Paul Allen trained as a journalist in Sheffield where he still lives. In addition to Brassed Off, his plays for the Crucible Theatre include Herod the Great, Jokers 1, 2 and 3 (with Rony Robinson) and Breaking and Entering. Other plays have been premiered in York, Derby, Birmingham and London Bubble, and on BBC Radio 3 and 4. As a critic he has worked for The Guardian, Front Row, Plays and Players, New Statesman and Country Life. He presented the BBC Radio 4 arts programme Kaleidoscope from 1981 to 1998 and then Radio 3's Nightwaves. He chaired the Arts Council drama panel and New Writing committee and has taught at the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick where he was Fellow in Creativity and Performance in 2006-7.