2010
- GLENN COLLINS (11 January 1992). "Bill Naughton, 81, a British Playwright Who Created 'Alfie'". New York Times. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- A Goalkeeper's revenge and other stories, archived from the original on 13 March 2012, retrieved 27 January 2012