A BBC Radio 4 full-cast drama by RD Wingfield
RD (Rodney David) Wingfield was born in Hackney in 1928. He was educated at the Coopers Company School and - along with the rest of the school - was evacuated to Frome, Somerset during the Second World War. Exempted from National Service due to his poor eyesight, he had various office jobs before becoming a clerk for the Petrofina Oil Company in Epsom. In his free time, he wrote radio plays, and in 1968 the BBC bought his 45-minute play Compensating Error. They soon commissioned a further two, and Wingfield decided to give up the day job and become a full-time writer. Over the next two decades, he produced numerous successful BBC Radio dramas, as well as a comedy series starring Kenneth Williams as a secret agent, The Secret Life of Kenneth Williams (1971-73). In 1972, the publishing company Macmillan commissioned Wingfield to write a crime novel. With the incentive of a e50 non-returnable advance, he completed the book, Frost at Christmas - only for it to be rejected. Wingfield decided to turn it into a radio play, Three Days of Frost, instead. He had visualised Ronnie Barker in the lead role, but Barker was unavailable so Leslie Sands played Frost. A second Frost radio drama, A Touch of Frost, was broadcast in 1982, starring Derek Martin. Frost at Christmas was finally published in Canada in 1984 and in the UK in 1990. It was followed by A Touch of Frost (1987), which was apparently one of three detective novels chosen by David Jason for his holiday reading a few years later. A successful comedy actor, Jason had been searching for a character to enable him to move into serious television drama, and felt that Frost fit the bill. The TV series A Touch of Frost premiered in 1992, and was a runaway success over 15 series and 42 episodes, only ending in 2010 because Jason decided to retire the character. Wingfield, however, was unenthusiastic about the TV adaptation, saying 'I have nothing against David Jason as Frost at all, he just isn't my Frost'. After seeing the pilot, he never watched another episode, claiming that he did not want his subsequent novels to be influenced by Jason's portrayal. He was to write four more Frost books before his death in 2007, one of which, Hard Frost (1995), was nominated for an Edgar Award. The final one, A Killing Frost, was published posthumously in 2008. However, the continuing popularity of the character led to a prequel series by James Henry, First Frost (2011), Fatal Frost (2012) and Morning Frost (2013) set in the early Eighties and featuring Frost as a Detective Sergeant.