Page Compiled March 2006

Born in Newport, Monmouthshire, 1931, Leslie Thomas is the son of a sailor who was lost of sea
in 1943. His boyhood in an orphanage is evoked in This Time Next Week published in 1964. At
sixteen, he became a reporter, before going on to do his national service. He won worldwide
acclaim with his best selling novel The Virgin Soldiers, which has achieved international sales of
over two million copies.
Featured Books, with extracts, by Leslie Thomas
For almost 40 years Leslie Thomas has been one of Britain’s most popular novelists, a best-seller
with thirty titles to his name and international sales figures exceeding fourteen million.
He was born of a seafaring family in Newport, Gwent, South Wales, on March 22nd, 1931.
His grandfather was one of the old Cape - Horners, who voyaged on sailing ships around the
dreaded Horn. He is said to have left the sea because he objected to his shipmates' bad language.
Thomas's father was drowned when his ship was torpedoed in 1943, and his mother died six months later.
He and his younger brother, Roy found themselves in a Dr. Barnardo's Home, an experience evoked years later in his first
book ‘This Time Next Week’ (Constable 1964). This book remains in print and is used as a set book for schools. He is now a
Vice-President of Barnardo’s.
Experience as a National Serviceman resulted in his first novel, the best-selling ‘The Virgin Soldiers’ which has been
published all over the world and was made into a successful film produced by Carl Foreman. (Thomas' entry in ‘Who's Who’
encapsulates his army career: “1949-51. Rose to Lance-Corporal.”)
Thomas was a widely - travelled newspaperman, covering Royal tours, the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the funeral of Sir Winston
Churchill and many other notable events. After the publication of ‘The Virgin Soldiers’ he became a full-time writer and has
now produced twenty-five novels and three travel books – ‘Some Lovely Islands’, My World of Islands’ and ‘The Hidden
Places of Britain’. He has also written a second volume of autobiography, ‘In My Wildest Dreams’.
Thomas made his first broadcast thirty-seven years ago, and since then has made many more. On television he appeared in
documentaries and talk-shows. Among these has been ‘Parkinson’, ‘This is Your Life’, ‘Wogan’ and ‘Through The Keyhole’.
He continues to travel widely. His interests are classical music, non-fiction reading, antiques, cricket, stamp collecting,
photography and islands. Leslie Thomas has received an Honorary MA Degree from the University of Wales and an Honorary
Doctorate of Literature from the University of Nottingham. He was awarded the OBE in the New Year Honours list of 2005.
Thomas has three grown-up children from his first marriage and one – a son Matthew – from his second. His wife Diane
Thomas is his business manager. They live on the Hampshire coast.

Leslie Thomas

The musical partnership of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber may be resurrected.
The pair, who stage the world premiere today of the long lost first musical that they wrote in 1965, said yesterday they were
enjoying working together so much that they had talked about writing a fresh West End show - almost 30 years since their
last one, Evita.
"I would say that, for the first time in a long time, it is possible," Sir Tim said.
The lyricist, who has always been seen as the stumbling block in the partnership being renewed, added:
"We were discussing the idea in the office the other day. It would be quite nice to find something we could work together on."
In a gentle dig at his one-time partner's love of Victorian melodramas, Sir Tim added: "In our twilight years it would be
best to do a story that is fun rather than some of that doom and gloom stuff."
The pair, who dominated the London musical stage with three hits - Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968),
Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) and Evita (1978) - never split formally or acrimoniously. Though not always on the best of
terms, they have maintained that their paths simply diverged.
They have been thrown together again after digging out The Likes of Us, their first musical, about the life and times of
Dr Barnardo. The pair - now Lord Lloyd-Webber and Sir Tim Rice - were 16 and 20 respectively when they wrote it.
With Michael Ball playing John Thomas Barnardo, the founder of the Victorian charity for orphans and foundlings, a
one-off performance is to be given today at the Sydmonton Festival, Lord Lloyd-Webber's annual musical theatre festival.
It is to be staged in a converted chapel on the lawns of the composer's country estate in Hampshire with eight principals, a
chorus of orphans and Stephen Fry as the narrator. Lord Lloyd-Webber said during rehearsals: "It's a joy working with
him [Sir Tim] again. We've had a really good time.
"We never fell out. It would be impossible to fall out with Tim but I think we never felt a desperate inclination to do
something together again.
"I would love to work with Tim again. But I know that he needs the story that he wants to do. He is the story driver.
I wouldn't want to do a story Tim wasn't absolutely happy with."
Sir Tim said any new project would not happen in a hurry. Finding the right story was the prerequisite to working together
He also feared the expectations surrounding a new collaboration because of the pair's previous hits.
Lord Lloyd-Webber was still at Westminster School when he was introduced to Sir Tim by the late Desmond Elliott, a music
publisher. They were commissioned for £75 to write the show about Barnardo. It was completed but never staged. Though
the 16 songs survive, the script was found to be lost when the pair decided a year ago that it would "be fun to try it out".
Neither Lord Lloyd-Webber nor Sir Tim could remember the story and the latter has worked with Fry to write a new series
of links between songs. Coincidentally, 2005 is the centenary of Barnardo's death and the musical is to be recorded this
autumn for broadcast on BBC Radio 2. The pair said that without the original script it was unlikely that they could stage it
commercially. They hoped, however, to release a disc of the music.
"I think that some of the songs are right up there with the best that Tim and I ever wrote," said Lord Lloyd-Webber.
The pair have written a fresh song for The Likes of Us and an entirely separate pop song in the last few weeks.
Lord Lloyd-Webber is also moving to reduce his business commitments to concentrate on his first love.
He is the West End's biggest landlord, running 11 theatres. But he is expected shortly to announce the sale of four of them to
the producer Max Weitzenhoffer for around £11 million. The deal will allow Lord Lloyd-Webber to concentrate on the big
musical theatres that he loves, and to carry out further refurbishments.

With kind permission of The Telegraph..

Lloyd Webber and Rice to write first musical since Evita
By Nigel Reynolds
(Filed: 09/07/2005)

"We had two years of really believing
the show was going to be a hit.
And although it wasn't good enough,
there were certainly other shows that weren't
any better that had at least got on."
Tim Rice commenting on
The Likes Of Us, November 1993

In The Beginning...

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber met through the head of Arlington Books, Desmond Elliot. At the time, Andrew was
going off to Magdalen at Oxford to study history, and Tim was working for the law firm Pettit & Westlake. Elliot
suggested they use Victorian philanthropist Dr. Barnardo as the subject for a musical, and had one of his other clients,
Leslie Thomas, work on the show's book.
By January of 1966, the plan was to open The Likes Of Us at Oxford where Andrew was technically still enrolled though
on a sabbatical / leave of absence. Oxford was quickly discarded, however, and the West End was picked instead. Prior to
the West End opening, the show would be tried in Dublin in the Fall of 1968.
None of these performances ever happened. However, a demo of the show was recorded by Southern Music, but nothing was
ever commercially released.
Never Forgotten
Perhaps The Likes Of Us never sunk into total obscurity simply because it was the first collaboration between Tim Rice and
Andrew Lloyd Webber. Described as rather Oliver! - esque, it is best known for the much-quoted lyric: "Here I have a
lovely parrot sound in wind and limb / I can guarantee that there is nothing wrong with him".
The Likes Of Us resurfaced at the May 2002 The Night Of 1,000 Voices concert in honour of Tim where "Strange And Lovely
Song" was performed.
Finally : The First Staging
To mark its 40th anniversary, The Likes Of Us received its first staged presentation at Andrew Lloyd Webber's annual
Sydmonton Festival on 9 July 2005. Although otherwise remaining mainly in its 1965 state, the show was given a new
book by Tim Rice, fuller orchestrations, and a new song for Syrie titled "This Is My Time". The Likes Of Us was directed
by Christopher Luscombe, under the musical direction of Simon Lee, and featured musical staging by Jenny Arnold. The
orchestrations were by David Cullen and Chris Walker, as conceived by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Gillian Lynne staged and
choreographed the "Have Another Cup Of Tea" number with the aid of her assistant, Christine Cartwright. Set design was
by Janet Bird, sound design by Mick Potter, and the lighting design was by Alistair Grant. The principal cast included:

Narrator -- Stephen Fry Barnardo -- Adam Brazier
Syrie -- Sally Ann Triplett Johnny -- Ian Sharp
Jenny -- Nancy Sullivan Auctioneer -- Tim Rice

The Likes Of Us had its first public performance on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at the Mermaid Theatre. Presented by Paul
Gambaccini, the performance was taped by BBC Radio 2. Originally scheduled to be broadcast on 30 September 2005,
The Likes Of Us was broadcast by Radio 2 on 21 October 2005. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber were interviewed
about The Likes Of Us as part of the BBC Radio 4 Front Row show which was broadcast on 20 October 2005.
A double CD of the 2005 performance was released on 7 November 2005. The CD was released in America by Decca
Broadway 28 March 2996

I would like to thank Peter Drummond for supplying the information on this page.

2005 Sydmonton / Mermaid Theatre
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Original Book by Leslie Thomas
2005 Book by Tim Rice

Tim Rice

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Leslie Thomas a Barnardo boy, but also I believe a Goldings Boy, I’m not sure how long Leslie was at Goldings
there are various different stories, but I have spoken to an old boy who remembers him being at the school,
(Bob Whibley of Cairns, 43-46) ,
and he assures me Leslie was only there a short time, but how ever short a time, still a Goldings boy.

Leslie Thomas

Leslie Thomas