Block, Simon

Simon Block is a dramatist and screenwriter. He studied psychology at the University of Southampton and criminology at the University of Cambridge. Block is well known as a writer of television crime series (Inspector Lynley, Inspector Lewis, Wire in Blood). Other works for television include: North Square (Channel 4), Trust (BBC1), Casualty  (BBC1), The Eichmann Show  (BBC 2), and Home Fires (ITV).

In the theatre, Block is best known for his play Chimps, which premiered at the Hampstead Theatre in 1997 and earned him nominations for the Evening Standard Most Promising New Playwright and the Writers’ Guild Writer of the Year Award. It was revived by the Liverpool Playhouse in 2005. His work for theatre also include: Not a Game for Boys  (Royal Court, 1995), A Place at the Table  (Bush Theatre, 2000), 1/25th of the National Theatre Chain Play  (National Theatre, 2001), as well as No Exp. Req’d. (1999) and Everything is Illuminated  (2006) for the Hampstead Theatre.

Block’s 2002 play Hand in Hand (Hampstead Theatre, 2002) addresses his own Jewish background. In an interview with the Independent he explained his decision to artistically engage with his Jewishness as follows: “I gradually understood that I was trying to find a contemporary context for Jews of that [thirtysomething] generation that didn’t depend on traditional preoccupations such as the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. I feel that there is a much more contemporary link to Israel for people of my age group. Obviously, there’s a historical link to the Holocaust, so it is live in that sense, but it’s not as live as our relationship with Israel.” (2002) His Channel 4 television drama The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall  (2008), reminscent of My Name is Rachel Corrie (2005) by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, engages with the conflict in the Middle East. Block here addresses the shooting of British peace activist Thomas Hurndall by the Israel Defence Forces in 2003.

Plays

—. A Place at the Table. London: Nick Hern Books, 2000.

—. Hand in Hand. London: Nick Hern Books, 2002.

—. Chimps. London: Nick Hern Books, 2005.

—. Not a Game for Boys. London: Nick Hern Books, 2015.