Blood Brothers by Willy Russell
Table of Contents
Important Background 3
Russell was born in 1947 into a working-class family near to Liverpool. He left school at 15 without academic qualifications and became a hairdresser. By the age of 20 he felt the need to return to education and, after leaving university, he became a teacher at a comprehensive school in his home city.
During this time Russell wrote songs for performers and for radio shows. One of his early plays was about the Liverpool pop group the Beatles. He has a love of popular music and this can be seen in many of his plays, but especially in Blood Brothers.
Blood Brothers was completed in 1981, two years after the Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. She felt that British manufacturing industry had become uncompetitive and saw the cause as weak employers and overly strong trade unions who were, she felt, too willing to call their members out on strike. She reduced the powers of the workers’ unions and privatised (‘sold off’) many publicly owned companies. She closed many uncompetitive coal mines, too.
A short-term result was that Britain suffered an economic downturn and unemployment soared. This particularly affected industrialised working-class areas in the north of the country and Willy Russell would have seen this first hand in his home city. Liverpool’s famous docks, a traditional source of local employment, were allowed to run down and thousands ...