A Bradford writer is to have a play he describes as a “love letter” to the city broadcast on Radio 4.

Kamal Kaan’s drama 'Breaking Up With Bradford' is based on his close emotional attachment with the district in which he was born and raised.

“I wanted to address the negative presentations of the city that is often presented in the media,” he says. “I wanted to write a love letter to Bradford to celebrate its people, quirks and diversity.”

Kamal had control in casting in the drama, which was recorded on location around Bradford.

“I managed to cast my favourite actors, BAFTA nominated Luke Newberry (In The Flesh, BBC 3) in one of the lead roles. I was also keen to have a Bradford based actor so cast Mez Galaria. Cheekily, I wrote myself a bit part too, making an appearance in a scene.”

It was a risk recording on location, he says, but it paid off.

“I wanted to capture the spirit of Bradford and make a nod to all of my favourite locations. The characters go to Waterstone’s bookshop and we recorded in there, as well as City Park and The Great Victoria Hotel.”

Kamal grew up in the Bradford Moor area, “just around the corner from Steadman Terrace where the brilliant Bradfordian painter David Hockney was born.”

He saw beauty in his urban surroundings. “There’s something magical at night, seeing the city glitter beneath the hill that inspired me to be a writer, to give voice to all those stories that existed within the fabric of such a historical and diverse place.”

Kamal attended Carlton Bolling College, going on to study at Dixons CTC (now Dixons City Academy). “They didn’t do A-Level drama at Carlton Bolling, I left all my friends to do sixth form at Dixon’s,” he says.

“Having left sixth form without applying to university, he was encouraged by his A-level results and “randomly applied to Cambridge University.”

“I was speechless when I was given an unconditional offer to study architecture with a scholarship,” he says. “I was the first to go away to university from a family of nine and it was totally surreal experience - being a Bengali boy from Bradford.”

He was then awarded the Brian Park Scholarship to study a MA in TV Fiction Writing at Glasgow Caledonian University.

“Whilst at university I was less interested in studying architecture and more interested in acting. During my final year, I’d travel down to London once a month to do the Young Writer’s Programme at The Royal Court Theatre in London. At that point, I didn’t consider being a writer and worked as an actor - appearing in numerous BBC dramas and theatre shows.”

His first commission as a writer was a piece of theatre in collaboration with artist David Shearing titled 'and it all comes down to this' (2012). It won Best Installation at the prestigious World Stage Design event in 2013. Their second collaboration The Weather Machine was part of a Sky Arts scholarship and won silver at World Stage Design in 2017.

“I was one of four winners for The Verb New Voices 3 competition to write a piece for BBC Radio 3 and this introduced me to writing for radio,” he says.

He was invited and then commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to write a radio ballad as part of the series The Headline Ballads with his programme 'Whilst the Water Weeps Next to the Water.' “I had to pitch an original idea and the programme was about the annual floods in Bangladesh juxtaposed with the Boxing Day floods in the north of England in 2015. The narrative was all woven together with a ballad poem and lyrical music. I’ve heard a final version of the drama and really excited as it has the layering of music and sounds which adds the final magic of radio drama.”

It will broadcast nationally with around one million listeners. “I’m hoping that it will really help to give a fresh insight of what it means to be from Bradford and the themes within will hopefully echo on a universal level,” says Kamal, who still lives in Bradford Moor.“I believe that Bradford is going through a cultural renaissance at the moment and it makes me proud to be able to contribute to the exciting work coming out of the city that is having national impact - including The Bradford Literature festival.”

Kamal is currently speaking to West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, discussing the possibility of a stage adaptation of 'Breaking Up With Bradford.'

“That will be an exciting challenge in translating an audio world into a living breathing theatrical experience,” he says.

Kamal’s biggest inspirations in life have been his mother and late father, who came to Bradford from Bangladesh to work in the textile mills. “They never had the opportunity to have access to education, but they have always lovingly supported my pursuit in the arts. My mum still complains I need to get a ‘proper job’, but I know that she’s secretly proud of what I have achieved: from studying at Cambridge University to working with the BBC.”

Breaking Up With Bradford will broadcast on Thursday August 17 on BBC Radio 4 at 2.15pm It will then be available on BBC iPlayer until September 17.