Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Plater, Alan Frederick from Chambers Biographical Dictionary

1935-2010

English dramatist

Born in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, he trained as an architect, and his writing was first published in Punch (1958). From 1960 he built up an enormous body of work, reflecting his working-class background, his political beliefs and his interest in jazz. He was a regular writer for the BBC series Z Cars (1963-65), and his many television plays include Ted's Cathedral (1964), Close the Coalhouse Door (1968) and The Land of Green Ginger (1974). He was also responsible for the literate and skilled screen translations The Good Companions (1980), Fortunes of War (1987) and A Very British Coup (1988). Equally prolific in other media, he contributed to The Guardian, and wrote film scripts, such as The Virgin and the Gypsy (1969) and Priest of Love (1980), and the novels Misterioso (1987) and The Beiderbecke Affair (1985, from his television series of the same title). His television adaptation of Chris Mullin's political novel A Very British Coup (1988) won a string of awards and was syndicated internationally. His 1999 play Peggy for You, starring Maureen Lipman as the playwrights' agent Peggy Ramsay (1908-91) was nominated for an Olivier award, and his 2004 play Blonde Bombshells of 1943, about an all-woman band, is based on his television film The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2000). He was made Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (1985) and the Royal Society of Arts (1991), and received a BAFTA Writer's Award in 1989. He was made a CBE in 2005.

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

Related Credo Articles

Full text Article Plater, Alan (Frederick) (1935 - )
The Cambridge Guide to Theatre

He began writing television plays (see Television Drama ), several of which he adapted for the stage. A Smashing Day (1965)...

Full text Article Plater, Alan (Frederick) (1935 - )
The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English

He is best known for his long career of writing for television, which has ranged from scripts for Z Cars and Softly, Softly ...

See more from Credo