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David Mercer Biography

(1928–80), Where the Difference Begins, A Climate of Fear, A Suitable Case for Treatment, Morgan

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British dramatist, born in Wakefield, the son of an engine driver. After leaving school at 14 he worked as a laboratory technician, then went to King's College, Newcastle, first to study chemistry, then to take a degree in fine arts. After some years spent teaching he became a full-time writer, achieving recognition with a series of television plays, including Where the Difference Begins (1961), A Climate of Fear (1962), and A Suitable Case for Treatment (1962), which was later filmed as Morgan (1965). Subsequently he produced many works for TV, helping to establish that medium as an important forum for serious drama, and several for the stage, including Ride a Cock Horse (1965), Flint (1970), After Haggerty (1970), and Cousin Vladimir (1978), about a Soviet dissident's appalled reaction to a morally derelict Britain. Mercer's work, though written from a Marxist stance, tended to concentrate on individuals desperately trying to discover themselves and achieve wholeness in a world he found bewildering, oppressive, and painful on both personal and public levels.

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