Playwright sets sights on papers

One of Britain’s top satirical playwrights has visited the offices of several national newspapers to research his latest work.

Alistair Beaton, the writer of TV plays The Trial of Tony Blair and A Very Social Secretary has been commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to write the as-yet unnamed play which is set to air later this year, possibly in the autumn.

Beaton visited The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Times offices and said his hosts were ‘incredibly open-minded’and cooperative.

He told Press Gazette: ‘The advent of online content a salvation for newspapers, a greater and brighter future or is it a threat to the quality of news? I’m very interested in that and I’m getting very contradictory arguments about it.”

The play will be set in a fictional national, quality newspaper office.

Beaton said: ‘There is a big, broad, brightly coloured comedy to do set in a tabloid, but it just strikes me as a bit too easy.

‘There’s a popular conception that all journalists are cynical and dishonest… and I don’t really believe that – many journalists are still trying to tell a story under extreme pressure.”

Beaton said that on one of his visits, on a day when three murder stories were all breaking, he overheard a journalist say: ‘Oh, bloody hell, three murder stories is too many.”

‘I love the idea that you can have too many murder stories at once – you’d like them spread out a bit,’said Beaton.

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