Ten Times Table: Frequently Asked Questions

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist Simon Murgatroyd's answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Alan Ayckbourn's Ten Times Table. If you have a question about this or any other of Alan Ayckbourn's plays, you can contact the website via the Contact Us page.

Does the music for the original The John Cockle Song still exist?
The music used for The John Cockle Song in both the world premiere and the West End premiere of Ten Times Table was believed to have been lost in the 1980s. The music, composed by Bob Eaton with lyrics by Alan Ayckbourn and vocals by Diane Bull and guitar by Bob Eaton, was used in the world premiere (1977), the West End premiere (1978) and the subsequent UK tour (1979). After that the original tape was believed lost and the original music has never been heard since…
Until 2023, when The Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York discovered the original recording of the song within the Ayckbourn Archive on its original reel. As a result, the recording will be preserved for posterity within the Borthwick Institute for Archives.
With regard to music for actual productions of the play, the playwright has always advised productions should create their own interpretation of the music drawing on what feels most appropriate for individual productions - although they are now certainly welcome to be inspired by the original piece!

Is it true that one of the characters in Ten Times Table was based on a real person?
Yes. Although Alan has both variously confirmed and denied this over the years. In Paul Allen's biography of the playwright - Grinning At The Edge - actor Robin Herford notes that Alan told him that his character, Councillor Donald Evans was based on Councillor Maurice Plows, a bank manager who had also been a member of Scarborough Theatre Trust for many years. Maurice was famous at the theatre's previous home, the Library Theatre, for leading a rebellion against Stephen Joseph's decision in 1958 to end the playing of the National Anthem after every performance; he would even resign from the board in protest before later rejoining. During 2017, Alan Ayckbourn publicly confirmed Maurice as the inspiration in the A Brief History Of Plays event at the Stephen Joseph Theatre celebrating his 60 years with the company.

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.

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