Five beautiful things about playwright Jonathan Harvey

4 Oct 2023


We can’t wait for Beautiful Thing to open in our Courtyard theatre from 18-28 October – 30 years after it premiered to great acclaim. In the meantime, here are some fascinating bits and bobs about writer Jonathan Harvey and his wonderful play.


Harvey penned his first play 36 years ago – winning the £1,000 first prize in a young writers’ competition at Liverpool Playhouse – and has since gone on to write numerous plays, TV shows and books. The Cherry Blossom Tree was about suicide, murder and nuns.


Encouraged by this success he wrote Mohair (1988), Wildfire (1992) and Babies (1993), which led to him winning the George Devine Award and The Evening Standard’s Most Promising Playwright Award. Also in 1993, Harvey premiered Beautiful Thing, his iconic coming-out and coming-of-age comedy-drama, for which he won the John Whiting Award.


His 1995 play Boom Bang-a-Bang premiered at the Bush Theatre, London, and was originally directed by actor-director-cum-legend Kathy Burke, who went on to star in Harvey’s hit TV comedy Gimme Gimme Gimme with James Dreyfus. His other TV and film work includes: West End Girls (Carlton); Love Junkie (BBC); Murder Most Horrid with Dawn French (BBC); and Coronation Street (ITV).


As well as writing more than 300 episodes of the epic TV soap Corrie, he also wrote the script for the 2010 hit stage play Corrie!, which starred Katherine Dow Blyton, who recently won much praise in A Passionate Woman here at the Playhouse, as Deirdre Barlow. Harvey also created the lesser known but undeniably intriguing Ken and Deirdre’s Bedtime Stories in 2011.


Harvey’s wonderful play Beautiful Thing has providing an important stepping stone for an array of actors who have gone on to have stellar careers, including: Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting, Frankenstein, Elementary) and Philip Glenister (Life on Mars, Calendar Girls, State of Play), who both starred in the world premiere at the Bush Theatre in 1993; Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Paddington); Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, House of the Dragon); Andrew Garfield (Spider-Man, Tick, Tick…Boom!); and Jonathan Bailey (Bridgerton, Broadchurch).


    Arts Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • LTB Foundation
  • Principal Partner

    Caddick Group
  • Principal Access Partner

    Irwin Mitchell