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John Maynard

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Actor, writer, film and TV script editor John Maynard, who died aged 71, was best known for his work on the BBC soap EastEnders. Working alongside his friend and colleague, Tony Holland, he was instrumental in shaping the early days of the soap, acting as a buffer between Tony Holland and its producer Julia Smith. He also helped create some of the long running EastEnders characters and have a lot of his time to helping trainee script editors develop this unsung but essential craft.

Born in Colchester, Essex, on November 29, 1936, he trained initially as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and then worked in repertory at Hornchurch and Clacton (acting as a dresser to Stanley Baxter) before playing the juvenile lead in the West End production of John Osborne’s double bill Plays for England.

He was first invited to join the BBC’s script department in the sixties after submitting a television play he had written. His first major editing job was in 1965 writing a TV adaptation of EM Forster’s A Passage to India for Play of the Month, directed by Waris Hussein. Much work for the BBC followed including Dr Finlay’s Casebook, Z Cars, Softly Softly, Brett, The Spies and many other productions.

He subsequently went to work in Australia to work on The Sullivans, followed by 18 months with the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation and then at the request of Peter Wildeblood he was invited to Canada to work on The Great Detective and Judge for CBC.

In 1986 he was asked back by the BBC to edit EastEnders and continued there until the nineties, when he became part of the team developing and creating Eldorado. He was also sent by the BBC to work in Kazakhstan to help the country develop a TV soap of its own.

John was a kind, unselfish and modest man, who often made light of his many achievements, but accomplished so much all over the world in his busy, productive life.

He died on February 2.

Gilly Fraser 

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