Jeremy Paul: Award-winning writer of plays and classic television dramas

Jeremy Paul was an award-winning writer who was responsible for numerous television plays, episodes of popular series and adaptations of classic novels during his 50-year career. The bulk of his work appeared during the years regarded today as the golden age of British television drama. The star writers of that time wrote mainly single plays – and probably slightly looked down on drama series. Paul also wrote one-off plays, but he treated each episode of a drama with the same care and enthusiasm as he would have done a Hollywood feature film.

His credits included Upstairs Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke Street, starring Gemma Jones, Van der Valk with Barry Foster, the military-police series Redcap with John Thaw, and Lovejoy with Ian McShane. He also adapted Conan Doyle for the Sherlock Holmes series, with Jeremy Brett in the title role – for many Holmes fans the detective's definitive incarnation. For the episode "The Musgrave Ritual", Paul received the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Jeremy Paul was born in Bexhill and was brought up by his mother, Joan Haythorne, the West End actress; through her, he developed a taste for the theatre at an early age. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, where he excelled in sport as well as drama. He went to St Edmund Hall, Oxford, to read English, but left before completing his degree, having been offered a three-year, three-play writing contract by Associated Television. The first of these was the acclaimed Room for Justice with Marius Goring in the lead; it was directed by Peter Sasdy. Thus started their long friendship, which in 1970 resulted in the Hammer film Countess Dracula, scripted by Paul and directed by Sasdy.

Everybody who worked with Paul was drawn to his personality; his generous spirit and enthusiasm made him an ideal collaborator. Perhaps his most successful television play, directed by Alan Gibson, was the Bafta-winning The Flip Side of Dominick Hide, starring Peter Firth, and its sequel, Another Flip for Dominick. His fascinating play about Russian dissidents for BBC's Play of the Month, A Walk in the Forest, was directed by Jack Gold and starred John Alderton.

In the 1980s his sensitive, unsensational adaptation of the Warwick Deeping novel Sorrell and Son was highly regarded, while in the same decade he adapted some of the episodes of Margery Allingham's Campion series and wrote several episodes for the BBC's Civil War epic By the Sword Divided.

He continued to be in demand, and in the 1990s he contributed screenplays for the popular Hetty Wainthropp Investigates series starring Patricia Routledge, and Midsomer Murders with John Nettles.

Before moving to Swanage, Paul lived in Richmond for most of his working life and was instrumental in the creation of the Orange Tree Theatre, one of London's most successful small theatres. Sam Walters, its artistic director, said that without Paul there would probably have been no theatre. Paul wrote and directed several plays for them, most notably the musical The Lady or the Tiger, which then transferred to the West End.

Another musical play, The Little Match Girl, was an adaptation of the Andersen story with music by Keith Strachan. Out of that musical the song "Mistletoe and Wine", with Paul's lyrics, became a Christmas hit for Cliff Richard. His play The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, which he wrote specially for Jeremy Brett, ran in the Wyndhams Theatre for over a year.

Paul had many passions outside of writing. One was his love of cricket; he played for many years in The Invalids, eventually becoming their president. His experiences with them resulted in the witty book Sing Willow. As a child he was evacuated to Wolverhampton, though he became a lifelong supporter not of Wolves but of Stoke City; he was laid to rest the day before this year's FA Cup final, in which Stoke were playing for the first time.

Paul was an extraordinary friend, with great empathy. You could call him with any worry, private or professional, and he would come to your help. I know I was not the only one who took such advantage of him. He was lucky to meet his soulmate in the actress Patricia Garwood; last year they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Paul never retired: at the time of his death he was working on a book, The Perilous Adventures of a Rabbit Called Jones. He recorded himself reading it, giving a wonderfully actorish performance and posting the CD to friends when he knew he did not have long to live – an example of his indomitable spirit. Paul's achievement in writing for television was significant; but his achievement in humanity was exemplary.

Jeremy Paul, writer: born Bexhill 29 July 1939; married 1960 Patricia Garwood (four daughters); died Swanage 3 May 2011.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager - Part Time

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital agency based in Ashford, Ke...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Marketing Executive

£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent