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Roy Clarke

Royston Clarke

(1930-01-28) 28 January 1930 (age 94)
Austerfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Occupation TV Screenwriter
Years active 1968–present
Notable work
Last of the Summer Wine (1973–2010)
Open All Hours (1976–1985)
Keeping Up Appearances (1990–1995)
Still Open All Hours (2013–2019)
Spouse(s) Enid Kitching

Royston Clarke OBE (born 28 January 1930) is an English comedy writer best known for creating the sitcoms Last of the Summer Wine, Keeping Up Appearances, Open All Hours and its sequel series, Still Open All Hours.

Early life

Clarke was born in Austerfield, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He was, in the words of his Who's Who entry, educated "badly during World War II". His jobs before becoming a writer included a teacher, a policeman, a taxi driver and a salesman, in addition to being a soldier in the Royal Corps of Signals of the British Army.


In the late 1960s, Clarke wrote thrillers for BBC Radio. The first in January 1968, The 17-Jewelled Shockproof Swiss-Made Bomb, featured Peter Coke, Ben Kingsley, Bob Grant and Anne Stallybrass. A couple of months later, Clarke wrote The Events at Black Tor, which was a police thriller which also featured Bob Grant, along with James Beck.

Clarke was the sole writer of the long-running Last of the Summer Wine, which at its peak had an audience of over 18 million viewers. It featured Bill Owen, Peter Sallis, Brian Wilde, Kathy Staff and Dame Thora Hird in leading roles. While Clarke was not involved in casting, he wrote the character named Clegg with Sallis specifically in mind. Clarke also wrote a prequel to the series, First of the Summer Wine.

Other credits are: The Misfit, starring Ronald Fraser; Open All Hours, starring Ronnie Barker and David Jason; Keeping Up Appearances, starring Patricia Routledge; Ain't Misbehavin'. He created and wrote the short-lived fantasy drama, The Wanderer starring Bryan Brown, for Sky One. In 1974, he created the sitcom Oh No It's Selwyn Froggitt from an idea by its star Bill Maynard. He wrote the pilot episode, but left to be replaced by Alan Plater when the programme went to series. Rosie with Paul Greenwood was broadcast from 1977 to 1981.

Clarke has worked in film, penning the screenplay to Hawks (1988). He also wrote the well-received drama A Foreign Field (1993).

In 1994, Clarke was granted the Freedom of the Borough of Doncaster; the highest honour the Council can bestow. In 2002, he received an OBE for his contribution to British comedy.

In 2003, Clarke adapted his Last of the Summer Wine chronicle The Moonbather for a world premiere performance at the Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club.

He was awarded the lifetime achievement award at the 2010 British Comedy Awards.

In 2013, he resurrected Open All Hours for a sequel series, Still Open All Hours starring David Jason. Six series were broadcast.

In 2016, he created a prequel to Keeping Up Appearances titled Young Hyacinth. The one-off episode premiered on 2 September 2016 on BBC One.

Personal life

Horton Rounds - the house on a circle

Clarke resided in rural Goole in the East Riding of Yorkshire with his wife, Enid Kitching. For some years he owned Horton Rounds in Northamptonshire, a Grade II listed house designed by the Northamptonshire architect Arthur A. J. Marshman.

See also

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