Simon Carlyle obituary


Simon Carlyle, who has died aged 48, was a tv comedy author with a present for placing completely plausible characters on display screen. Two Doorways Down – created along with his common writing accomplice, Gregor Sharp – was his crowning glory, that includes neighbours gathering at a pair’s home in a Glasgow suburb, normally uninvited and overstaying their welcome.

The programme, set to run for a seventh collection on the BBC this 12 months after its debut in 2013, stars Arabella Weir and Alex Norton as Beth and Eric Baird, with the neighbours within the fictional Latimer Crescent together with Elaine C Smith because the foul-mouthed Christine O’Neal. It has been known as the Scottish Royle Household, however with upwardly cell characters.

Carlyle needed a variety of viewers to narrate to it, saying: “It could possibly be in Aberdeen, in Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes or Elgin. We don’t disguise the actual fact the voices listed below are Scottish. We simply needed to make the set-up recognisable throughout Britain.”

He started devising characters and tales set principally in his native Scotland after working as a mannequin and TV researcher. A type of, the aspirational, swearing proprietor of the insalubrious Glasgow sunbed salon Fan of the Tan, grew to become the main focus of his first sitcom, Terri McIntyre – Stylish Bitch. Carlyle performed Terri whereas Sharp, who had labored with him on the ITV firm Scottish Tv, produced.

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Michelle (Pleasure McAvoy), Beth (Arabella Weir), Alan (Graeme Stevely aka Grado) in Two Doorways Down, 2022. {Photograph}: Robert Pereira Hind/BBC Studios

BBC Scotland made two collection of the present, screened nationally on BBC Alternative in 2001 and BBC Three in 2003. The second, titled merely Terri McIntyre, has the salon proprietor leaving to be a gross sales rep for a tanning merchandise enterprise with the slogan: “United we tan, divided we peel.”

“Gregor taught me writing construction and I taught him all of the filthy jokes I’d realized within the homosexual bars of Glasgow,” stated Carlyle.

When Terri McIntyre ended, Carlyle moved to London, the place, noticed the journalist Brian Beacom, his “partying and consuming would have made Caligula appear to be a choir boy”. He additionally went bankrupt. A buddy, Maria McErlane, an actor on the comedy sketch programme The Quick Present, helped him to show his life round and a producer suggested him to write down about what he knew.

So, with Sharp, he created Skinny Ice, set at an ice rink in Derby and primarily based on Carlyle’s teenage experiences as an beginner determine skater. It landed a peak-time slot on BBC Two however did not transcend one collection (2006).

Their subsequent sitcom, Completely satisfied Hollidays (2009), set in a caravan park and that includes a web site proprietor seeking to drive up earnings (performed by Ford Kiernan) and an alcoholic entertainer (Karen Dunbar) among the many employees, met the identical destiny, however the writing companions saved plodding away.

Two Doorways Down started as a one-off Hogmanay particular in 2013. A shock success, it was commissioned as a collection in 2016 and can change from BBC Two to BBC One on its return this 12 months.

Carlyle was born in Irvine, Ayrshire, to Dorothy (nee Evey), a former hairdresser, and Chris Carlyle, an electronics gross sales rep. Introduced up in Ayr, he felt unable to come back out to his dad and mom till he was 18. By then, following of their mom’s figure-skating footsteps, he and his sister, Lisa, had joined the Kyle skating membership and, in 1992, he grew to become Scottish junior champion.

Hopes of a profession in ice skating had been scuppered when Carlyle’s dad and mom pushed him to proceed along with his research. So, on leaving Belmont academy, Ayr, he began a level in French and psychology at Strathclyde College, incomes cash on the identical time by modelling for teenage magazines akin to Jackie and dealing as an additional on the TV police drama Taggart.

Going to a recording of the sketch present Pulp Video in 1995 spurred him on to drop his diploma and take a media course. Then, he labored for STV as a runner and appeared alongside the presenter Nicky Campbell on the sport present Wheel of Fortune to point out off the prizes.

Switching to BBC Scotland, he was a researcher on the leisure programme Absolutely Booked (1997-98) and, when a sketch wanted somebody to play a feminine cleaner, he volunteered and began writing strains for the character.

His different creations with Sharp included the 2002 sitcom Fran’s Folks, with Carlyle taking part in each Ronnie, a guesthouse proprietor and dance troupe choreographer, and Ronnie’s spouse, Margo, and No Holds Bard, a one-off 2009 spoof documentary about contestants in a Robert Burns poetry recital competitors.

Carlyle was additionally script editor on the sitcoms Benidorm, ( 2010-12), Unhealthy Training, starring Jack Whitehall, for its first two collection (2012 and 2013) and Strolling and Speaking (2012), written by Kathy Burke.

Later, with its creator, Elliott Kerrigan, he co-wrote most episodes of the BBC Two sitcom Boy Meets Lady (2015-16) – groundbreaking for that includes transgender points, with a trans actor, Rebecca Root, starring – and devised, with Alan Carr, Altering Ends (2023), primarily based on the standup comic’s childhood and described by Rebecca Nicholson within the Guardian as “relentlessly humorous”.

Carlyle is survived by his mom and sister.


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