Anthony Read (1935-2015)Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Anthony ReadThe writer Anthony Read has died, aged 80.

Born in 1935, Read attended the Central School of Speech and Drama and, following National Service, worked in Fleet Street in advertising, journalism and publishing before deciding to become a full time writer. He joined the BBC on 2nd November 1963 - just some three weeks before the show we remember him for launched on television! Early work included being a writer for The Indian Tales of Rudyard Kipling and script editor for the Peter Cushing incarnation of Sherlock Holmes, but it was in the latter half of the decade when he became known for The Troubleshooters, a series he script edited, wrote and later produced for.

During the 1970s he returned to being freelance, working on shows such as Marked Personnel, The Black Arrow, Crown Court and Z-Cars (a return to one of the first shows he had written for in 1962). However it was in 1977 when he came to be associated with Doctor Who, invited by producer Graham Williams to take over from Robert Holmes, working alongside the outgoing script editor on Image of the Fendahl and The Sun Makers before formally taking charge of scripts with Underworld. Having co-written The Invasion of Time with Williams, the pair went on to devise the umbrella-themed Key to Time Season Sixteen, with Read also taking on producer duties when his colleague became ill. Having 'discovered' a talented writer during that run, he then recommended the reins of script editing be passed to 'newcomer' Douglas Adams, and returned to write a story for the following season, The Horns of Nimon. After leaving Doctor Who he contributed scripts to The Omega Factor (which starred his first 'companion' Louise Jameson).

Other programmes during this prolific time included The Professionals and the science fantasy cults Into the Labyrinth and Sapphire and Steel; he also dramatised/wrote all three series of Chocky, devised from the book by John Wyndham. A return to the world of Sherlock Holmes with The Baker Street Boys earned him an award from the Writers' Guild of Great Britain. During the 1980s he moved away from writing for television, though he did contribute to the medium occasionally, notable writing several episodes for The Adventures of Swiss Family Robinson in 1998.

A long-time friend with David Fisher (hailing back to the 1960s), the pair collaborated on a number of non-fiction works, including The Fall of Berlin, The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence and Colonel Z: The Secret Life of a Master of Spies. He also wrote a number of solo works focussed around the Second World War, including winning the Wingate Literary Prize for Kristallnacht; however he also kept up his fictional ties, especially with regard to his soft spot, The Baker Street Boys.

(Anthony Read, 21st April 1935 - 21st November 2015)

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