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Ipcress File Screenwriter passes on

Posted by on August 25, 2009 at 06:10:02:

In Reply to: updates July August Harry Palmer Site posted by K Stam on July 25, 2009 at 12:44:06:

The Screenwriter of Ipcress File recently passed away aged 86; here's the obituary:

From The Times
August 25, 2009
James Doran: dramatist and screenwriter


James Doran had three plays produced in the West End of London but was better known for his television work on such series as Z Cars, Public Eye and Enemy at the Door. He also wrote the final draft of the screenplay for The Ipcress File (1965), based on Len Deightonís spy thriller and starring Michael Caine.

He was born in Edinburgh in 1924. His father was a doctor, who came south to work as a GP in Limehouse in the East End of London before moving out to the suburbs, and his mother was the dramatist Lesley Storm. She wrote such West End hits as Black Chiffon and Roar Like a Dove, and with her laconic humour and love of good living she was an important influence on Doranís life. Her friend, the Labour politician Aneurin Bevan, once took the young Doran on a tour of Parliament and perched him on the Woolsack, telling him he might one day become Lord Chancellor.

Doran attended St Paulís School in London, where he developed a love of the classics and became a leading member of the boxing team, coached by the British heavyweight champion, Len Harvey.

During the later stages of the Second World War Doran served in the Royal Marines and as a young lieutenant commanded a landing craft on D-Day, putting Canadian troops ashore under enemy fire. In 1945 he took part in the liberation of the Channel Islands where a German officer he took prisoner presented him with a horse. But he was unable to bring it back to England.

After working as a journalist on a short-lived topical magazine, News Review, for which he interviewed stars such as Vivien Leigh and Paul Robeson, Doran followed his mother into writing for the theatre, and from the late 1950s three of his plays were put on in the West End. But all had shortish runs and he decided to change mode once more and try his hand in television.

He soon became one of the writers on the ground-breaking police series, Z Cars. His journalistic background, and his contacts in the Lancashire police, gave his writing the documentary quality for which Z Cars was noted.

He also wrote scripts for the soap opera Compact and Dr Finlayís Casebook. The screenplay for The Ipcress File was nominated for a British Film Academy award.

During the 1970s Doranís television work included several episodes of Public Eye, starring Alfred Burke as a seedy private detective, and he drew on first-hand experience for Enemy at the Door, a series about the Channel Islands under German occupation.

In the mid-1970s, hoping to develop his career in Hollywood, Doran moved with Beverley, his second, American, wife, to the United States. But he found Los Angeles uncongenial and after 18 months or so returned to England having failed to get established. His marriage also failed, as did a first brief wartime marriage to Anne Bersey, who became the Labour MP, Anne Kerr.

Doran later contributed to a TV adaptation of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and in the early 1980s he wrote for the police series, The Gentle Touch and Juliet Bravo, both of which featured female officers.

He is survived by Judy Manning, his partner of 30 years, and two sons.

James Doran, dramatist and screenwriter, was born on May 15, 1923. He died on July 14, 2009, aged 86


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