Vince Powell

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Vince Powell
BornVincent Joseph Smith
(1928-08-06)6 August 1928
Miles Platting, Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Died13 July 2009(2009-07-13) (aged 80)
Guildford, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Notable worksHere's Harry (1960–1965)
Pardon the Expression (1965–1966)
George and the Dragon (1966–1968)
Never Mind the Quality Feel the Width (1967–1971)
Best of Enemies (1968–1969)
Nearest and Dearest (1968–1973)
Two in Clover (1969–1970)
For the Love of Ada (1970–1971)
Bless This House (1971–1976)
Love Thy Neighbour (1972–1976)
Spring and Autumn (1972–1976)
The Wackers (1975)
Rule Britannia! (1975)
My Son Reuben (1975)
Odd Man Out (1977)
Mind Your Language (1977–1979, 1986)
Young at Heart (1980–1982)
Never the Twain (1983–1991)
Bottle Boys (1984–1985)
Slinger's Day (1986–1987)
Cilla's Celebration (1993)
For Better Or For Worse (Radio 2, 1993–1996)

Vincent Joseph Powell[1] (6 August 1928 – 13 July 2009) was a British television scriptwriter. He was known for his collaboration with writing partner Harry Driver.

Early life[edit]

Powell was born as Vincent Joseph Smith to Roman Catholic parents in Miles Platting, Manchester. When he was five, his mother died; two years later, his father remarried. Powell began a career as a tailor following the lead of his father, while performing as a comedian in the evenings. It was on the local club circuit that Powell first met Harry Driver. A performing partnership under the name Hammond and Powell lasted until 1955 when Driver's health and physical mobility became severely impaired by the onset of polio.[2]


With his writing partner, Harry Driver, the partnership was hired to write material for comedian Harry Worth in Manchester for the BBC in 1960.[3] The show, Here's Harry (co-written with Frank Roscoe) ran for five years.[4] The partnership, was better known for writing for ITV franchise holders from the early-1960s beginning with Coronation Street from 1961; Powell ceased writing for the programme in 1964, but Driver's involvement continued until he died in 1973.[4] Powell and Driver created and wrote 11 sitcoms for ITV in an eight-year period, including the shows Bless This House (with Sid James) and Love Thy Neighbour, though other writers contributed scripts to both series. The latter programme, according to The Times, was "one of television’s most notorious, if at the time highly popular, comedies". While it was "intended to debunk racial stereotypes" it "came to be widely condemned for doing exactly the opposite."[3]

Other popular series created and written by them for ITV include:

Script projects[edit]

After Driver died, Powell went solo at scriptwriting and created later shows such as:

  • The Wackers (1975), set in mid-1970s Liverpool, starring Ken Jones and Sheila Fay, along with Joe Gladwin.
  • Mind Your Language (1977–1979, 1986), starring Barry Evans (fresh from success, on the Doctor... series) as the English-Foreign Language teacher Mr Jeremy Brown, set in an adult education college of foreign characters in late-1970s London.
  • Young at Heart (1977–1982),
  • Bottle Boys (1984–85), starring Robin Askwith as Dave Deacon, a football-obsessed Milkman in mid-1980s Britain.

Powell also penned a number of scripts for the popular 1980s sitcom Never the Twain (1981–1991) starring Windsor Davies and Donald Sinden, also for Thames Television, writing all of the final episodes from 1989 to 1991. Plus he wrote 3 series (20 episodes) of the Radio 2 sitcom For Better Or For Worse, starring Gorden Kaye and Su Pollard, between 1993 and 1996.

Powell contributed material to the Cilla Black vehicles Blind Date (224 episodes) and Surprise, Surprise (130 episodes).[4] He published his autobiography, From Rags to Gags, in 2008.


Powell died aged 80 in Guildford, Surrey. His first marriage ended in divorce; as did his second marriage, to Judi Smith. His third marriage, to Geraldine Moore, ended when he died. He had a son from his second marriage, and a son and daughter from his third.

Writing credits[edit]

Production Notes Broadcaster/Distributor
Here's Harry
  • 51 episodes (1960–1965)
Coronation Street
  • 18 episodes (1961–1962, 1964-1967)
De Laatste Trein
  • Television film (co-written with Harry Driver and Frank Roscoe, 1962)
The Saturday Show
  • 3 episodes (co-written with Frank Roscoe, 1962)
De Rally
  • Television film (co-written with Harry Driver and Frank Roscoe, 1962)
Herrie om Harrie
  • 7 episodes (co-written with Frank Roscoe, 1963-1964)
Comedy Playhouse
  • "Fools Rush In" (co-written with Frank Roscoe, 1963)
  • "The Mascot" (co-written with Frank Roscoe, 1963)
  • "Spanner in the Works" (co-written with Harry Driver, 1967)
The Villains
  • "Les Girls" (co-written with Harry Driver, 1964)
Pardon the Expression
  • 16 episodes (co-written with Harry Driver, 1965-1966)
Adam Adamant Lives!
  • "Beauty Is an Ugly Word" (co-written with Harry Driver, 1966)
  • "The Village of Evil" (co-written with Harry Driver, 1966)
  • "Conspiracy of Death" (co-written with Harry Driver, 1967)
  • "The Survivors" (co-written with Harry Driver, 1967)
  • "The Deadly Bullet" (co-written with Harry Driver, 1967)
George and the Dragon
  • 26 episodes (co-written with Harry Driver, 1966-1968)
That's Show Business
  • Television film (co-written with Harry Driver, 1967)
Armchair Theatre
  • "Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width" (co-written with Harry Driver, 1967)
Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width
  • 29 episodes (co-written with Harry Driver, 1967-1971)
ABC Television
Best of Enemies
  • 5 episodes (co-written with Harry Driver, 1968–1969)
Nearest and Dearest
  • 13 episodes (co-written with Harry Driver, 1968–1973)
Two in Clover
  • 13 episodes (co-written with Harry Driver, 1969–1970)
For the Love of Ada
  • 27 episodes (co-written with Harry Driver, 1970–1971)
Bless This House
  • 13 episodes (co-written with Harry Driver, 1971–1974)
Mike and Bernie
  • 6 episodes (co-written with Harry Driver, 1971–1972)
Love Thy Neighbour
  • 42 episodes (1972–1975)
Spring & Autumn
  • 26 episodes (1972–1976)
All Star Comedy Carnival
  • "Love Thy Neighbour" (mini-episode, 1972)
  • "Spring and Autumn" (mini-episode, 1973)
For the Love of Ada
  • Feature film (co-written with Harry Driver, 1972)
Tigon British Film Productions
Cheap at Half the Price
  • Television film (co-written with Harry Driver, 1972)
Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width
  • Feature film (co-written with Harry Driver, 1973)
Love Thy Neighbour
  • Feature film (co-written with Harry Driver, 1973)
The Wackers
  • 6 episodes (1975)
My Son Reuben
  • 6 episodes (1975)
Rule Britannia!
  • 7 episodes (1975)
Paradise Island
  • "A Stranger in Paradise" (1977)
The Fosters
  • "Who Needs Friends?" (1977)
Odd Man Out
  • 7 episodes (1977)
Mind Your Language
  • 42 episodes (1977-1979, 1986)
Carry On Emmannuelle
  • Feature film (additional material, 1978)
Give Us a Clue
  • 2 episodes (1979, 1981)
Love Thy Neighbour in Australia
  • 7 episodes (1979)
Seven Network
Young at Heart
  • 19 episodes (1980-1982)
Home Sweet Home
  • "No Flame Like an Old Flame" (1980)
A Sharp Intake of Breath
  • 6 episodes (1981)
Ik ben Joep Meloen
  • Feature film (1981)
Father Charlie
  • "The New Chaplain" (1982)
  • "Miracles Take a Little Longer" (1982)
  • "Halfway to Heaven" (1982)
  • "Better the Devil You Know" (1982)
An Age Apart
  • "A Log Way from Home" (1983)
  • "Don't Rock the Boat" (1983)
  • "Out of the Frying Pan" (1983)
  • "Home Is Where the Heart Is" (1983)
Never the Twain
  • 31 episodes (1983-1984, 1986-1991)
Bottle Boys
  • 13 episodes (1984-1985)
Mixed Doubles
  • "Semper Fidelis" (1985)
  • "TV or Not TV" (1985)
  • "The Facts of Life" (1986)
  • "If at First You Don't Succeed" (1986)
Slinger's Day
  • 6 episodes (1986-1987)
  • Television film (co-written with Andrew Nickolds and Miles Tredinnick, 1987)
Channel 4


  1. ^ Hayward, Anthony (18 July 2009). "Vince Powell: Prolific sitcom writer who co-created Love Thy Neighbour and Bless This House". The Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  2. ^ Oliver, John. "Driver, Harry (1931-1973) and Powell, Vince (1928-2009)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Vince Powell: comedy writer of Love Thy Neighbour". The Times. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2019. (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c "Vince Powell". The Daily Telegraph. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2019.

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