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Books By Graham Oakley - Author
Graham Oakley was born on the 27th of August 1929 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, son of Thomas and Flora (Madelay) Oakley. Between 1947-49, Graham Oakley served in the British Army. He attended the Warrington Art school in 1950, and then worked with London repertory companies as a scenic artist 1950-55. From 1955-57 he was a design assistant at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, worked at Crawford's Advertising Agency from 1960-62, and then as a set designer for films and series at BBC-TV 1962-67 (including How Green Was My Valley, Nicholas Nickleby, Treasure Island, and Softly, Softly).
"In my day we didn't have so much location work in costume drama, so it was my job to recreate the era of the dramatisation entirely within the studio. That can be quite a difficult task. We did a lot of Charles Dickens and Walter Scott dramatisations and often came across areas which we were unable to research. Of course audiences are always quick to pick out inaccuracies - I think they just liked to catch us out."
He had started illustrating books in the late 50s, and became a free-lance author and illustrator after his stint at the BBC. The Church Mouse was published in 1972.
Apparently, Graham Oakley originally planned Wortlethorpe to be the setting for a very different series of children's books:
"I was going to open with a high view on top of the town and a series of stories about each building, starting with the church and moving on to the library and the town hall, but the first book, The Church Mouse was so successful that I never got to the library."
These days Graham Oakley lives in Lyme Regis and is mostly retired. His current project is a version of Beauty and the Beast done with Pre-Rafaelite style illustrations.