I’m an author, journalist, playwright and contemporary historian. My latest book is 1956 – The Year That Changed Britain – published by Biteback in October 2015 and jointly written with Tony Russell.
The book says that exactly fifty years ago, in 1956, events changed forever the way the British saw themselves and the rest of the world. Each of these events killed one of the comfortable assumptions upon which British people, of all classes and opinions, had lived for three decades, since the first world war.
It was the year of the Suez crisis; of Khruschev’s denunciation of Stalin; of the Soviet invasion of Hungary; of John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger; of Britain’s first home grown rock ‘n’ roll.
1956 was the hinge of the twentieth century, the year when the old Britain died and the new one was born.
Michael Rosen calls it “a wonderfully evocative and thoughtful account of a year that saw the ends and beginnings that explain why and how we got to today.”
Neil Kinnock writes: “Beckett and Russell have done a wonderful job of creating 1956, the year that shaped the rest of the century… An important and absorbing living history book.”
This year I have also published an updated and rewritten version of my best known book, Clem Attlee (Haus Publishing), and an expose of Tony Blair’s life post Downing Street, Blair Inc (John Blake Publishing).
My first play, The Sons of Catholic Gentlemen, won the annual Independent Radio Drama Productions award. My second, third and fourth plays all had runs at good fringe venues, and two of them are now available from Samuel French.