Monday, 28 June 2010

“BD to Z-Victor One!”

alan-plater Sorry to hear at the weekend of the death from cancer of the playwright Alan Plater.

He was a very gifted man, with a brilliant ear for dialogue. From the early days of Z Cars and Softly, Softly – through to more recent episodes of Midsomer Murders, Lewis and Dalziell and Pascoe, he wrote lots of police dramas for TV.

He co-founded the Humberside Theatre, in 1970 a small, 150-seat auditorium in Hull, where his stage work was usually first performed. His plays covered subjects as diverse as the General Strike, Mrs Pankhurst, football, jazz, deep-sea fishing, coal mining, and the ruling classes – but were addressed to the ordinary man in the street.

He skilfully adapted the works of other writers for TV [such asOlivia Manning’s Fortunes of War]as well as writing his own stuff.

beiderbecke My absolute favourite Plater is The Beiderbecke Affair – brilliantly filmed for TV with James Bolam and Barbara Flynn as two secondary school teachers. Set in the early 1980’s, I thought it was a really perceptive portrayal of a typical comprehensive school staffroom – but with a very quirky plot line, and wonderful jazz soundtrack.

I do hope they will show it again on TV [although I do have the boxed set of DVDs – maybe I will watch them again when there is nothing on any channel apart from sport!!]

Plater’s final TV drama, Joe Maddison's War, starring Kevin Whately and Robson Green and set on the eve of the second world war in the north-east, where Plater was born, is currently in post-production for ITV. I look forward to watching it.


  1. So sad! My prayers are with those who love him!

  2. Angela I'm just profiting from the boys being at a friend's house to drink green tea and catch up on blogs I've missed in the business of end-of-term- do you know that last night I stood in the bathroom (why?) and tried to remember the programmes that used to be on on Saturday nights that I had really loved. The Peter Wimsey series, Heart of the Country by Faye Weldon. And the series with the school teachers who campaigned about bleached white toilet paper (that was why?) and listened to jazz. Thank you!


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