|WHY WILLY IS MISSING
Sue Summers - Television Editor
One name will be embarrassingly missing from the credits when Yorkshire Television's new drama series One Summer starts it's five week run on Channel 4 this Sunday - that of it's author, playwright Willy Russell.
The Liverpudlian writer of the current hits Educating Rita and Blood Brothers, has insisted on his name being removed from the screen in what is apparently a row over the casting of the series.
It seems that Russell did not approve of the choice of young actors David Morrissey and Spencer Leigh in the main roles - those of two delinquents from one of Liverpool's toughest areas, who try to recreate the only happy moment of one of their lives, a holiday in Wales.
Russell wanted 15-year-olds to play the parts, but despite auditioning more than 200 Liverpool kids, producer Keith Richardson could not find satisfactory boys of the right age and chose the two actors who are in their late teens.
Russell also objected to the casting of actor James Hazeldine in the main adult part, but his own choice for the role was unacceptable to Richardson and director Gordon Flemyng.
As a result, the playwright decided to wash his hands of the whole series.
His action has bitterly upset the production team, who feel it was unfair of him to remove his name because, they feel, this could prejudice the critics against the series.
Russell himself was on holiday this week and was unable to comment.
Main One Summer site