The Ruffian On The Stair
Joe Orton's first radio play, starring Kenneth Cranham
- Comedy Drama
- BBC Third Programme
- Kenneth Cranham, Avis Bunnage and Dermot Kelly
- Kenneth Halliwell and Joe Orton
- John Tydeman
"Madam Life's a piece in bloom
Death goes dogging everywhere:
She's the tenant of the room,
He's the ruffian on the stair."
- W.E. Henley
The Ruffian On The Stair comes from the beginning of playwright Orton's brief but acclaimed career.
The black comedy concerns a poor couple Mike (a thuggish ex-boxer from Donegal) and Joyce (a former prostitute) whose lives are turned upside-down by the arrival of Wilson, an attractive young man with a complicated recent history.
The play is directed by acclaimed BBC drama producer John Tydeman. Orton, newly released from prison, presented him with the manuscript to The Boy Hairdresser, a novel by Orton and his partner and eventual murderer, Kenneth Halliwell, which metamorphosed into The Ruffian On The Stair. Under Tydeman's guidance, Orton's subsequent work - Entertaining Mr Sloane - was staged in the West End and the writer's career took off.
- Production company
- First broadcast
- Monday 31st August 1964 on BBC Third Programme at 8pm
- Episode length
- 1 hour
- Last repeat
- Tuesday 2nd September 2014 at 3:00am on Radio 4 Extra