Finding the working class hero
A new version of Room at the Top is to be shown on BBC this week, but who was the author?
BBC4 is set to broadcast an adaptation of Room at the Top this week, John Braine's hit novel of love and class in postwar Britain.
Written in the 1950s and published in 1957, Room at the Top was the original classic of the Angry Young Man era.
Opening after the Second World War, the novel follows working class boy Joe Lampton, who is determined to rise up the social ladder by marrying Susan Browne, the factory-owner's daughter. His ruthless plans for advancement mean he tosses aside Alice, his older married lover whom he really loves.
Braine was born in Bradford in 1922, and grew up in a working class family; his father was employed in a sewage works and his mother worked as a library assistant. After work in sales, a factory and a library, Braine became a wireless operator during the war before being invalided out with TB.
This success of his debut novel, written in the sanitarium (the novel was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1959) wasn't matched by his following publications, including The Jealous God and The Crying Game, and he died aged 64.
Braine will be remembered for kicking off the literary movement of Angry Young Men which included John Osborne, writer of play Look Back in Anger and Alan Sillitoe. As the Sunday Times reported at the time: "Remember the name [of John Braine]... you'll be hearing quite a lot about him.
"Room at the Top is his first novel, and it is a remarkable one."
Room at the Top is broadcast on BBC4 from 26th-27th September.