The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970) - News Poster

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Patrick Gowers obituary

Composer renowned for his film and TV scores

A composer’s study might be expected to contain artefacts designed to encourage the muse, but you would be hard pressed to find a greater variety than those of Patrick Gowers, who has died aged 78. Music scores of every period, CDs of jazz, Bach cantatas and the French impressionists Debussy and Ravel, mathematical tomes, computers, the Bible, poetry, partially dismantled synthesizers and a battered Bechstein upright piano; this incomplete list reveals only some of Patrick’s eclectic passions, from which he picked certain elements and produced music of great originality.

It made its biggest impact through film and TV scores, from the late 60s onwards. An early break was Hamlet (1969), directed by Tony Richardson and starring Nicol Williamson. The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970) followed, with an impressive cast that included Franco Nero, Joanna Shimkus and Honor Blackman. Patrick’s ability to create
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You've been Djangoed! Ten Spaghetti Cowboys that shaped the genre

Keeping up with his career plan of paying homage to every film genre going, Quentin Tarantino has moved onto the spaghetti western with Django Unchained (2012). It’s not a remake of the pasta classic Django (1966), or indeed a spaghetti western, but it has clearly taken its inspiration from those violent Italian productions that swamped the late sixties.

Hollywood may have dominated the field since the beginning of motion pictures but European westerns are not exactly new; the earliest known one was filmed in 1910. Sixties German cinema made good use of Kay May’s western heroes Shatterhand and Winnetou, and the British produced The Savage Guns (1961), Hannie Caulder (1971), A Town Called Bastard (1971), Catlow (1971), Chato’s Land (1972) and Eagle’s Wing (1979). When the genre showed signs of flagging in the mid-sixties, a clever Italian director named Sergio Leone took it upon himself to reinvent the western – spaghetti style!

What made the spaghettis
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Alan Plater obituary

Popular northern dramatist for TV, theatre and radio, his works guaranteed humour, heart and humanity

Alan Plater, who has died of cancer aged 75, was one of a handful of writers, including Jack Rosenthal, Dennis Potter and Simon Gray, who truly made a difference on British television in the golden age of comedy, drama series and the single play. Like the other two Alans – Bennett and Bleasdale – his name guaranteed a quality of humour, heart and humanity, usually matched by high standards of acting and production values. And like them, he was definitely "northern".

He wrote 18 episodes of the BBC's pioneering police series Z Cars between 1963 and 1965, and 30 episodes for its sequel, Softly Softly. His gift of writing supple, salty dialogue for working-class characters was similarly displayed in Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt (1976-77), a series developed from his own single play and starring Bill Maynard as the inept handyman with the thumbs-up catchphrase "Magic!
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