Wilfred Greatorex

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Wilfred Greatorex
BornWilfred Glyn Greatorex
27 May 1921
Liverpool, England
Died14 October 2002(2002-10-14) (aged 81)
Taplow, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
OccupationTelevision writer, Screenwriter, script editor, Television producer

Wilfred Glyn Greatorex (27 May 1921 – 14 October 2002[1]) was an English television and film writer, script editor and producer. He was creator of such series as Secret Army, 1990, Plane Makers and its sequel The Power Game, Hine, Brett, Man At The Top, Man From Haven and The Inheritors.[2] He also wrote the screenplay for the 1969 film Battle of Britain.[1] He was described by The Guardian newspaper as "one of the most prolific and assured of television script-writers and editors from the 1960s into the 1980s".[3] Starting off as a journalist, he got his big break as a TV writer on Lew Grade's ATV service writing dramas about journalism, such as Deadline Midnight and Front Page Story.[3]

As a TV script editor he also worked on series such as Danger Man[1] and was also creator/producer of The Inheritors, Hine and The Power Game.[1] Papers discovered at a Norfolk auction house in 2011 reveal that 'Hine' had a budget of £84,000, the equivalent of close to £1m some forty years later.

In 1977, he came up with the dystopian drama series 1990 for BBC2, starring Edward Woodward. Greatorex dubbed the series "Nineteen Eighty-Four plus six".[4] Over its two series it portrayed "a Britain in which the rights of the individual had been replaced by the concept of the common good – or, as I put it more brutally, a consensus tyranny."[3] The same year he also devised (with Gerard Glaister) the BBC1 wartime drama Secret Army. The show later inspired the sitcom parody 'Allo 'Allo!.[5]

When talking about his writing style he said "I am opposed to soft-centred characters, which is why I don't create a lot of Robin Hoods. The world's full of hard cases, real villains. And they need to be confronted with other characters just as hard."[2]

His last series for television was Airline in 1982 (starring Roy Marsden).[5] He died in of renal failure in Buckinghamshire in 2002.[1]

Writing credits[edit]

Production Notes Broadcaster
The Net
  • "Tender Job" (1962)
  • "A Date with Janie" (1962)
  • "Not for Peanuts" (1962)
  • "Dover Relief" (1962)
  • "The Weekend Fliers" (1962)
  • "Not Wanted on Voyage" (1962)
Look at Life
  • "Look at Life: Men of the Woods" (1963)
  • "Look at Life: High, Wide and Faster" (1963)
  • "Look at Life: Europe Grows Together" (1963)
  • "Look at Life: Draw the Fires" (1963)
  • "Look at Life: Caught in the Cold" (1963)
  • "Look at Life: Back*"room of the Sky" (1963)
  • "Look at Life: The New Australians" (1964)
  • "Look at Life: Off the Sheeps Back" (1964)
  • "Look at Life: Men of the Snowy" (1964)
  • "Look at Life: Constant Hot Water" (1964)
  • "Look at Life: City of the Air" (1964)
  • "Look at Life: The Big Take*"Off" (1966)
  • "Look at Life: School for Skymen" (1966)
  • "Look at Life: Evening Paper" (1966)
  • "Look at Life: Eating High" (1966)
  • "Look at Life: Murder Bag" (1967)
  • "Everybody's in: Goodnight!" (1963)
The Plane Makers
  • "A Question of Sources" (1963)
  • "Strings in Whitehall" (1963)
  • "The Island Game" (1964)
Danger Man
  • "The Professionals" (1964)
  • "Fair Exchange" (1964)
The Power Game
  • "Point of Balance" (1966)
  • "Late Via Rome" (1966)
  • "The Man with Two Hats" (1966)
  • "The Front Men" (1966)
  • "The Chicken Run" (1966)
  • "Safe Conduct" (1966)
  • "One Via Zurich" (1969)
  • "The Outsider" (1969)
  • "The Heart Market" (1969)
  • "The New Minister" (1969)
  • "Mergers" (1969)
ITV Playhouse
  • "The Curtis Affair" (1968)
Nobody Runs Forever
  • Feature film (1968)
Man in a Suitcase
  • "The Boston Square" (1968)
  • "Property of a Gentleman" (1968)
Battle of Britain
  • Feature film (1969)
Big Brother
  • Television miniseries (1970)
  • 13 episodes (1971)
Love Story
  • "Night of the Tanks" (1972)
The Man from Haven
  • "Pilot" (1972)
The Frighteners
  • "You Remind Me of Someone" (1972)
The Inheritors
  • 6 episodes (1974)
Oil Strike North
  • 6 episodes (1975)
The Mackinnons
  • "Whose Side Are You On?" (1977)
  • 16 episodes (1977–1978)
  • 9 episodes (1982)


  1. ^ a b c d e "Wilfred Greatorex". IMDb. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
  2. ^ a b Vahimagi, Tise. "Greaterox, Wilfred (1922–2002)". Screenonline. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
  3. ^ a b c Purser, Phillip (17 October 2002). "Obituary: Wilfred Greaterox". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
  4. ^ "1990 episode Guide". Action TV. Archived from the original on 9 May 2006. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Wilfred Greaterox obituary". London: The Times. 17 October 2002. Retrieved 2 March 2008.

External links[edit]