Dramatist Alan Plater dies at 75

A look back at the life of Alan Plater

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Playwright and screenwriter Alan Plater has died of cancer at the age of 75, his agent has confirmed.

Plater produced numerous works for the stage and screen, including seminal police drama Z Cars and an adaptation of The Barchester Chronicles.

His work was also featured on Armchair Theatre and The Wednesday Play, while he adapted World War II trilogy The Fortunes of War for TV.

Plater, who also penned six novels, was honoured with a CBE in 2005.

In the same year, he was presented with the Dennis Potter award for writing at the Baftas.

His other accolades included a lifetime achievement award from the Writers Guild of Great Britain in 2007.

Plater's agent Alexandra Cann told the BBC that he had been "very robust" until the final week of his life when he was admitted to a London hospice.

His final screenplay, a World War II drama called Joe Maddison's War, starring actor Robson Green, is due to be aired on ITV later this year.

Plater's Last of the Blonde Bombshells

Ms Cann said it would be a "fitting tribute" to the writer, who was able to see the drama in production.

Among the 200 full-length dramas he produced for the stage, screen and radio was the Beiderbecke trilogy and A Very British Coup, which won a Bafta in 1989.

His later work included Last of The Blonde Bombshells, which boasted Dame Judi Dench in the cast.

Plater was born in Jarrow-on-Tyne but moved to Hull with his family as a young child. He trained as an architect but left the profession after a short time to pursue a career in writing.

Plater, whose career spanned six decades, was celebrated for writing about ordinary people in ordinary settings.

He is said to have been pleased when a critic hailed his first TV play as combining the voices of Coronation Street and the spirit of Chekov.

The dramatist later said that being invited to write for Z Cars was "like a Papal blessing... it was the biggest thing that had ever hit British television".

Plater went on to write 30 episodes for Softly, Softly - a later spin-off series of the gritty police drama.

His most recently-seen work was four episodes of detective serial Lewis, the last of which screened earlier this year.

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