- Short Stories
  - Shades of Difference
  - The Tunnel
  SHORT STORIES - Introduction

Shades of Difference was the very first work I ever had published. It was broadcast by the BBC, which seemed to me to be even more exciting than being published in a magazine, and it was read by an actress called Sian Davies. The Morning Story slot is now on Radio 4, but then it was on the Light Programme (now Radio 2), and the BBC held a competition for writers under thirty under a number of different sections. I won the ‘Romance’ section with ‘Shades of Difference’, but as you’ll see if you read it, it was very far from Barbara Cartland’s idea of romance!
I had written it when I was about sixteen or seventeen, and I don’t remember if I sent it off anywhere then; I suspect it just sat in a drawer somewhere. So when the competition was advertised in the Radio Times, I dug it out and sent it in. It’s a bit rough round the edges, as you would expect.
I wrote The Tunnel when I was about twenty-five or so, and I think my style had improved a bit – it’s a very British story, however, so I’m not sure my American visitors will necessarily get the point, but you never know.
And both were very much of their time, so I think some explanatory notes are in order.

Shades of Difference
In mid-sixties Britain, people couldn’t get married without their parents’ consent until they were twenty-one. And, of course, race issues dominated the news – mostly what was happening in America, but here as well, to some extent, though Britain wasn’t as multi-cultural as it has since become. Certainly the topic was hotly discussed here, though we probably had fewer race-related incidents than we’ve unfortunately had since then. I set it in Cardiff because I knew that the Tiger Bay area had a large, integrated black community, and that suited the story; it was important that there should be virtually no cultural differences.
Click here to read it.

The Tunnel
In 1973, when this story was published, Colditz, one of the most popular drama series the BBC has ever produced, was running. And because of its popularity, there were documentaries on television and books in the shops about the escape attempts of the men who really were imprisoned at Colditz (the prisoner-of-war camp that the Germans were certain was escape-proof), about the tunnelling out, and how the men above ground would play noisy games so that the guards wouldn’t hear the digging. I think that sets the scene!
Click here to read it.
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