Dick Sharples, British scriptwriter, Died at 88

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Dick Sharples was born on June 7, 1927, and passed away on October 19, 2015.

Dick was a British TV scriptwriter of British sitcoms. He has also written novels, plays and drama series (for both television and radio).

Dick Sharples was born in Manchester. He began his career as a cartoonist and a writer for a Manchester Advertising Agency.

One of the agency’s customers was comedian Al Read who ran a meat pie company called H. Read and Son.

Dick wrote the tagline “potatoes and meat, simply heat” for the company’s fritters.

A chance meeting with a local, jobbing printer called Archie Carmichael led to Sharples writing his first novel whilst still a teenager.

The Man Who Rode By Night was a 40,000 word Western, and led to Dick being paid 21 shillings for every thousand words.

One of Sharples’ first television writing credits was for the 1956 ATV series Joan and Leslie, starring Harry Towb and Noel Dyson.

Other early television work included writing episodes of soap opera Compact, drama series The Saint, and Dixon of Dock Green.

Early screenplays included collaborating with Gerald Kelsey (one of the Joan and Leslie co-writers) on the 1961 comedy film The Golden Rabbit which starred Willoughby Goddard.

Up to now, Dick had concentrated on delivering scripts for other peoples’ series.

This was, however, soon to change. In 1969 Sharples wrote a one-off comedy episode called In Loving Memory.

Broadcast on 4 November 1969, the story was based in a rural Yorkshire undertakers.

It starred Edward Chapman as Jeremiah Unsworth, and Marjorie Rhodes as his daughter Ivy.

Also cast was Christopher Beeny as Ivy’s slightly silly nephew.

Almost ten years later, the Unsworths returned to television in a seven part series.

Christopher Beeny returned to the role of nephew Billy, but the other roles were re-cast.

Thora Hird took on the role of Ivy, whilst Freddie Jones played Jeremiah.

The first episode of the series was broadcast on 21 May 1979 and ran for five series, the final episode being broadcast on 27 March 1986.

In the long gap between the pilot and the first series, Sharples worked on many other series, including a four-year stint as script editor on the UK version of General Hospital.

Dick has proven himself as a writer who could carry a long-running series, so it was inevitable that further shows would follow.

In 1981, Dick penned another Thora Hird comedy vehicle called Hallelujah!. Running for two series, it was set in a Northern branch of the Salvation Army and co-starred Patsy Rowlands.

With In Loving Memory coming to an end, Sharples turned to writing Farrington of the F.O., a sitcom starring Angela Thorne as the eponymous Farrington.

Set in a British consulate in an unidentified Latin American country, the series co-starred Joan Sims, who had made several guest appearances for Sharples in In Loving Memory.

For the second series, the title was modified to simply Farrington, and the show came to an end after 14 episodes.

Dick died at age 88 in October 2015.

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