Jonathan Harvey (playwright)
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|Born||Jonathan Paul Harvey
13 June 1968
Liverpool, England, UK
Life and works
Harvey was born in Liverpool in 1968. He has a brother, Timothy Harvey who is a music teacher in Chester. A former secondary school English teacher, his first serious attempt as a playwright was in 1987. Fuelled by the attraction of a £1,000 first prize to young writers from the Liverpool Playhouse, the result was The Cherry Blossom Tree, a garish blend of suicide, murder and nuns. This effort won him the National Girobank Young Writer of the Year Award.
Feeling very encouraged, he went on to write Mohair (1988), Wildfire (1992) and Babies (1993), the latter winning him the 'George Devine Award' for that year and The Evening Standard's 'Most Promising Playwright Award' for 1994. In 1993, Harvey, premiered Beautiful Thing, a gay-themed play-turned-movie for which he won the prestigious 'John Whiting Award' the following year.
1995 saw the premiere of Boom Bang-a-Bang, at the Bush Theatre, London, originally directed by Kathy Burke. Harvey cites it as "my most comic play ever, but with some dark bits". Centred on a group of friends gathering to watch the Eurovision Song Contest, the play was a sell-out. That same year, he also premiered Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club. Guiding Star (1998), is a portrayal of one man's struggle to come to terms with the Hillsborough FA Cup Semi-Final disaster, while Hushabye Mountain (1999) deals with a world that has learned to live with HIV/AIDS. Television and film works include: West End Girls (Carlton); Love Junkie (BBC); Beautiful Thing (Channel Four/Island World Productions); the 1999-2001 hit/cult comedy series starring Kathy Burke and James Dreyfus, Gimme Gimme Gimme (Tiger Aspect); Murder Most Horrid (BBC); and Coronation Street (ITV).
He also wrote the book for Closer to Heaven, a stage musical with songs and music written by Pet Shop Boys. Closer to Heaven ran for nine months at the Arts Theatre in London during 2001 and in Australia in 2005. In 2003 Harvey heard the singer-actress Abi Roberts perform and was so enchanted he offered to write a solo show especially for her. Taking Charlie was the outcome, staged at the 2004 Edinburgh Festival with Roberts starring, under the direction of Susan Tully. The piece was darkly comic and focused on the destructive nature of an insecure, 30-year-old addict.
Since 2013, Harvey has co-written the BBC Radio Four sitcom series What Does the K Stand For? based on the experiences of comedian Stephen K. Amos growing up as a teenager in south London in the 1980s. The programme's third series commenced in January 2017.
- 2012: Panto!
- 2010: Canary (2010) (Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool/Hampstead Theatre, London)
- 2004: Taking Charlie (2004)
- 2001: Out in the Open (2001)
- 1999: Hushabye Mountain (1999)
- 1998: Guiding Star (1998)
- 1995: Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club (1995)
- 1995: Boom Bang-A-Bang (Bush Theatre, 1995); Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club (English Touring Theatre/Contact Theatre Company, Donmar Warehouse/Criterion Theatre, London, 1995).
- 1994: Babies (Royal National Theatre Studio/Royal Court Theatre, 1994), winner George Devine Award 1993 and Evening Standard's Most Promising Playwright Award 1994.
- 1993: Beautiful Thing (Bush Theatre, London, 1993 and Donmar Warehouse, London/Duke of York's Theatre, London, 1994), winner of the John Whiting Award 1994.
- 1992: Wildfire (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 1992).
- 1988: Mohair (Royal Court Young Writers Festival, London/International Festival of Young Playwrights, Sydney, 1988).
- 1987: The Cherry Blossom Tree (Liverpool Playhouse Studio, 1987) which won him the 1987 National Girobank Young Writer of the Year Award.
Television and film
- 2016: Tracey Ullman's Show (BBC) (2016 – present)
- 2009: Octavia (ITV)
- 2008: Beautiful People (BBC) (2008–2009)
- 2004: Big Brother Panto (Channel 4) (2004-2005)
- 2004: Coronation Street (ITV) (2004 – present)
- 1999: Murder Most Horrid (BBC)
- 1999: Gimme Gimme Gimme (BBC) (1999-2001)
- 1996: Beautiful Thing (Channel Four/Island World Productions)
- 1993: West End Girls (Carlton)
- 1992: Love Junkie (BBC)
- 2012: All She Wants, Pan Books, ISBN 978-0-3305-4427-6
- 2013: The Confusion of Karen Carpenter, Pan Books, ISBN 978-0-3305-4439-9
- 2014: The Girl Who Just Appeared, Pan Books, ISBN 978-1-4472-3846-1
- 2015: The Secrets We Keep, Pan Books, ISBN 978-1-4472-3847-8
- 2016: The History of Us, Pan Books, ISBN 978-1-4472-9820-5
- Jonathan Harvey biography, Debretts.com; retrieved 27 November 2011.
- "Gay Power: The pink list". The Independent. London, UK. 2 July 2006. Archived from the original on 7 January 2008. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Williams, Charlotte (24 January 2011). "Pan Mac acquires debut from "Corrie" writer". The Bookseller.
- "What Does the K Stand For?". BBC Online. BBC. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- Writers: Jonathan Harvey, Stephen K. Amos; Producer: Colin Anderson (27 November 2013). "Turning Cheeks". What Does the K Stand For?. BBC. BBC Radio Four. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- Writers: Jonathan Harvey, Stephen K. Amos; Producer: Paul Sheehan (25 January 2017). "Working for a Living". What Does the K Stand For?. BBC. BBC Radio Four. Retrieved 1 February 2017.