A stage and screen writer with an unabashed socialist ideology, Trevor Griffiths is best known as co-writer of "Reds", the 1981 feature film based on the lives of John Reed and Louise Bryant directed by Warren Beatty. Griffiths actually sparred with Beatty on the final draft, when Beatty decided that the story should focus on the romance of Reed and Bryant as much as on Reed's American in Soviet Russia angle. Despite their differences, the pair shared an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
From a working-class background, Griffiths taught, lectured and edited the NORTHERN VOICE magazine before joining the BBC in 1965 as an education officer. While there, he began writing radio plays, including his first, "The Big House" (1969). That same year, Griffiths had his first play, the politically-themed "The Wages of Thin", produced and thereafter concentrated on working in the theater. His breakthrough stage vehicle was "Comedians" (1975), which featured Jonathan Pryce. After "Comedians" played Broadway in 1976, Beatty asked him to collaborate on the screenplay for "Reds". Despite that film's acclaim, it was five years before Griffiths scripted another film. He wrote "Fatherland/Singing the Blues in Red", a political film directed by Kenneth Loach centering on an East German folk singer who is deported to the West.
While Griffiths film work has been limited, his TV work, particularly in the 70s, has been more extensive. He worked on the 1971 series "Adam Smith," based on the book about a minister searching for the meaning of life. He wrote the 1976 series, "Bill Brand", a Thames TV production about the problems in the life of a left-wing member of Parliament. Griffiths also adapted D H Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers" as a miniseries in 1981, the same year he adapted Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" for the BBC. His 1985 series, "The Last Place on Earth", offered a six-part dramatic look at the Scott vs. Amundsen race for the discovery of the South Pole.