All Scripts are Adaptations?

Presented by: Michael Eaton, MBE

Date: Friday 6 August 2021
Time: 1–2pm
Location: Zoom Recording


As well as producing original dramas for film, television, theatre and radio Michael Eaton has adapted literary works and written documentary dramas based on true life events.  In this short talk he speculates on the creative process and structure of adaptation.


Michael Eaton is an award-winning dramatist for cinema, television, radio and the theatre who has written TV docu-dramas such as Why Lockerbie, the BAFTA-nominated Shoot to Kill and Shipman for ITV and original dramas including Signs and Wonders and Flowers Of The Forest for the BBC. His script for the HBO feature film Fellow Traveller won Best Screenplay at the British Film Awards in 1989. He has written four plays for Nottingham Playhouse of which the last was Charlie Peace – His Amazing Life and Astounding Legend, revived in 2018 at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the subject of his most recent publication. He has adapted several works of Charles Dickens for BBC Radio 4 including The Pickwick Papers starring Timothy Spall; George Silverman’s Explanation with Paul Scofield; The Bride’s Chamber and The Special Correspondent for Posterity which was commissioned for the Dickens bicentenary of 2012 for which he also co-wrote and narrated, with Adrian Wootton, an Arena documentary: Dickens and Film. His theatrical adaptation of Great Expectations premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2016. Other original radio plays include Washington 9/11; The Conflict Is Over (about the Northern Ireland peace process); Out of the Blue; By A Young Officer – Churchill on the North-West Frontier and, with the composer Neil Brand, The Cave of Harmony and Waves Breaking On A Shore. He studied Social Anthropology at King’s College, Cambridge and, thirty-five years later, made The Masks of Mer, a documentary film about the anthropologist Alfred Haddon who made the first ethnographic films in the Torres Straits in 1898 which was also the subject of his 2015 BBC Radio 3 drama Head Hunters, the text of which has been published by Shoestring Press which also published his translation of Ernest Renan’s play The Priest of Nemi. His latest publication is Based On A True Story – Real Made-Up Men (Shoestring Press 2020), a collection of essays and scripts. He was awarded the M.B.E. for Services to Film in the 1999 New Year’s honours list and was Visiting Professor in the School of Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University for which institution he wrote a play, All Schools Should Be Art Schools, to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the foundation of the Nottingham School of Art. He is to receive a Doctorate of Letters from NTU in 2021.


About Research Seminar and Workshop Series


School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Friday, 11 March

Online via Zoom

Research Seminar - Tuning In with the Stethoscope in the Nineteenth CenturyDr Melissa Dickson (University of Birmingham)

Friday, 25 March


Early Adventures in Australian Actor Training

Dr Chris Hay

Friday, 8 April

Online via Zoom

Invention and reinvention in the landscape symbolism of Joachim PatinirMichael Levy

Friday, 29 April

Online via Zoom

Negotiating balance of cultures among Chinese Australians to facilitate ageing well

A/Prof Shuang Liu

Friday, 13 May


Redefining crisis in museums: insider’s perspectives on digital engagement

Dr Caroline Wilson-Barnao, Craig Middleton (National Museum of Australia), and Lisa Enright

Friday, 3 June

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

A journey through the Australian environmental movement ecosystem

Dr Robyn Gulliver

Friday, 10 June

Online via Zoom

TBADr Alex Bevan