Peter Tinniswood

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Peter Tinniswood (21 December 1936 – 9 January 2003) was an English radio and TV comedy scriptwriter, and author of a series of popular cricketing novels. He was born in Liverpool, but grew up above a dry cleaner's on Eastway in Sale, Greater Manchester.

Early career[edit]

Tinniswood attended Sale Boys' Grammar School. His career began in journalism. He spent four years in Sheffield from 1958, first working for The Star, and then for the Sheffield Telegraph, where he was a leader writer and specialised in feature writing. He won widespread admiration for a week-long series Travels with a Donkey, an account of a tramp round the Peak District with a reluctant donkey.

Television and radio[edit]

In 1964 Tinniswood collaborated with his long-term writing partner David Nobbs on the BBC sketch show The Frost Report[1] and the comedy Lance At Large, starring Lance Percival. It was an innovative attempt to update the sitcom formula, as Percival's character, Alan Day, was involved in different scenarios and meeting different people in each episode.

The short-lived ITV series Never Say Die (1970) drew on Tinniswood's days as a hospital porter. Set in Victoria Memorial Hospital, the show focused on the comedy created between the patients and staff. It starred Reginald Marsh and Patrick Newell.

Tinniswood's best-known comedy was 1975's I Didn't Know You Cared featuring the Brandons, a dour northern family. Adapted for the BBC from his novels, the programme ran until 1979, and featured Liz Smith, Robin Bailey, John Comer and Stephen Rea.

In 1980 the BBC produced a series based on other Tinniswood books, featuring the character the Brigadier, an erstwhile cricketer and over-the-top raconteur, played by Robin Bailey. Some of the stories were adapted for BBC Radio 4. The series was remade in 1985 for Channel 4.

For ITV in 1983 Tinniswood wrote The Home Front, again set in the north of England. It starred Brenda Bruce as Mrs Place, a nosey, arrogant mother who lorded it over her three children. Two years later ITV produced Mog, based on Peter's 1970 novel and starring Enn Reitel as the title character. The episodes were written by Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement, but it was not a success. Also in 1985 was South Of The Border starring Brian Glover as Edgar Rowley, a Yorkshireman forced to migrate to the south of England.

In later years Tinniswood's output was mostly for Radio 4 and included the continuing adventures of Uncle Mort and Carter Brandon in Uncle Mort's North Country, Uncle Mort's South Country and Uncle Mort's Celtic Fringe and a series about poacher Winston Hayballs, his "bit of fluff" Nancy and her family adapted from his novel "Winston". Liz Goulding, his second wife, played Rosie.

A lifelong pipe smoker, Peter Tinniswood died of throat cancer at the age of 66. Since his death, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain and the Society of Authors have jointly administered in his memory the annual Tinniswood Award, to honour the best original radio drama script broadcast in the UK during the previous year, with a prize of £1500 for the winner.

TV credits[edit]

Novels and other fiction[2][edit]

  • A Touch Of Daniel (1969) – Winner of the Author's Club First Novel Award and Book of the Month choice
  • Mog (1970)
  • I Didn't Know You Cared (1973) – Winner of the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize from the Royal Society of Literature for best regional novel.[3]
  • Except You're A Bird (1974)
  • Shemerelda (1984)
  • Call it a Canary (1985)
  • Tales from Witney Scrotum
  • Hayballs
  • Dolly’s War
  • Witney Scrotum
  • Winston
  • Uncle Mort’s South Country
  • Tales From Witney Scrotum
  • Uncle Mort’s North Country
  • The Brigadier’s Brief Lives
  • The Brigadier’s Tour
  • The Brigadier In Season
  • The Home Front
  • The Brigadier Down Under
  • Collected Tales From A Long Room
  • More Tales From A Long Room, Tales From A Long Room
  • The Stirk Of Stirk

Radio credits[edit]

Radio drama[edit]

(snt = BBC Saturday-Night Theatre; aft = BBC Afternoon Theatre, m = monologue)

  • 1964 Hardluck Hall (6 x 30m, series of comedy plays)
  • 1973 Sam's Wedding (aft)
  • 1980 A Gifted Child (aft)
  • 1981 An Occasional Day (aft)
  • 1981 Stoker Leishman's Diaries (snt)
  • 1981 The Siege
  • 1981 The Bargeman's Comfort
  • 1985 Crossing the Frontier
  • 1987 A Touch Of Daniel (snt)
  • 1987 The Village Fete rpt. 1988 (snt)
  • 1990 A Small Union
  • 1992 Tales from the Brigadier
  • 1992 Two into Three
  • 1993 The Governor's Consort (for M. Wimbush) R3
  • 1995 Pen Pals
  • 1997 Secret life of the Shed–feature on shed life–with P.Tinniswood
  • 1997 Batteries not included-feature on batteries-with P.Tinniswood
  • 1997 A Very Rare Bird Indeed
  • 1998 The Last Obituary (for Billie Whitelaw;m),rpt 1999
  • 1998 Visiting Julia: 6-episode comedy drama series
  • 1998 Next time we might play better
  • 1998 The wireless lady
  • 1998 On the whole it's been jolly good (for Maurice Denham;m),rpt.1999
  • 1998 Verona-a conspiracy of parrots (for Stephanie Cole;m),rpt 1999
  • 1999 The House Swap
  • 1999 The Scan
  • 2000 Dorothy, a Manager's wife
  • 2000 Age Gap
  • 2000 The Packer
  • 2000 Admiral of the night
  • 2000 Monument (adapted from Eduardo De Filippo), dram.
  • 2001 The Duvet Lady (Billie Whitelaw monologue)
  • 2001 Mr. Reliable
  • 2001 Tales from the backbench (series 1, 4 episodes)
  • 2001 On the train from Chemnitz
  • 2001 Tales from the Backbench (series 2, 4 episodes)
  • 2002 On the whole it's been jolly good, rpt
  • 2002 The Air Raid
  • 2002 Anton in Eastbourne (for Paul Scofield)
  • 2003 The Goalkeeper's Boo-Boo
  • 2010 The Visitor (BBC Radio 4 7.10.2010, Roy Hudd and Emma Fielding)


(numbers show no. of episodes) [4][unreliable source?]

  • Home Again 6 (R4 2.6.1980– 7.7.1980 Robin Bailey/Doreen Mantle/Liz Goulding/David Troughton/Christopher Benjamin)
  • Uncle Mort's North Country 5 (R4 21.7.1988 -18.8.1988 Stephen Thorne/Peter Skellern/Christian Rodska)
  • Winston 6 (R4 26.4.1989– 31.5.1989 Maurice Denham/Christian Rodska/Shirley Dixon/Liz Goulding/Bill Wallis)
  • Winston Comes To Town 6 (R4 1.1.1990– 5.2.1990 Maurice Denham/Shirley Dixon/Liz Goulding/Christian Rodska/Bill Wallis)
  • Uncle Mort's South Country – Series 1 5 (R4 12.7.1990 9.8.1990 Stephen Thorne/Sam Kelly/Liz Goulding/Christian Rodska)
  • Uncle Mort's South Country – Series 2 5 (R4 27.10.1990 -24.11.1990 Stephen Thorne/Sam Kelly/Liz Goulding/Christopher Good/Christian Rodska)
  • Winston In Love 6 (R4 31.12.1990 -4.2.1991 Shirley Dixon/Bill Wallis/Maurice Denham/Liz Goulding/Christian Rodska)
  • Winston In Europe 6 (R4 12.3.1992 -16.4.1992 Shirley Dixon/Maurice Denham/Liz Goulding/Christian Rodska/Bill Wallis)
  • Winston Back Home 6 (R4 31.3.1994 -5.5.1994 Shirley Dixon/Maurice Denham/Liz Goulding/Christian Rodska/Bill Wallis)
  • Uncle Mort's Celtic Fringe 5 (R4 12.2.1996 -11.3.1996 Stephen Thorne/Sam Kelly/Christian Rodska/Liz Goulding)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Obituary for Peter Tinniswood, The Independent, 11 January 2003.
  2. ^ MBA Literary Agents Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  4. ^ Sutton Elms Radio Drama resource