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Peter Graham Scott

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TV director and producer Peter Graham Scott was a key figure in television drama in the seventies and eighties and was responsible for top rating series including The Avengers, Mogul, The Troubleshooters, and, most successfully, The Onedin Line, which ran for 9 years.

He was much admired by fellow directors as well as actors and was renowned for his film editing skills, which he had honed in the forties while working for J Arthur Rank on films such as Brighton Rock.

Born in East Sheen, Surrey, on October 27, 1923, Scott was educated at Isleworth county school. With an interest in acting he won a scholarship to the Italia Conti School. He inserted Graham before his surname at the beginning of his career to avoid confusion with the naturalist.

He had a small role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Young and Innocent (1937) and during the war served as a Royal Artillery officer and worked in the films division of the Ministry of Information.

In 1947 he was a film editor on Brighton Rock, starring Richard Attenborough, as well as The Perfect Woman and River Beat.

He broke into television in the early fifties, firstly with Associated Rediffusion, directing single productions such as The Last Enemy (1956) and the TV version of Brendan Behan’s prison drama The Quare Fellow (1958). He also produced the ghost series, One Step Beyond.

Later he alternated between BBC and ITV and in the sixties worked on both The Avengers, notably casting Diana Rigg as Emma Peel for the series, and The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan. In 1964 he directed The Four Seasons of Rosie Carr (BBC), a Ted Willis drama set in Australia.

One of Scott’s biggest successes in the sixties was Mogul – later titled The Troubleshooters – the long running BBC drama series about the power struggles of the oil industry. Starring Geoffrey Keen and Ray Barrett, the programme ran from 1965-72 and was sold internationally.

In 1969 Scott worked on The Borderers (BBC), the Scottish drama series starring Iain Cuthbertson about rustlers and poachers in the 17th century.

Two years later he produced one of television’s greatest hits, The Onedin Line, the long-running saga of a Liverpool shipping line, which made stars of Peter Gilmore, Kate Nelligan and Jill Gascoine. Running for nine years, the show was derived from a one-off Drama Playhouse presentation in 1970 and became a stalwart of BBC1’s Saturday nights. Its evocative theme music, from the ballet Spartacus, is fondly remembered by viewers. Scott produced all the first three series, scripted one and directed five others.

Other TV credits included Quiller (1975), The Expert (1976) Follow Me (1977 mini-series), The Doombolt Chase (1978 mini-series), Kidnapped (ITV 1979) starring David McCallum and The Master of Ballantrae (1984) with John Gielgud and Timothy Dalton.

In 1960 Scott was chairman of the Guild of Television Producers (later known as Bafta) and in 1979 he was made a fellow of the Royal Television Society. In 1984 he was presented with the society’s award for outstanding services. He wrote a revealing and amusing autobiography, British Television: An Insider’s History (1999).

He died on August 5, aged 83, and is survived by his wife Rosemary (known as Mimi) and their two daughters. Two sons predeceased him.

Patrick Newley

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