Prior, Allan 1922-2006

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PRIOR, Allan 1922-2006


See index for CA sketch: Born January 13, 1922, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England; died June 1, 2006. Author. Prior was a successful novelist and television writer best known for his scripts for British television police series such as Z Cars. He first became interested in writing while serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II. A fellow soldier showed him a story he was writing for a competition, and Prior thought he might enter too. Prior won the contest and started submitting stories to literary magazines with some success. After the war, he found a civil service job, but it was so dull he gave it up to become a freelance writer. Prior got his feet wet writing radio scripts for the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) and soon had his first novel published in 1951, the critically well-received A Flame in the Air. Also writing for both BBC and ITV television programs, he scored his first big success came with the 1960s series Z Cars, a realistic police drama that was grittier and more cutting-edge than similar British programs. Prior earned a Screenwriters Guild award for the series. It inspired two spin-offs for which Prior also wrote: Softly Softly and Barlow at Large. Meanwhile, he continued to contribute television plays for Armchair Theatre from 1965 to 1976. More recent television and radio work included The Charmer (1987), The Old Man and Me (1994), and Fuhrer (1995). Highly prolific, Prior would eventually pen over three hundred television scripts, as well as about twenty novels. As a novelist, Prior's forte was crime fiction, such as One Away (1961), which won a Crime Writers Association award, The Operators (1966), and Her Majesty's Hit Man (1987), among others. He adapted a number of his screenplays to book form, too; his last books include The West Pier (1999) and Mr. Stimpson and Mr. Gorse (2002). Among Prior's honors were three Writers Guild of Great Britain awards for his television dramas and a 1961 Grand Prix de Literature Policier.



Times (London, England), June 6, 2006, p. 65.