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Northumbria University Public Lecture Series (In Partnership with New Writing North): Michael Chaplin

Northumbria University


Michael Chaplin, writer for theatre, radio and television and author of books on Newcastle upon Tyne 

Title: HAME: A Voyage Around My Father

Business and Law Building, City Campus East, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne 

Refreshments will be available from 6.00pm,


In the summer of 2016 the playwright Michael Chaplin created a deeply personal book. He set out to re-discover the old pit villages of South West Durham - and in so doing explore and reveal the early, quietly remarkable life and times of his father.

Born in 1916, Sid Chaplin became a much-loved and critically-acclaimed chronicler of the working class culture of the North-East. Best-known for his Newcastle novels The Day of the Sardine and The Watchers and the Watched and his part in creating two iconic portrayals of the region’s social history - the play Close The Coalhouse Door and the TV series When The Boat Comes In - Chaplin also wrote a weekly column for The Guardian and helped to found Northern Arts. Living in Newcastle for 30 years before his death in 1986, Sid Chaplin was in short a celebrated man of letters.

His breakthrough, however, came in the 1940s, when as a young colliery blacksmith and tyro writer he forced himself onto the wartime literary scene with the short stories, essays and poems which Michael has reassembled in his new book, Hame - My Durham.

In his talk Michael will describe his father’s beginnings, the wellsprings of his work and career and the world of the pit village he fixed forever. 

About the Speaker

Michael Chaplin is a writer for theatre, radio and television who has also written two books about Newcastle upon Tyne.

After a first career as a newspaper reporter, current affairs and documentary producer and editor, culminating as a senior executive in ITV and the BBC, he began to write in the late 80’s and became a full-time writer in the mid-90’s. In television he has created a number of original series, including Grafters for ITV and Monarch of the Glen for the BBC, as well as number of serials and single films, including adaptations of the work of Reginald Hill, Michelle Magorian and PD James. He has written some 35 plays for Radio 4, including the critically-acclaimed series The Ferryhill Philosophers, the First World War drama Tommies and the much loved series Two Pipe Problems for the late Richard Briers and Stanley Baxter. Over the last 25 years he has forged a long and fruitful relationship with Live Theatre in Newcastle, creating nine full-length plays and half a dozen shorter pieces, including A Walk On Part, an acclaimed adaptation of the political diaries of Chris Mullin, which in 2011-2 enjoyed five sell-out runs in Newcastle and London.

In the last few years he has written two books about Newcastle icons: Come and See, a quirky history of the Tyneside Cinema (where as a teenager Chaplin received his cinematic education), and Tyne View – A Walk Around The Port of Tyne, a richly illustrated exploration of the history, culture and soul of the river that made Tyneside, later adapted into the hugely popular play Tyne for Live Theatre, later revived at the Customs House, South Shields and Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Both grew out of his work as writer-in-residence for the Port of Tyne. He is also a Visiting Professor at Newcastle University

Michael Chaplin is currently working on two new series for BBC Radio 4 and two new stage plays for Live Theatre. 

This lecture is organised in partnership with New Writing North

To book a space, please complete the form below, for queries email

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Event Details

Northumbria University
City Campus East
Business and Law Building
Newcastle upon Tyne


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