Anthony Read and Bob Holmes: From Cheslyn Hay to Gallifrey (via Walsall)

Introduction
Forgive me, I am a big Doctor Who fan 🙂 : I have every episode on DVD or audio CD (those episodes wiped by the BBC) and recently I decided to go through, from Hartnell to Capaldi, every episode in order of transmission. Most DVDs have extras on them – often the ‘making’ of that serial – and it was in the course of watching one of these extras that I discovered direct connections between Doctor Who, Cheslyn Hay and Walsall. So, as a bit of fun, I thought I would write an article on these connections that I hoped would appeal to people’s general local interest, TV nostalgia or perhaps even fans of the programme. The article will cover the basic lives of two guys that has been compiled from credited sources, as well as my original contributions, along with my personal opinions on the stories they wrote or edited for the programme.

Robert 'Bob'Holmes, a prolific writer for Doctor Who, who became Script Editor in 1974. tardis.wikia.com.

Bob Holmes, a prolific writer for Doctor Who, who became Script Editor in 1974. (tardis.wikia.com)

As said, the connection was actually with two men, Robert Holmes and Anthony Read. Robert, always referred to as Bob, was a prolific writer for the series for near 20 years, becoming the series Script Editor as Tom Baker took over the role in 1974 – it is an era that many think is the golden age of Doctor Who. Holmes spent a few years in Walsall as a journalist before moving on and eventually into television. Anthony, often called Tony, succeeded Holmes for a year as Script Editor in 1977. He was born in Cheslyn Hay in 1935 and would later move to Walsall, being educated at Queen Mary’s Grammar School in Walsall.

Cheslyn Hay's Anthony Read, who became Script Editor of Dr Who, 1977. www.grognads2011.it

Anthony Read, who became Script Editor in 1977. (www.grognards2011.it)

Robert ‘Bob’ Holmes
The name of Bob Holmes, in my opinion, vies with that of Terrance Dicks for the title of Mr. Who. His working life has been written-up by Richard Molesworth in his book, Robert Holmes: A Life in Words, which is definitely worth a read if you are a Doctor Who fan, however, his early life is perhaps less detailed in the book and this was more of interest to me.

Holmes was born on 2 April 1926 at the Maples Maternity Home, off Bedford Road/Old Park Road, Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Bob’s father was George Colin Holmes, who was a school teacher according to his birth certificate, and his mother was Helen, formerly Helen Fox; the couple had married in Doncaster the year before Bob’s birth, before settling in Hitchin, at 46 Walsworth Road.

One assumes that Bob was schooled in Hitchin and he would have been 13 when war broke out in 1939. Richard Molesworth writes that he signed-up aged 16 (two years younger than conscription required, and illegal) around the latter 1942 period, going into the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland. He went on to say that his family thought he was the youngest serving officer, being posted to Burma and India – from which he took a loving of all things eastern.

Holmes' Talons of Weng Chiang - his love of eastern culture came from his war-time experiences. tardis.wikia.com.

Holmes’ Talons of Weng Chiang (1977) – his love of eastern culture came from his war experiences. (tardis.wikia.com).

My research possibly supports this: firstly, it is no secret that as in World War One, many under-aged ‘boys’ signed-up to serve in World War Two. Secondly, the lists of British Army Officers (on-line via National Library of Scotland, 1940-1946) do have a Lieutenant R C Holmes; he appears to have been commissioned into the Black Watch on 2 January 1943. This may or may not have been Bob, but this R C Holmes was also a quartermaster – a role that dealt with provisions and stores – and was often given to those that rose through the ranks, suggesting he may have been a non-commissioned officer in late 1942. This R C Holmes appears to have been raised to a war substantive captain at some stage (temporary promotion during war service).

If he served in India and Burma then I would suggest he was in the 2nd Battalion, Black Watch (which was its own regiment, the Regiment of Scotland was formed in 2004). This Battalion had been moved to India in February 1942 after its defence of Tobruk – spending the next 19 months on security duties before undergoing training, from October 1943, in jungle guerilla tactics to take part in the second ‘Chindit’ incursion into the Japanese held territory in Burma. The Chindits were flown in on 21 March 1944 and took part, in horrendous conditions, in several actions against the enemy – the Black Watch being at the centre of a battle on 8 May. The remains of the Battalion returned to India on 19 August, where they saw out the war training for a potential parachute invasion of Malaya.

Molesworth states that Holmes, after three years with the Black Watch, moved to the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders and in support of this the army officer lists do have a Second Lieutenant R C Holmes, whose service appears to have commenced around December 1945/January 1946 (consistent with his Black Watch service). Saying that, there are problems: the rank differential (maybe a return to his initial grade) and the fact that R C Holmes still appears in the Black Watch lists for a while (maybe down to a failure to communicate the change – I don’t know how up-to-date they were).

I can only surmise, upon his transfer, that Bob would be the 1st Battalion, Cameron Highlanders, as it was in India and had suffered heavily fighting the Japanese at Kohima and other places through 1944 – 1945. In the February of 1946 the Battalion was sent to Japan as a part of the British occupying force. After a year or so, British involvement in Japan was wound down and this Battalion was sent to the Rhine. As Bob’s military record is currently uncertain, I have a few feelers out to clarify what I have written: this will take a little time – I will then update this article.

Richard Molesworth has Bob Holmes leaving the military by August 1948, as at that date he is in London joining the Metropolitan Police. He lasted a year in the force before becoming a freelance reporter in London. He married his fiancee, Patricia Watson – yes, Holmes and Watson – around September 1950, before the couple uprooted and headed to Walsall.

The couple remained in Walsall for just a couple of years before heading back London way. Again, through Richard Molesworth, we know they ‘lodged in a house with a rather puritanical landlady’, but finding it would be an immense task if trawling through electoral registers – especially as we have no idea who the ‘puritanical landlady’ was.

Station Street, Walsall, in the 1980s, where Bob Holmes worked around 1951-1952. Walsall Local History Centre.

Station Street, Walsall, in the 1980s, Holmes worked here around 1951-1952. (Walsall Local History Centre).

We know from Richard that Bob worked ‘as a staff reporter on a local newspaper’ and from an interview that Anthony Read did for a Doctor Who DVD that its offices were based in Station Street, Walsall. I did a quick check in a 1950s telephone directory at the Walsall Local History Centre in order to pinpoint the newspaper concerned – the trouble was there were two sets of offices: the first was those of the Birmingham Gazette and Dispatch Ltd at 31 Station Street, the second were those of the Express & Star.

The Birmingham Gazette and Dispatch Ltd, 31 Station St, Walsall, in the 1956 Walsall Telephone Directory. Walsall Local History Centre.

The Birmingham Gazette and Dispatch Ltd, in the 1956 Walsall Telephone Directory. (Walsall Local History Centre).

So, Holmes may have worked for one or the other, or have been a freelance journalist and worked for neither. The Gazette was pulled into the Birmingham Post in the latter 1950s, which is now owned by Trinity Group (Daily Mirror). I wrote to the Trinity Group and to the Express & Star asking for any help on this, neither have replied or even acknowledged my request.

The offices of the Express & Star in Station Street, Walsall, until they moved in the 1990s to Hatherton Street. Walsall Local History Centre.

The offices of the Express & Star in Station Street, Walsall, they moved in the 1990s to Hatherton Street. (Walsall Local History Centre).

It would be the fact that the couple’s first child was to be born while Robert was working in Walsall that would at least answer a few questions. Richard Molesworth had the couple’s first child as Nicholas in his book, only the there was no birth certificate for a Nicholas. I did find one for a Robert N Holmes, where the mother’s maiden name was Watson and with ‘Robert’ as a first name I was deeply suspicious. The trouble was the birth was registered in Wednesbury, which set the alarm bells ringing – after all, there was a registrar in Walsall if he lived there? I ordered the certificate and my leap of faith was proved correct – Robert Nicholas Holmes was born at the Portland House Maternity House, 43 Wood Green Road, Wednesbury on 25 January 1952. The couple’s address was given as 12 Wood Green Road – so, likely, they never lived in Walsall at all. The certificate proved Bob was a journalist, but didn’t help as to who he worked for – so it will remain a bit of a mystery.

Bob signs his son's birth certificate, stating he was a journalist from 12 Wood Green Road, Wednesbury.

Bob signs his son’s birth certificate, it states he was a journalist from 12 Wood Green Road, Wednesbury.

At some point after the birth of Nicholas, the Holmes’ returned to London. A second child, Laurian, was born in 1954. Bob working as a journalist at this time, before writing for and eventually sub-editing the John Bull magazine by the mid-1950s. Bob wrote for other magazines and started to write the odd TV script, but in 1959 moved into television big-style when he script-edited a Granada series called Knight Errant. After this series finished in 1961, Holmes wrote scripts for various shows, then, at the tail end of 1968, one would be accepted and aired as Doctor Who and the Krotons.

The Krotons, 1968: Holmes' first Dr Who, which is intelligent and operates at more than one level. Rob Fairclough (www.thefancan.com)

The Krotons, 1968: Holmes’ first Who, which is intelligent and operates at more than one level. Rob Fairclough (www.thefancan.com)

Most of Bob Holmes’ Doctor Who scripts are political, often poking fun at elites, governments and bureaucracy, or showing the exploitation of the weak by the powerful (he was not the only author to do this, and such feelings were inherent in the Doctor’s own ‘characters’). The Krotons takes this tone, but I think goes further. It isn’t my intention to spend much time on each story, but I do want look at one a little more in-depth just to see what can be read, or over-read maybe, in a script.

The Krotons script had really been three years in the making before Patrick Troughton’s Doctor took it on (my favourite Doctor). At a basic level it is an exploitation saga about a robot race, called the Krotons, that keep a subject population, the Gonds, in order to cream off the most intelligent and killing them in order to convert their intellect into energy to power themselves and their ship. Holmes’ use of Indian names could be seen as a swipe at British imperialism in his beloved India: Gonds (the Gondi are a people from central India), Selris (Selri is a village in India), Beta (means son in Hindi), Abu (a mountain in the same province as Serti), Vana (Hindi for forest) and Thara (wealth in Hindi, with other interpretations).

At a deeper level, and with his last revision of the script, Holmes may have been commenting on the rise of student unrest in 1968. In the script, the Gonds begin to fall out amongst themselves as, after the Doctor informed them that the Krotons are killing their most intelligent, they start to plan a rebellion. In the real world, early 1968 had seen world-wide student protests over Vietnam, their distrust of the political and social elite and, to put it mildly, the distancing space between the aspirations of their parents and their own. Maybe I see too much, but it is interesting to note that Kroton Education, formed in 1966, was the largest private (and thus profit-making) education company in Brazil and is now, after a merger in 2014, the largest in the world.

Holmes also wrote Troughton’s penultimate adventure, effectively an over-long space western (two extra episodes had to be added), called The Space Pirates.

The autons smashing their way through shop windows in Pertwee's first story - so iconic, they were used when in the first story when the series returned in 2005. (www.tardis.wikia.com)

The Autons smashing their way through shop windows in Pertwee’s first story. (www.tardis.wikia.com)

Holmes wrote four scripts for Jon Pertwee’s brilliantly played avuncular, supercilious, all-action Doctor. He wrote Pertwee’s opening story in 1970 – introducing him (and his two hearts), new assistant Liz Shaw and the new UNIT, led by the Brigadier. He created the plastic mannequin ‘Autons’ as the enemy and they, and their iconic scene of smashing through shop windows, were used as the basis for the first story of Christopher Eccleston when the series returned to TV in 2005. In 1971, he penned the opening story of the season in which he returned to his creation; the darker Terror of the Autons script was used to introduce Jo Grant (the Doctor’s new assistant) and a new and what was to a familiar villain – the Master – as well a murdering dolls!

Strax, a comedy relief in the new Doctor Who. The Sontarans were created by Holmes in 1973 and were ruthless warriors. (www.tardis.wikia.com)

Strax, a comedy relief in the new Doctor Who. The Sontarans were created by Holmes in 1973 and were ruthless warriors. (www.tardis.wikia.com)

Holmes’ two other scripts for Pertwee are also iconic. The Carnival of Monsters, 1973, sees two entertainers with a peep-show containing lots of miniatured creatures – including the Doctor – victimised by officious and corrupt bureaucrats that are all painted in grey! The last, a great medieval romp called The Time Warrior (1973-74), again started a new season, introduced new assistant Sarah Jane Smith and a new monster he created – the Sontarans. The Sontarans were a ruthless, cloned race; they would appear a three of times again in the classic series before being revived in the new Doctor Who, latterly and strangely as a comic relief helping the Doctor.

The rotting Master, brought back after the death of Roger Delgado, in the Deadly Assassin. This story prompted Mary Whitehouse to complain and started the gradual demise of the classic series. (www.doctorwhogeneral.wikia.com)

The rotting Master in the Deadly Assassin. This story prompted Mary Whitehouse to complain. (www.doctorwhogeneral.wikia.com)

A huge change took place in 1975. Robert Holmes became script editor of Doctor Who and Philip Hinchcliffe became the Producer. Overnight, Doctor Who became more ‘adult’; it must be remembered that although the show was considered a children’s show, it was in fact produced by the Drama Department, so the new team aimed it less at the values acceptable to the younger child, but more for the teen and their parents too.

Holmes script edited (also co-wrote or wrote some) over the next three and a half seasons. It has been seen as a golden age, and I agree, with new the Doctor, Tom Baker, brilliantly playing the alien, arrogant, buffoon with comedic gravitas. He would oversee the introduction and departure of temporary companion Harry Sullivan, the move from Sarah Jane to Leela, the arrival of K9 and the overall demise of UNIT’s involvement. Sadly, it would not last, as Mary Whitehouse complained frequently and so frightened the BBC that Hinchcliffe and, shortly after, Holmes left and the new team, Graham Williams and Anthony Read, were instructed to tone it down.

The Doctor battle Morbius in a mind game in this 'homage' to Frankenstein. (www.hypnogoria.com)

The Doctor battle Morbius in a mind game in this ‘homage’ to Frankenstein. (www.hypnogoria.com)

Under Holmes’ time, even casual viewers will remember such stories as the Genesis of the Daleks (Davros’ first appearance), the Pyramids of Mars (the mummy one), the Brain of Morbius (Frankenstein take-off), the Deadly Assassin (the first story set on Gallifrey and featuring the Master’s return), the Robots of Death (err – the robot one), the Talons of Weng-Chiang (the Sherlock Holmes one with the Chinese doll-like creature) and the Horror of Fang Rock (the one on a lighthouse). My personal favourite was the Seeds of Doom, which had an Antarctic pod infect a human, turning him into a big plant – I didn’t go near salad and vegetables for near 40 years!

The Krynoid from the Seeds of Doom - in my opinion, the best and scariest show a 9 year old had ever seen - still is at 48!. (www.tardis.wikia.com)

The Krynoid from the Seeds of Doom, in my opinion the best and scariest show a 9-year-old had ever seen – still is at 48! (www.tardis.wikia.com)

His last script editing role was on the Sun Makers, which was done jointly with his successor, Anthony Read. Holmes also wrote witty and intelligent the script, which – reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s 1927 film, Metropolis – has an exploitative company (taking a big swipe at the Inland Revenue) that keeps its workforce sedated, overtaxed, underpaid and underground. Holmes returned to write two scripts for Tony Head in the next season, which will be described later and would be the last work he would do for Tom Baker.

Peter Davison's Doctor, with Peri and Sharez Jek in Holmes' Caves of Androzani, 1985. (archivetvmusings.wordpress.com)

Peter Davison’s Doctor, with Peri and Sharaz Jek in Holmes’ Caves of Androzani, 1985. (archivetvmusings.wordpress.com)

Holmes returned to freelance writing and to Doctor Who in 1984, writing his one and only script for Peter Davison – in fact, Davison’s last outing as the lovable, young and all-round Mr Niceguy Doctor. The Caves of Androzani was voted the all time best adventure in the Doctor Who magazine – I am always sceptical of poles, politics teaches you that – but it is a good yarn and clearly one of the best of the Davison era.

The Two Doctors - a chance missed in my opinion. (BBC)

The Two Doctors – a chance missed in my opinion. (BBC)

Holmes’ final two scripts were for Colin Baker’s Doctor – an underrated Doctor that was never really given a chance to establish himself. The structure imposed on the first script, the Two Doctors, by Producer John Nathan-Turner really strangled a story that in my opinion could and should have been exciting: two Doctors (a character changed Pat Troughton being the other), two assistants (Jamie, Pat’s major assistant and Peri, Colin Baker’s), a return for the Sontarans and a foreign setting (originally New Orleans, it ended up being Spain). Mind you, the coup de grace was the added and continual hammering home of Holmes’ own vegetarian beliefs.

The last full script for Doctor Who was The Mysterious Planet – the first segment of the full-season 14-episode Trial of a Time Lord. The programme had been off-air for around 18 months and was under threat of cancellation – hence the trial theme to the series. The scripts were finished in early 1986, a period when Bob’s health was declining. He was commissioned to write the last two episodes, but only managed the first before, suffering with a liver condition, the 60-year-old Bob passed away peacefully in his sleep on 24 May 1986. He was buried the following week at Maidsmorton, Bucks. The episode was shown in the November of 1986; his last credit, an episode of Bergerac, was shown in 1987.

A scene from Trial of a Timelord, Holmes' last work on Doctor Who - he passed away while writing the last few episodes. (the Guardian)

A scene from Trial of a Timelord, Holmes’ last work on Doctor Who. (the Guardian)

While we will never have a blue plaque in Station Street, it is nice to remember that this amiable fellow once worked in the Walsall area, for even a short period. Fittingly, the last words on Bob should come from Richard Molesworth: ‘Bob’s influence on Doctor Who is as strong as it ever was [so much of his work has been incorporated into the new series]. This is, of course, how it should be’.

Anthony Read: The Cheslyn Hay lad.
Anthony, or more often Tony Read, has a lot more claim to be in this article than Bob Holmes, as he was born in Cheslyn Hay on 21 April 1935 to parents Frederick and Lottie, nee Pratt. Frederick, a miner himself, was the son of Alfred, a Bridgtown miner, and was born in 1907. The family lived at 4 Watling Street in 1911. Frederick, one of five children in 1911, having lost two siblings to natural causes, was too young to serve in the First World War, but his eldest brother, Harry, allegedly born on 4 March 1896, was able to serve.

Harry, a polisher by profession, attested into the army in April 1915 – likely exaggerating his age slightly in order to be able to serve overseas. He went not into a local regiment, but into the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots (Lothian) – joining his regiment at Glencorse on 3 May 1915. According to his attestation papers, the family had moved to 3 Walsall Road by this time. He entered the battle zone on 1 October 1915 and we know picked up a minor gun shot wound to the hand in April 1916. Harry went on to be killed on the penultimate day of the Battle of Arras, 3 May 1917. He is commemorated on the Bridgtown memorial.

Frederick married Lottie at the tail end of 1932 and Anthony would follow in 1935 – he would be the couple’s only child. We know that in 1942 the family were at 23 Coppice Lane, Cheslyn Hay, but it seems the family were here when Anthony was born and we know, thanks to Queen Mary’s School records, that he attended Cheslyn Hay School on Hatherton Street – a site that has now been lost under modern housing.

Coppice Lane, Cheslyn Hay. Read grew-up at 23 (where the England flags are flying).

Coppice Lane, Cheslyn Hay. Read grew-up at 23 (where the England flags are flying).

Mining was a hazardous occupation and so it proved for the Read family in 1942, after the 35-year-old Frederick was crushed to death by falling coal at Pit 2 of the Mid-Cannock Colliery (on Rumer Hill). Frederick, a member of the Cheslyn Hay Male Voice Choir, The Cheslyn Hay Working Men’s Club, the Cannock Branch of the Order of Buffaloes, Mid-Cannock Sports Club, as well as on war-service with the National Fire Brigade, was an experienced miner, having 10-years service at that colliery alone. He had recently been appointed to the Colliery Production Committee.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded at his inquest, but as nobody actually witnessed the accident you get the feeling that the Read family were reluctant to accept that – perhaps feeling the colliery were negligent. It appears that Read went to cut into the coal face at 8.50 am, which usually involved the removing of a cutting block – but a second block was missing (it was assumed by the inquest that Read had removed it) – leaving 13ft of coal unsupported. This coal collapsed and crushed him. Hilton Read, Frederick’s brother, disputed that he would have removed a second block.

The report of Frederick's inquest in the Cannock Advertiser, June 1942. (Cannock Library)

The report of Frederick’s inquest in the Cannock Advertiser, June 1942. (Cannock Library)

Read’s funeral was conducted at the Mount Zion Primitive Methodist Church (formerly on cross St, Cheslyn Hay), before his burial at Great Wyrley Cemetery. He was seen-off by family, friends, neighbours, club associates and the regulars of the now defunct Robin Hood pub in Churchbridge – where he must have enjoyed a tipple.

I can only imagine how tough it was for Lottie to bring-up Tony on her own, and for Tony himself of course – but he must have applied himself to his studies as he was enrolled into Queen Mary’s Grammar School in Walsall on 17 September 1945. His records show that his address at the time was still 23 Coppice Lane. He remained at the school until the 25 July 1952. Read himself said in one of his DVD interviews that he moved to Walsall at some time – likely around 1950 – living in on the main street, just around the corner from where Bob Holmes worked. I could not trace his mother in the electoral rolls in the neighbouring streets, but there is no reason to doubt it.

Tony’s obituary, as printed in the Guardian in 2015, takes up his story. He must have got interested in theatrics at the school and upon leaving enrolled into the Central School for Speech and Drama in London. His studies, it went on to say, were interrupted by national service and while we don’t know what regiment, he said in one of his interviews that he had an ‘office’ and was based on Salisbury Plain – this indicates to me that he was an officer or administrative in some capacity – possibly in the camp entertainment field. In 1958, he married Rosemary Kirby in Wednesbury – the couple would go on to have two children.

Read dabbled with acting, co-managing a theatre company for a while, before changing direction and to work in advertising copywriting and script writing. Read joined the BBC, where he worked under the then head of drama, Sydney Newman. Newman had really founded Doctor Who in 1963. Over the next few years he adapted, wrote original scripts and script-edited for a number of series, before becoming a producer on Troubleshooters in 1966. Tony Read was then contacted by the BBC in 1977 about taking over as script editor from Bob Holmes. Tony, now a producer, quite rightly saw this as a step back in his career, until Doctor Who was mentioned.

Budget constraints effected Read's early stories - hence extensive use of CSO in Underworld. (http://2013doctorwhomarathon.blogspot.co.uk)

Budget constraints effected Read’s early stories – hence extensive use of CSO in Underworld. (http://2013doctorwhomarathon.blogspot.co.uk)

He took the job, walking into problems from the start. He worked with Bob on Bob’s own script for the Sun Makers, before taking control himself. His initial story, Underworld, was hit by budget constraints and so much of it was filmed using colour separation overlay – making it look a little tacky, especially by today’s standards. Read, then hit with an unworkable script, ended-up writing the final 6-part story himself in double-quick time. Over-padded, hit by industrial action that forced filming in an old asylum, the story, featuring Holmes’ Sontarans, does remarkably well.

The following season, which would be Read’s only full season, all six stories (26 episodes) were to be connection with an umbrella theme – in this case the search for six segments of the key to time. The series opened with a delightful, if not necessarily a typical Doctor Who adventure, written by Bob Holmes, called the Ribos Operation. Holmes, true to form, was required to envelope the arrival of a new companion, Mary Tamm, as Romana’s first incarnation. This was followed by an over-the-top, but fun story, The Pirate Planet, written by the emerging Douglas Adams, who would replace Read as script-editor the following year.

The third story drew on Read’s own time from Salisbury Plain, as it was centred on a stone circle – something Read admitted to as intriguing him when on military service. Written by David Fisher, the Stones of Blood was the last of the old Gothic style stories – from this point the series lightened-up a bit, dangerously so under Adam’s tenure. The fourth part was a Prisoner of Zenda take-off, called the Androids of Tara, which was excellently realised. The fifth was The Power of Kroll, which was written by Holmes. Under-rated, it returned to Holmes’ feelings of exploitation – this time of local ‘natives’ by an uncaring Earth company. The final story, the Armageddon Factor, was a bit of a let down to the series, sadly. Tony left the series, citing that he had other interests and ‘wants’ to achieve – one wonders if the continual pressures, budget and industrial problems hastened his want to leave.

Tony did write one final script for Doctor Who – The Horns of Nimon in 1979. The script, based upon the minotaur myth but updated for a scince-fiction context, was excellent and well played except perhaps for the pantomime performance of the leading villain, Graham Cowden.

Behind you - Graham Cowden's pantomime performance spoiled Horns of Nimon a little. (doctorwhofromthestart.wordpress.com)

Behind you – Graham Cowden’s pantomime performance spoiled Horns of Nimon a little. (doctorwhofromthestart.wordpress.com)

Tony returned to producing but continued to script-edit, including the Hammer House of Horror series. He became the chair of the Writers’ Guild between 1981 and 1982 and a director of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society. He wrote non-fiction, and his Kristallnacht: Unleashing the Holocaust won the Wingate literary prize in 1989. Between 2005 and 2009, Read wrote six novels based around the Baker Street Boys that he had produced a series for back in the 1980s. Anthony Read died 21 November 2015, he was 80.

I hope this little jaunt has been of interest – it is in memory of Frederick, Harry, Tony and Bob, but has to be dedicated to Richard Molesworth and the work he has done on Doctor Who DVDs etc.

My thanks to:
Richard Molesworth
All those cited for photographs
National Library of Scotland
Walsall Local History Centre
The Guardian
Stephen Fogden
Sandwell Register Office
Stevenage Register Office
Ancestry.com
John, the archivist at Queen Mary’s School
Cannock Library

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