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Saturday, 11 April, 1998, 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
Veteran BBC playwright dies
The playwright and author Francis Durbridge has died at his London home following a long illness. He was 85.

He built his reputation on detective serials originally written for BBC radio and television.

Although his career spanned 50 years, his most famous character was detective Paul Temple, who first appeared on radio in 1939.

After 30 years of solving crime on the radio, Paul Temple switched to television in 1969.

The series, which had the biggest budget for a BBC crime series at the time, lasted until 1971.

Mr Durbridge's many credits on television include The Broken Horseshoe in 1952 and The Breakaway in 1980.

His serials were sold to countries around the world and were repeated for years. Books were also published from them.

He also wrote a number of stage plays. The last was Sweet Revenge in 1991.

Mr Durbridge was inspired to write by an English teacher at Bradford Grammar School.

He worked in a stockbrokers' office for a short while after leaving university, and had his first radio play accepted when he was 21.

Mr Durbridge's agent for 30 years, said: "He had been ill for some time and died at his home in Barnes."

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