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Peter Bryant

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Television producer Peter Bryant began his career as an actor and was one of the original stars of The Grove Family, British television’s first soap opera, broadcast from 1954-57.

Bryant was cast as the older son Jack and at the height of the soap’s popularity he was receiving huge amounts of fan mail. Nine million viewers tuned in to each episode, a quarter of the population at the time, and the Queen Mother declared herself a keen fan. On visiting the set one day, she said that the Grove family were “so English, so real”.

Bryant was born in London on October 27, 1923 and began his acting career in repertory. He played several small roles in films and in 1953 was cast as Edgar in a television production of Wuthering Heights, opposite Richard Todd and Yvonne Mitchell.

After starring in The Grove Family he became a BBC radio announcer while writing radio scripts in his spare time.

A literate man with a keen eye for promising new writers, he became a script editor in the BBC radio drama department and eventually the head of the drama script unit.

In the sixties he transferred from radio to television and began a long association with the hugely successful Doctor Who series. Initially working as a script editor, he became an associate producer working on several of the most famous stories including The Faceless Ones and The Evil of the Daleks.

He was full producer for the bulk of Patrick Troughton’s Doctor Who stories and was influential in the casting of Jon Pertwee, who took over from Troughton. In 1969 he was a producer for the BBC detective series Paul Temple, starring Francis Matthews as a literary private eye.

Bryant also worked as a director in the theatre and worked on productions at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre.

In 1999 he directed the actor Gerald Moon in his one man show about variety, Guinness Permitting, which featured material from the comedians Al Read and Mrs Shufflewick (Rex Jameson).

In his later career Bryant was a successful literary agent, mainly specialising in children’s books. One of his clients was Doctor Who writer Eric Pringle.

A genial and popular man who enjoyed good company and a large glass of red wine, Bryant was a well known member of the Green Room Club. During the past year he had been suffering from cancer.

He died on May 19, aged 82.

Patrick Newley

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