Obituary: Peter Whalley

Peter Whalley in 1983. Photo: Mervyn Berens Peter Whalley in 1983. Photo: Mervyn Berens

Peter Whalley earned a place in television lore as the most prolific writer for ITV’s long-running soap opera Coronation Street, contributing 600 episodes over 35 years from 1979.

Among many memorable moments he was responsible for on Weatherfield’s famed cobblestones were Mavis Wilton’s tearful departure, David Platt dramatically jinxing the wedding of his sister Sarah to Jason Grimshaw by driving his car into a canal, and Jack Duckworth’s poignant serenading of his dying wife, Vera.

He began writing in earnest during the decade he spent as an English teacher, initially for BBC Radio 4 – to which he contributed more than 30 plays, before making his television breakthrough in 1976 with A Man of Morality, starring Alec McCowen. The Stage noted Whalley’s “gift for establishing atmosphere in a very few words”.

His other television credits included episodes of Angels and Albion Market and the dramas Suspicion, starring Adrian Dunbar and Amanda Redman (2003), The Baby War, with Gina McKee (2005) and the Shane Richie-led The Good Samaritan (2007).

Whalley also created the controversial 13-part Jury, profiling jurors in a rape trial (1983) and London-based soap Castles (1995).

Dominated by thrillers and whodunnits, his plays included the “high-value entertainment” Local Murder: The Maroon Cortina (Liverpool Playhouse Studio, 1984) and Dead of Night, with Philip Madoc, at the Liverpool Playhouse and on tour in 1989.

Peter Whalley was born on March 12, 1946, and died on July 26, aged 71