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