Richard Carpenter (screenwriter)

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Richard Carpenter
Born (1929-08-14)14 August 1929
King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, UK
Died 26 February 2012(2012-02-26) (aged 82)
Hertfordshire, England, UK
Occupation Screenwriter, author, actor
Years active 1957–2001
Spouse(s) Annabelle Lee (m. 1954)
Children 2

Richard Michael Carpenter (14 August 1929 – 26 February 2012)[1] was an English screenwriter, author, and actor who created a number of British television series, including Robin of Sherwood and Catweazle.

Early life[edit]

Born in King's Lynn, Norfolk,[2] Carpenter attended the Old Vic Theatre School before starting an acting career by working in repertory theatre. At the time of his death (as confirmed by several sources cited on this page), he was widely believed to have been four years younger than he actually was, which was most likely the result of taking them off his "official" age during his early acting career.


Carpenter appeared in occasional films, but was mostly active on British TV in the 1960s as a character actor, on one occasion opposite Tony Hancock in one of his last shows for the BBC, commonly known as "The Bowmans". Other TV shows in which he appeared in the 1960s included Z-Cars, Dixon of Dock Green, and Gideon's Way.

In 1969, Carpenter created Catweazle, the children's series about an unfortunate wizard from the 11th century who is accidentally transported to the present day. This changed the course of his career substantially. Carpenter earned international recognition and a Writers Guild award for creating the cult children's TV series.[3]

During the 1970s, he wrote the series The Ghosts of Motley Hall (1976–1978), Dick Turpin (1979–1982), parts of the series The Famous Five and Doctor Snuggles, and 17 episodes of The Adventures of Black Beauty for ITV; and Cloud Burst, The Boy from Space, and The King's Dragon as part of BBC's Look and Read (1967–2004) programme for schools, some episodes of which he also presented.

In the 1980s came the historical adventures Smuggler and its later antipodean-based follow-up Adventurer and between them, the lavish HTV production Robin of Sherwood, which ran for three series. Carpenter then worked on a number of series for children and families in the 1990s (The Winjin' Pom, Stanley's Dragon, and Out of Sight), some of which (The Borrowers, The Return of the Borrowers, and The Scarlet Pimpernel) were based on classic novels.

Carpenter wrote novelisations of many of the early series he created: Catweazle, Cloud Burst, The Ghosts of Motley Hall, Smuggler, Robin of Sherwood (two books), and two books of Dick Turpin.

Personal life[edit]

Carpenter married Annabelle Lee in 1957. They had two children and remained married until his death.


On 26 February 2012, at the age of 82, Carpenter died in Hertfordshire from a pulmonary embolism.[4][5][6]



  1. ^ Anthony Hayward "Richard Carpenter obituary", The Guardian, 5 March 2012
  2. ^ Alistair McGown Carpenter, Richard (1929–2012), BFI screenonline page
  3. ^ Minovitz, Ethan (3 March 2012). ""Dr. Snuggles" Writer Richard Carpenter Dies at 78". Big Cartoon News. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Abbie Bernstein "In Memoriam: ROBIN OF SHERWOOD creator Richard Carpenter passes at age 78", AssignmentX, 27 February 2012
  5. ^ Alex Farber "Catweazle creator Richard Carpenter dies", Broadcast, 29 February 2012
  6. ^ "Richard Carpenter, creator of Catweazle, dies aged 78". BBC News. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 


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