Film world acclaims writer's final act

Success comes two years after death for Kate Winslet's ex-boyfriend, writes Cole Moreton

THIS COULD have been the best weekend of Stephen Tredre's life. Last night, the young writer should have been soaking up the applause as an audience at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival watched the premiere of Between Dreams, a short film based on his memoirs.

When that glory faded, he could have looked forward to the end of this week, when the BBC is due to begin filming a six-part drama series, starring Paul McGann as the eponymous Fish, a defence lawyer he created. But Tredre, hailed as one of the brightest of Britain's new talents, will not be around to see it. After fighting cancer for two years, during which time he continued to send out scripts from his sick-bed, he died in December 1997 aged 34. The past two years of Tredre's life saw an extraordinary burst of creativity, which is just now coming to fruition.

"When you are diagnosed as being extremely ill, as Stephen was, you either take things easy and go on a holiday or you work harder than ever," said his brother Roger. "He took the latter option. He always believed he would beat the cancer and he persuaded everyone around him, including the family, to believe the same."

Stephen Tredre was born in London, the son of a doctor. He was educated at Epsom College, appearing as the lead in a school production of Hamlet. Tredre also wrote articles for the school magazine, which was edited by his brother.

After studying drama and English at Exeter University he went on to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). He appeared on stage in Manchester and London and in various television programmes including The Bill, but became most famous for his five-year relationship with the actress Kate Winslet, star of Titanic.

"He was the other half of my soul," Winslet said after they split up in 1995. "I had an absolutely extraordinary relationship with him. My dear former boyfriend will always be an incredible love of my life. It wasn't as if I just turned round and left him. Our relationship reached a friendly end and we stayed close."

Last year, Winslet married Jim Threapleton, an assistant director. Unconfirmed rumours suggest she may make a guest appearance in Fish, the first episode of which was written by Tredre. The series was finished posthumously, by Matthew Bardsley.

Tredre began to write while still working as an actor. He had a few scripts accepted for EastEnders then joined the soap's regular rota of writers. "Stephen spent most of his time in hospital working, even when the chemotherapy slowed him down," said his brother. "Most of his writing was done in the knowledge that he had cancer, and all his big breakthroughs came in the last two years of his life. He was writing an EastEnders script two weeks before he died. He was the best man at a wedding two weeks before that. We are extremely sad that he's not around to enjoy his success himself."

Between Dreams, which Tredre wrote while he was in remission, is based on his experiences during his time in hospital. He had hoped to perform it as a one-man show, or to have the work adapted for radio. Most of the cast of Between Dreams were at RADA with Tredre and agreed to make the 13-minute film in tribute to him. They include David Westhead, who appeared with Dame Judi Dench in Mrs Brown, and David Harewood, who starred opposite Vanessa Redgrave on Broadway in Antony and Cleopatra.

In the programme for the Venice festival, which ended yesterday, Ian FitzGibbon, director of Between Dreams, wrote: "Even in the darkest moments of his terrible battle with cancer Stephen always looked forward, reaching for life. It was only when he was physically beaten, exhausted beyond words, that he stopped doing what he lived for - writing.

"This is the great lesson I have learned from his death: do it while you can. You have nothing to fear but fear itself. Between Dreams is drawn from Stephen's memoirs. I hope it does justice to his great writing talent."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor