Obituary: John G Temple
A fortnight before former contributor to The Stage John G Temple became Coronation Street’s 21st producer in March 1985, the BBC launched its own soap opera.
EastEnders proved to be an increasingly irritable thorn in Temple’s side during his three-year tenure on Granada’s cobbled streets, provoking him into several public spats with the recently formed Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board regarding viewing figures that saw Walford besting Weatherfield.
Temple’s association with Coronation Street stretched back to the early 1970s when he served as a storyliner for nearly 240 episodes. He had also produced two episodes in 1984. Charged with bringing the soap into the 21st century, he oversaw some of the Street’s biggest storylines, including the marriages of Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) to Sally Metcalfe (Sally Dynevor) and Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) to Alec Gilroy (Roy Barraclough), and the fire that destroyed the Rovers Return.
Born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Temple was smitten by light entertainment at an early age and tried his hand, unsuccessfully, as a tap-dancing, joke-telling, ukulele banjo-playing singer. In the late 1960s, he wrote The Stage’s weekly ‘Hot from Scotland’ column (sharing duties with Gordon Irving) before briefly forming his own talent agency. He later served as entertainments consultant to the hotel and restaurant chain operated by Reo Stakis in Scotland and northern England.
His first job in television was as a continuity writer for Scottish Television, for whom he also co-devised and wrote three series starring local comedian Lex McLean. His breakthrough came as script associate on the first two series of Geoffrey Lancashire’s hit Granada sitcom The Cuckoo Waltz (1975-76), and as producer of its third and fourth series in 1977 and 1980.
He followed it with a string of comedies, including 1979’s Take My Wife (starring Duggie Brown, Elisabeth Sladen and Victor Spinetti), David Nobbs’ The Glamour Girls (again with Brown, 1980) and Foxy Lady (1982-84), which reunited him with The Cuckoo Waltz’s Lancashire and co-star Diane Keen.
In 1984, he produced the second series of Alfresco, a zeitgeist variety show featuring emerging, alternative comedy stars Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Robbie Coltrane.
After stepping down from Coronation Street in 1987, Temple worked as a script executive in Television South’s entertainment department and served as executive producer on comedian Bobby Davro’s short-lived Davro (1990) and as story editor of the multi-authored Perfect Scoundrels (1991), starring Peter Bowles.
In 1992, he joined Scottish Television to launch its Gaelic-language drama Machair, produced Taggart and several episodes of daytime soap Take the High Road (which he retitled High Road) the following year.
John Goldie Temple was born on August 8, 1933. Frail from a succession of strokes, he died on January 15, aged 84.