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Hugh Whitemore 1936-2018); wrote Breaking the Code, Stevie, The Gathering Storm, and many other plays and screenplays


Swithin
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Hugh Whitemore, who has died aged 82, wrote some of the most memorable stage plays, television series, and screenplays during his long career. His play (later TV film) Breaking the Code, starring Derek Jacobi, presented the story of Alan Turing, long before The Imitation Game addressed Turing's story. His numerous television miniseries credits includes the brilliant A Dance to the Music of Time, which has yet to be seen on American television; as well as The Gathering Storm and My Cousin Rachel.

His adaptation of his stage play Pack of Lies which he adapted for television remains newly relevant, dealing as it does with Russian spies living in West London.

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https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2018/jul/18/hugh-whitemore-obituary

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Whitemore also wrote the screenplay for the 1987 screen version of "84 Charing Cross Road," a remarkable story based on the real-life correspondence between American writer Helene Hanff (1916-1997) and London book dealer Frank Doel (1908-1968). The film, developed by Mel Brooks' production company Brooksfilms, Ltd., starred Anne Bancroft and Sir Anthony Hopkins (pictured below).

Image result for 84 charing cross road anne bancroft sir anthony hopkins

Bancroft portrayed Hanff, a New Yorker with a passion for classic literature -- particularly out-of-print works by British writers. When local booksellers were unable to satisfy Hanff's literary needs, she began her correspondence with Doel (Hopkins) at his bookstore, Marks & Co. Incredibly, she became attached to the Londoner bookseller and his employees, although she never met them. In turn, she endeared herself to them by making arrangements to have thoughtful packages -- sometimes containing hard-to-find foodstuffs in post-World War II Britain -- sent to them via Denmark.

The film, which also starred Dame Judi Dench and Mercedes Ruehl, was directed by David Jones ("Betrayal"). Twelve years earlier, the BBC aired a teleplay written by Whitemore and based on "84, Charing Cross Road," Hanff's 1970 book about her transatlantic correspondence with Doel. The teleplay starred Anne Jackson and Frank Finlay. 

Hanff's book also inspired a British stage play that eventually appeared on Broadway in 1982 and starred Ellen Burstyn and Joseph Maher.

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4 hours ago, jakeem said:

Whitemore also wrote the screenplay for the 1987 screen version of "84 Charing Cross Road," a remarkable story based on the real-life correspondence between American writer Helene Hanff (1916-1997) and London book dealer Frank Doel (1908-1968). The film, developed by Mel Brooks' production company Brooksfilms, Ltd., starred Anne Bancroft and Sir Anthony Hopkins (pictured below).

Image result for 84 charing cross road anne bancroft sir anthony hopkins

Bancroft portrayed Hanff, a New Yorker with a passion for classic literature -- particularly out-of-print works by British writers. When local booksellers were unable to satisfy Hanff's literary needs, she began her correspondence with Doel (Hopkins) at his bookstore, Marks & Co. Incredibly, she became attached to the Londoner bookseller and his employees, although she never met them. In turn, she endeared herself to them by making arrangements to have thoughtful packages -- sometimes containing hard-to-find foodstuffs in post-World War II Britain -- sent to them via Denmark.

The film, which also starred Dame Judi Dench and Mercedes Ruehl, was directed by David Jones ("Betrayal"). Twelve years earlier, the BBC aired a teleplay written by Whitemore and based on "84, Charing Cross Road," Hanff's 1970 book about her transatlantic correspondence with Doel. The teleplay, which starred Anne Jackson and Frank Finlay, inspired a British stage version that eventually played on Broadway in 1982 and starred Ellen Burstyn and Joseph Maher.

What a wonderful movie! I read the book and then went to London in search of places mentioned and really doubly enjoyed it. It does ring true that it seemed that UK businesses are more into being personable with their customers, since when I got back to the States I received hand written notes from some places in London and Ireland in thanks for my business. Later received a St. Patrick's Day card from a store in Killarney where I had purchased a Claddagh ring, which was so sweet. Can you imagine any store in the US sending one a handwritten card in thanks of your patronage?

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I saw the play (by James Roose-Evans) in London in 1981. It starred Rosemary Leach and David Swift. Ms. Leach, who died last year, won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a New Play for her performance in 84, Charing Cross Road. She may be best known to American audiences for her portrayals of Mrs. Honeychurch (the mother) in A Room with a View; and as Aunt Fenny in The Jewel in the Crown. I've always found her to be a particularly engaging actress.

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8 hours ago, kingrat said:

Swithin, did you ever work with James Roose-Evans? I met him many years ago. A pleasant and talented gentleman.

No, never met him or worked with him. He's still living -- born in 1927.

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STEVIE is a great film, starring Glenda Jackson and Mona Washbourne. Most people are not aware of it. I don't think it's been released on DVD but the old VHS copy is "lingering hopefully" (that's a STEVIE inside joke).

 

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