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Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
TV author dies of cancer
James Bolam and Lesley Ann Down in When The Boat Comes In
The drama featured James Bolam and Lesley Ann Down
Tyneside author James Mitchell, who created the popular BBC drama series When The Boat Comes In, has died aged 76.

The South Shields-born writer died at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital on Sunday after battling cancer.

Mr Mitchell was a best-selling author, with more than 70 books to his name as well as other television series such as Callan, starring Edward Woodward.

Mr Mitchell's son Peter said his work with the BBC was his most important.

Edward Woodward in Callan
Callan was one of James Mitchell's TV successes

When The Boat Comes In, which first aired in January 1976, followed the fortunes of the ambitious Jack Ford, played by Wearside-born James Bolam, from the 1920s.

Peter Mitchell said: "My father regarded When the Boat Comes In as his most important work.

"He always thought of the North-East as his home and was immensely proud of the series and the books which went with it.

"He always thought James Bolam made the character so special and made his work come alive.

"He was working right up until he died.

"There are two When the Boat Comes In novels on the floor in his flat in Jesmond, waiting to go to the publishers."

After leaving South Shields in 1966, Mr Mitchell lived in London with his second wife, Delia until her sudden death in 1990.


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