Stephen Mallatratt

Television writer who scripted a West End classic

An inspired adaptation of a ghost story brought the actor-writer Stephen Mallatratt's name to the West End with a production that outlived both him and every other show in London, apart from
The Mousetrap.

Nigel Stephen Mallatratt, actor and writer: born London 15 June 1947; (one daughter with Eileen O'Brien), married 1996 Emma London; died Bristol 22 November 2004.

An inspired adaptation of a ghost story brought the actor-writer Stephen Mallatratt's name to the West End with a production that outlived both him and every other show in London, apart from The Mousetrap.

Susan Hill's 1983 novel The Woman in Black told the tale of a solicitor, Arthur Kipps, who travels north to wind up the estate of the late Mrs Drablow, who had lived reclusively in a remote house. After seeing a ghostly figure at the funeral, he is obsessed with the idea that he is cursed and employs a young actor to help him to prepare a performance of his experiences for his family and friends, in an attempt to exorcise the ghosts of the past.

Mallatratt turned this simple story into an atmospheric chiller that has gripped audiences at the Fortune Theatre in Covent Garden for the past 15 years. It originally opened in 1987 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, in Scarborough, where Mallatratt had enjoyed a long association with the writer-director Alan Ayckbourn, and transferred to the West End two years later, first at the Strand Theatre, then the Playhouse, before moving to the Fortune.

Born in Mill Hill, north London, in 1947, Mallatratt fell in love with the stage after visits as a child to the Watford Palace Theatre and he gained acting experience with local amateur dramatics companies. On leaving school, he went into the building industry.

He eventually fulfilled his stage ambitions by studying at the Central School of Speech and Drama (1968-71) and joining the company at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. As an actor there, he took leading roles in the premieres of Alan Ayckbourn productions such as Absent Friends (as John, 1974), The Breadwinners (as Patrick, 1974), Confusions (1974) and Bedroom Farce (as Nick, 1975), as well as in plays by other writers.

Ayckbourn also gave him the chance to develop his own writing talents, and directed Mallatratt's plays An Englishman's Home (1975), The Chimes (1975) and Mother Country (1976) at the Library Theatre, Scarborough.

Mallatratt was cast on television as the vet John Stokes in Emmerdale (1980) and twice in Coronation Street, as Peter Hockley (1979), who snogged Suzie Birchall after Gail Potter's joint 21st and engagement party, and as Jeff Moffatt (1982), husband of Gail's friend Jackie.

Through his assocation in Scarborough with Mervyn Watson, who became the producer of Coronation Street, Mallatratt joined the serial's scriptwriting team (1985-96, 1999) and was responsible for 115 scripts, admired for his ability to write believable stories for well-developed characters.

In 1995, he recommended his friend the actor David Nielson for the role of Roy Cropper in the Street. The result was one of the progamme's greatest finds, the oddball character who fell for a transexual.

Mallatratt found his greatest success on screen only in his final couple of years, with two scripts for Granada Television dramas. First, he wrote the remake of The Forsyte Saga (2002), a sumptuous production of John Galsworthy's novels, which had once been a worldwide best-seller for the BBC. His triumph was to make the characters flesh and blood, in a way that costume drama rarely achieves on television.

Then, Mallatratt scripted Island at War (2004), one of the few dramatisations of the Channel Islands' experience of Nazi occupation during the Second World War, and he took the small role of the vicar in the series. "I thought it was a great, unexplored area of drama," he said.

Anthony Hayward

Life and Style
life
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
One in six drivers cannot identify a single one of the main components found under the bonnet of an average car
motoringOne in six drivers can't carry out basic under-bonnet checks
Environment
environmentCrop pests are 'grave threat to global food security'
News
i100
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
Arts and Entertainment
Shady character: Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm
filmReview: Jon Hamm finally finds the right role on the big screen in Million Dollar Arm
News
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
people
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Sport
footballAnd Liverpool are happy despite drawing European champions
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Physics Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Physics Teacher Long Term from S...

Nursery Nurse

£50 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Newcastle: Our client is looking for a N...

Maths Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Math Teacher - 2 Terms - Lincoln...

Database Developer (SSIS, TSQL, Microsoft SQL) London Finance

£35000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global global asset management ...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone