It Could Be Any One Of Us: Behind The Scenes

Behind The Scenes offers a glimpse at some rarely known facts regarding the writing of Alan Ayckbourn's plays with material drawn from the Ayckbourn Archive at the University Of York and the playwright's personal archive.
  • One of the significant inspirations for It Could Be Any One Of Us was a previously announced play by Alan Ayckbourn. In 1980, the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, announced the playwright's new play would be the thriller Sight Unseen. Unfortunately, as he began to write it, Alan realised he was not happy with the idea and couldn't bring it to the page. Instead he wrote Season's Greetings which kept the location of the hallway from his concept for Sight Unseen as well as most of the character's names but bore no other similarities. No details about Sight Unseen were known aside from this until 2011 when Alan Ayckbourn's archivist Simon Murgatroyd discovered two pages of hand-written notes showing early concepts for the play including the fact it had a random choice murderer, much as It Could Be Any One of Us would have in 1983.
  • It's also conceivable that It Could be Any One Of Us benefitted from Alan Ayckbourn's research into a possible screenplay for a movie version of the popular board-game Cluedo (Clue in the USA). In 1981, he was approached by Polygram Pictures to write a screenplay for a proposed movie of the game and entered into negotiations to write a play which would then be adapted into a film. However, the deal eventually fell-through largely due to concerns from Alan that there was no obvious way to adapt the game into a film without becoming just another period whodunit. A movie of the game was eventually made in 1984 - with no involvement from Alan Ayckbourn (further details about both Sight Unseen and Cluedo can be found in the book Unseen Ayckbourn).
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.