Peter Whelan (b. 1931) was born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent. He started work at the Stoke Town Planning Office as an assistant surveyor and his varied list of former jobs includes farm worker, manservant, demolition worker, hall porter, advertising copywriter and English teacher. In 1950 and 1951 he undertook his mandatory 2-years of National Service which must have had a profound influence on his writing as a number of his plays have a military conscription theme - notably A Russian in the Woods and The Accrington Pals.
His works include seven plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the first of which was Captain Swing written in 1979, and the list of others includes The Herbal Bed, A Russian in the Woods and The School of Night. He has received a number of nominations from the Writer's Guild and he won their 'Best Regional Theatre Play Award' in 1996. He is an Honorary Associate Artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company.