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Re: Leslie Duxbury

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  • nidd1902
    (This obituary doesn t mention that Leslie Duxbury lived in Great Harwood) Leslie Duxbury Journalist and football reporter who was a writer for Coronation
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 20, 2005
      (This obituary doesn't mention that Leslie Duxbury lived in Great
      Harwood)

      Leslie Duxbury
      Journalist and football reporter who was a writer for 'Coronation
      Street' for 415 episodes and 25 years
      Published: 21 October 2005
      Leslie John Duxbury, writer and journalist: born Clayton-le-Moors,
      Lancashire 13 June 1926; married 1952 Ruth Whittaker (three sons);
      died Clayton-le-Moors 17 October 2005.

      For a quarter of a century, Leslie Duxbury was one of the writers
      who made Coronation Street Britain's most successful television
      programme, admired by viewers and critics alike for its realistic
      dialogue and finely drawn characterisations.

      He joined the ITV serial, set in a North of England back street,
      when legends such as Elsie Tanner, Ena Sharples, Annie Walker and
      Albert Tatlock lit up the screen and he helped to craft a new
      generation when they finally left the programme two decades later.
      In the space of a few years in the early 1980s, the sudden exits of
      Pat Phoenix, Violet Carson, Doris Speed and Jack Howarth, who played
      those Street luminaries, provided the producer, Duxbury and other
      writers with one of the greatest challenges in the serial's long
      history. They rose to it, as they did to that presented by the
      arrival of the BBC's first serious rival, in the shape of EastEnders.

      Duxbury became a storyline writer on Coronation Street in January
      1966 - little more than five years after its launch - when Peter
      Eckersley took over as producer and ushered in various changes. Over
      the next few months, the petty criminal Jed Stone returned as Minnie
      Caldwell's lodger, Ken Barlow cheated on his first wife, Valerie, by
      having an affair with a newspaper reporter, David and Irma Barlow
      bought the corner shop, the former Borstal boy Ray Langton arrived
      and stole £5 from the Barlows and whisky from the Rovers Return, and
      Brenda Riley was appointed relief manager at the pub, causing a
      sensation in her low-cut blouses and short skirts.

      Then, in April of that year, Duxbury joined the scriptwriting team
      and became one of its longest-serving members, penning 415 episodes
      before his retirement in December 1991. His first script saw the
      Rovers' publicans, Annie and Jack Walker, aghast to find Jed Stone
      organising a game of billiards on their premises when they returned
      from a holiday in Ireland, as well as Minnie Caldwell offering Ena
      Sharples her bed when the hairnetted battleaxe faced eviction from
      her home at the Mission Hall.

      Major Street events over the next 10 years included two Elsie Tanner
      weddings, the deaths of Jack Walker and Valerie Barlow, the building
      of the first outdoor set and the arrivals of Bet Lynch and colour
      television.

      Another arrival signalled a shift to more comedy when, in 1976, Bill
      Podmore became the serial's producer after working on sitcoms such
      as Nearest and Dearest. Duxbury, particularly successful in adapting
      to this new trend, was described by one television critic 14 years
      later as providing "some of the best comic writing the series has
      ever had to offer". The journalist added: "Writers of British
      situation comedy would do well to stay tuned to the Street."

      Characters such as Stan and Hilda Ogden and Jack and Vera Duckworth
      were ripe for such treatment, and some of Duxbury's scripts drew on
      knowledge and experience gained from his own background as a
      newspaper reporter. Once, he wrote about Mavis Riley, who was
      single, winning a "second honeymoon" in a competition and worrying
      that she would become a laughing stock if people found out, then
      being trapped by a journalist into speaking about it.

      Leslie Duxbury was born in Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire, in 1926,
      the son of a mechanic. He joined the Accrington Observer as a cub
      reporter on leaving St Mary's College, Blackburn, in 1942, but was
      called up for wartime service in the Royal Navy as a radar petty
      officer and arrived in the Far East just as Japan surrendered. After
      returning to his job in Accrington, he moved to the Lancashire
      Evening Telegraph in Blackburn and then to the Liverpool Post,
      before working in the Manchester offices of three national
      newspapers, the News Chronicle, Daily Express and Daily Sketch.

      Turning freelance and setting up his own agency in Blackburn, Star
      News - which numbered the future sports commentator Tony Gubba among
      its journalists - Duxbury also tried his hand at writing television
      scripts and pestered producers until he landed work at Granada
      Television on Coronation Street.

      Although loyal to the serial - he also served two short stints as
      producer, in 1974 and 1977 - Duxbury found plenty of opportunities
      to contribute to other television series. He and Peter Eckersley
      created Britain's first prison sitcom, Her Majesty's Pleasure (1968-
      69), and Duxbury wrote some scripts for A Sharp Intake of Breath
      (1978-81), one of the actor David Jason's first comedy successes.

      The writer's experience of reporting crime must have proved
      invaluable for scripting episodes of the classic police series Z
      Cars (1969-74), the courtroom drama Crown Court (1972, 1977) and
      Strangers (featuring Don Henderson as Detective Sergeant Bulman,
      1978-79).

      Meanwhile, he brought his soap-opera experience to two afternoon
      serials, Marked Personal (set in the human resources department of a
      large company and starring Stephanie Beacham, 1973-74) and Rooms
      (following the lives of those who rented bedsits in a converted
      London house, 1977), as well as Angels (a drama about student
      nurses, 1976-78).

      Since 1968, Duxbury had also reported on football for The Observer,
      with a brief to "patrol the North". Enjoying the challenge of
      writing to a tight deadline and noted for his descriptive talent, he
      continued to report on matches after retiring from Coronation Street
      at the age of 65.

      Leslie Duxbury was well aware of the strange position soap operas
      occupy in the public mind, somewhere between fiction and truth. To
      what extent are the actors the characters? When Doris Speed died in
      1994, he wrote astutely for The Independent of her and the character
      she played:

      The one thing she was a little coy about was Annie's age. I remember
      when the character was approaching collecting the pension we felt we
      had to say how old she was. I duly wrote a scene in which someone
      asked her the direct question and the scripted reply was
      unequivocal. Everyone expected her to object but she progressed
      through the week's rehearsals without a murmur. However, on the
      actual recording she simply skipped the cue so that she was never
      asked the question. The glint in her eye brooked no argument and the
      subject was never raised again.

      Anthony Hayward
    • nidd1902
      (Another Leslie Duxbury obituary -- this one is from The Times) Leslie Duxbury June 13, 1926 - October 17, 2005 Scriptwriter for Coronation Street whose
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 25, 2005
        (Another Leslie Duxbury obituary -- this one is from The Times)

        Leslie Duxbury
        June 13, 1926 - October 17, 2005
        Scriptwriter for Coronation Street whose real-life storylines made the soap opera the
        nation's favourite

        LESLIE DUXBURY was one of Coronation Street's leading writers, and his scripts were noted
        for their high degree of social realism laced with brilliant off-beat humour.
        He joined the series in 1966 when the show regularly topped the ratings and audiences
        were in their millions. By the time he had retired in 1991 he had written more than 415
        scripts and had had two spells as a producer in 1974 and 1977.

        During Duxbury's tenure the series featured many of the show's most famous characters:
        the landlady Annie Walker (Doris Speed), the Street's duchess and mistress of the
        withering look; Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix), the viewer's favourite scarlet woman; the
        battleaxe Ena Sharples (Violet Carson); and the shy boozer, Stan Ogden, and tittle-tattling
        skivvy Hilda Ogden (Bernard Youens and Jean Alexander), the unluckiest couple on
        television.

        In Duxbury's memorable first script, written in April 1966, Minnie Caldwell (Margot Bryant)
        reluctantly offered her bed to Ena Sharples after the hairnetted harridan was evicted from
        her home at the Mission Hall.

        Duxbury's scripts were often based on real life. A former journalist and football reporter,
        he was born in Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire, and got his first job as a junior reporter on
        the Accrington Observer. During the war he served in the Royal Navy as a radar petty
        officer in the Far East and on being demobbed returned to journalism and worked on
        several regional papers before joining the Daily Express.

        He began writing television scripts in the early Sixties and eventually joined Coronation
        Street as a storyline writer in 1966, five years after its initial launch. The show had grown
        out of the so-called "kitchen sink" drama style popularised in the late 1950s and by 1967
        was an established part of everyday life, especially in the North. It had developed a huge
        cult following; the future Prime Minister, James Callaghan, a devoted follower, publicly
        called Pat Phoenix "the sexiest woman on TV".

        Duxbury's consistently good writing soon made him one of the most respected and
        successful writers with the series. He was responsible for introducing new characters, such
        as the brassy barmaid Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear), as well as coping with the later exits of
        stars such as Jack Howarth and Pat Phoenix. In one of his most famous scripts, recorded in
        January 1971, a then record audience of 22 million viewers saw Valerie Barlow (Anne Reid)
        die after being electrocuted by a faulty hairdryer plug.

        Ever prolific, Duxbury also wrote for many other television series. He and Peter Eckersley
        wrote Her Majesty's Pleasure (1968-69), a precursor to Porridge. Duxbury contributed
        scripts for Z Cars (1969-74) and the afternoon drama serial Crown Court (1972). He also
        wrote several episodes of the David Jason sitcom A Sharp Intake of Breath (1978).

        Other soap operas he wrote for included Marked Personal (1973-74) starring Stephanie
        Beacham, Rooms (1977) and the BBC medical drama Angels (1976) which starred Fiona
        Fullerton and Julie Dawn Cole.

        He married Ruth Whittaker in 1952. They had three sons.


        Leslie Duxbury, scriptwriter and journalist, was born on June 13, 1926. He died on October
        17, 2005, aged 79.
      • nidd1902
        This obituary mentions that Leslie Duxbury moved to Hindle Fold Lane: http://www.accringtonobserver.co.uk/obituaries/s/205/205290_leslie_duxbury.html
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 26, 2005
          This obituary mentions that Leslie Duxbury moved to Hindle Fold Lane:

          http://www.accringtonobserver.co.uk/obituaries/s/205/205290_leslie_duxbury.html
        • David Forshaw
          Hi, Les Duxbury used to frequent the Dog & Otter about fifteen years ago, with some of the cast from Corrie. He always kept a low profile when he lived on
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 27, 2005
            Hi,
            Les Duxbury used to frequent the Dog & Otter about fifteen years ago,
            with some of the cast from Corrie. He always kept a low profile when he
            lived on Hindlefold area. Obviously with his name plastered all over the
            credits on the box. it would have been a mistake to advertise his
            credentials to the Corrie fans in the area.(no peace!) from nosey people
            Davef
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "nidd1902" <avalon@...>
            To: <greatharwood@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 6:09 AM
            Subject: [greatharwood] Re: Leslie Duxbury


            > This obituary mentions that Leslie Duxbury moved to Hindle Fold Lane:
            >
            >
            http://www.accringtonobserver.co.uk/obituaries/s/205/205290_leslie_duxbury.html
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > =====================================================================
            > Great Harwood Male Voice Choir are giving a Concert Of Remembrance at
            > St. Bartholomew's Parish Church on Friday 11th November at 7.00pm.
            > A retiring collection for the Poppy Appeal. Further details see message
            8717
            >
            > =====================================================================
            >
            > GREAT HARWOOD BOYS ON (WORLD) TOUR == see message number 8492 and website
            www.getjealous.com/harwood .
            >
            >
            > =====================================================================
            >
            > DON'T FORGET THE 'OVERFLOW' GREAT HARWOOD APPRECIATION GROUP SITE @
            >
            > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/greatharwood2004
            >
            > ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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          • Rawden Kerr
            His lad Tim used to be in Demdike Scouts. Les once wrote us a short Corrie sketch for us to use in one of our Gang Shows. ________________________________
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 27, 2005
              His lad Tim used to be in Demdike Scouts.  Les once wrote us a short Corrie sketch for us to use in one of our Gang Shows.


              From: greatharwood@yahoogroups.com [mailto:greatharwood@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David Forshaw
              Sent: 27 October 2005 15:52
              To: greatharwood@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [greatharwood] Re: Leslie Duxbury

              Hi,
                Les Duxbury used to frequent the Dog & Otter  about fifteen years ago,
              with some of the cast from Corrie. He always kept a low profile when he
              lived on Hindlefold area. Obviously with his name plastered all over the
              credits on the box. it would have been a mistake to advertise his
              credentials to the Corrie fans in the area.(no peace!) from nosey people
              Davef
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "nidd1902" <avalon@...>
              To: <greatharwood@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 6:09 AM
              Subject: [greatharwood] Re: Leslie Duxbury


              > This obituary mentions that Leslie Duxbury moved to Hindle Fold Lane:
              >
              >
              http://www.accringtonobserver.co.uk/obituaries/s/205/205290_leslie_duxbury.html
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > =====================================================================
              > Great Harwood Male Voice Choir are giving a Concert Of Remembrance at
              > St. Bartholomew's Parish Church on Friday 11th November at 7.00pm.
              > A retiring collection for the Poppy Appeal. Further details see message
              8717
              >
              > =====================================================================
              >
              > GREAT HARWOOD BOYS ON (WORLD) TOUR == see message number 8492 and website
              www.getjealous.com/harwood .
              >
              >
              > =====================================================================
              >
              > DON'T FORGET THE 'OVERFLOW' GREAT HARWOOD APPRECIATION GROUP SITE @
              >
              > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/greatharwood2004
              >
              > ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >



            • nidd1902
              (Here s another obituary of Leslie Duxbury from the Guardian. I have never heard of the word cludgy either!) Dour scriptwriter who brought humour to
              Message 6 of 6 , Nov 7, 2005
                (Here's another obituary of Leslie Duxbury from the Guardian.
                I have never heard of the word "cludgy" either!)

                Dour scriptwriter who brought humour to Coronation Street
                Dennis Barker
                Monday November 7, 2005

                Guardian
                Colleagues who worked with Leslie Duxbury, who has died aged 79,
                during his 25 years at Coronation Street, thought him perhaps the most
                brilliant scriptwriter the Granada TV show ever had. He was, among
                other things, the writer behind the memorable episode on Christmas Day
                1987 about Hilda Ogden's departure, which attracted a record soap
                opera audience of 26m viewers. Others, however, were equally sure that
                Duxbury's temperament did not lend itself easily to the committee way
                of working which the programme had always adopted.

                Of medium height and with a true northerner's dourness, Duxbury tended
                to radiate not glibly flowing ideas but discomfort and detachment at
                script conferences. To know how good he was, you had to wait for the
                written page, where his bleak humour and social consciousness came to
                the fore. He disliked having to argue his case for an idea and
                disliked others arguing against him even more. He was a traditional
                "real" writer rather than a media self-hyper.

                His dry, mischievous humour was sometimes difficult to detect. In his
                Coronation Street scripts he introduced the word cludgy, which he
                insisted was an old Lancashire term for outside lavatory - though no
                one else had heard of it. A fellow scriptwriter with an equally sly
                sense of humour thought it was Duxbury's attempt to get both the word
                and his name into the Oxford English Dictionary. If so, the attempt
                failed - as did his oft suggested idea to a desperate script
                conference: "Two sailors turn up in the street." As neither he nor
                anyone else could successfully insinuate them into a Coronation Street
                episode, the sailors remained forever waiting.

                Duxbury's social time with other Coronation Street writers was less
                than average, often consisting of just a beer and a brief chat after
                work. An acquaintance from childhood remembered most of their
                conversations being about football and found him consistently
                reserved. Football was indeed an important part of Duxbury's life,
                which embraced sport and journalism, as well as scripting for such
                other TV shows as Z Cars (1969-74), Crown Court (1972), The XYY Man
                (1976-77), Strangers (1978-82) and Bulman (1985-87).

                He was born in Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire (where he was to die), and
                after St Mary's College, Blackburn, joined the Accrington Observer as
                a junior reporter in 1942. He did his national service as a petty
                officer and in the Far East at the time of the Japanese surrender.

                After the war he went back to the Accrington Observer, before joining
                the Lancashire Evening Telegraph and the Liverpool Post. He was then
                in the Manchester offices of the News Chronicle, the Daily Express and
                the Daily Sketch, but it was when he set up Star News, his own news
                agency in Blackburn, that he was able to indulge his flair for
                reporting football as well as court work. Sport and police matters
                gave him raw material that would enrich his television writing.

                Duxbury had been producing scripts for some years without success
                before he joined Coronation Street in April 1966, five years after it
                had started. The former Guardian journalist Peter Eckersley had just
                taken over as producer and was intent on giving the drama more of a
                social edge. As a result, Brenda Riley, with her short skirts, was
                made relief manager at the Rover's Return, the minor criminal Jed
                Stone came to be Minnie Caldwell's lodger, Ken Barlow had an affair
                with a newspaper reporter, and former Borstal boy Ray Langton arrived
                to steal £5 from the Barlows and whisky from the Rover's Return.

                Duxbury's first script showed Jack and Annie Walker returning from
                holiday to find Jed Stone setting up a game of billiards in their pub
                and Minnie Caldwell offering Ena Sharples her bed after Ena was
                threatened with eviction from the Mission Hall.

                Ten years later, the new producer, Bill Podmore, wanted to enhance
                with humour the rather gritty tone the programme had assumed, and
                Duxbury, who had a great sense of fun behind his sometimes remote
                manner, was ideally suited to fit in with the trend. One of his
                storylines had the unmarried Mavis Riley winning a "second honeymoon"
                in a competition, worrying that she would be ridiculed if the news got
                out, and then being tricked by a journalist into talking about it.

                Duxbury did two stints as producer of Coronation Street, in 1974 and
                1977, but his first loyalty was to his words. With Eckersley, he also
                created the first British prison situation comedy, Her Majesty's
                Pleasure (1968-69), and he wrote scripts for A Sharp Intake of Breath
                (1978-81), a series that was an early highlight for David Jason. He
                also contributed to such serials as Marked Personal (1973-74), Rooms
                (1977), and Angels (1976-78).

                He retired at 65 in 1991, after 451 Coronation Street episodes, but
                continued to write about football for the Observer, which he had done
                since 1968. In the last 10 years, he became disenchanted with the
                sport's commercialism.

                Duxbury married Ruth Whittaker in 1952 and they had three sons.

                · Leslie Duxbury, scriptwriter, born June 13 1926; died October 17 2005
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