Andrew Payne obituary


Andrew Payne, who has died aged 74, was a tv scriptwriter who did a lot to contribute to the recognition of Minder, the comedy-drama that includes George Cole because the dodgy used-car seller Arthur Daley, however he discovered nice private success along with his personal creation, Pie within the Sky, which starred Richard Griffiths as a sleuthing chef, Henry Crabbe.

The programme, which ran for 5 collection from 1994 to 1997, took its title from the identify of the restaurant opened by Crabbe, a retired detective successfully blackmailed into returning to police work on difficult circumstances with the fictional Westershire power by Assistant Chief Constable Freddy Fisher (performed by Malcolm Sinclair).

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Payne ‘preferred reluctant heroes’

“I fairly preferred detective reveals, however I needed to do a cop present that was anti-cop reveals,” Payne informed the Stage in 1996. “It was a problem to make Richard a policeman who didn’t wish to be one. I like reluctant heroes, and Crabbe would relatively be within the kitchen making an omelette than out fixing crime.”

A kitchen was additionally the setting for Payne’s first Minder script in 1980. It was the penultimate episode of the primary collection – which had begun the earlier 12 months – and had Terry McCann (Dennis Waterman) going undercover in a Greek restaurant throughout a household feud over its possession.

Payne wrote one other 11 episodes of the programme, which mixed motion sequences with wit and humour, earlier than leaving – as did Waterman – on the finish of the seventh collection, in 1989. “It did get extra comedic,” Payne informed Paul Stenning, the host of a Minder podcast, in 2022. “It may so simply have change into a automobile for George, with Dennis Waterman as his straight man. I at all times tried to offer Dennis good things to do – I imply drama versus comedy – as a result of he’s an excellent actor.”

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Minder, with (from left) George Cole, Glynn Edwards and Dennis Waterman. {Photograph}: FremantleMedia/Rex/Shutterstock

Payne was chosen to script the 1985 feature-length Christmas particular, Minder on the Orient Specific. “What would you like tickets to a Chinese language takeaway for?” Arthur asks Terry.

He additionally contributed episodes to crime collection corresponding to Shoestring (in 1980), which starred Trevor Eve as a radio phone-in host and personal detective, Pulaski (in 1987), that includes David Andrews as a priest-turned-private eye, and Lovejoy (in 1992 and 1993), with Ian McShane as an antiques dealer-cum-amateur sleuth.

He wrote 11 episodes of Midsomer Murders (between 2002 and 2011), throughout John Nettles’s stint as Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby, and one story for DCI Banks (in 2012), starring Stephen Tompkinson.

Payne first had success on his personal when he wrote Nightlife (1982) for the ITV Playhouse anthology collection. It dramatised the strain that follows when a person (Michael Troughton) returns to his flat from a celebration with a girl (Claire Lewis) and, towards his will, is joined by an aggressive neighbour (David Hayman).

His subsequent single play, Love After Lunch (1987), for the BBC, was a comedy of manners starring Denis Lawson, whose character attends counselling periods when his marriage is falling aside, solely to find that the chief of the group is having an affair along with his spouse.

Payne explored relationship points once more within the groundbreaking 1993 BBC miniseries You, Me and It. Based mostly on the issue skilled by the drama’s producer, Alex Graham, in conceiving his first little one, it featured a former rugby worldwide (James Wilby) and his spouse (Suzanne Burden) dealing with infertility issues.

“I needed to the touch all points of the couple’s lives and discover how infertility and the stress it creates impacts their relationship with one another, their buddies, household and colleagues,” Payne mentioned. As with all his work, he sought to search out some humour within the story, which he mentioned “creeps in naturally” as soon as the characters are developed.

Payne was born in Bovey Tracey, Devon, to Joan (nee Landamore) and Dudley Payne, and studied at Denstone school, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, and Hornsey Faculty of Artwork (1969-72) in London. He labored as a screenprinter till breaking by way of as a author with the BBC Radio 4 play Hazard! Man at Work! (1980). His agent despatched him to Linda Agran, Minder’s script govt, and his tv profession took off.

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Lovejoy, with Phyllis Logan and Ian McShane. {Photograph}: FreemantleMedia/Rex/ Shutterstock

He tailored tales by Dick Francis for a 1989 TV collection primarily based across the adventures of the fictional Jockey Membership investigator David Cleveland (McShane). There have been stylish interval items: Useless Beautiful, Payne’s 2002 model of Peter Lovesey’s post-second world battle novel On the Edge, which starred Fay Ripley and Helen McCrory as ladies planning to homicide one another’s husbands – a trendy variation on the Hitchcock thriller Strangers on a Prepare; and Malice Aforethought (2005), from Anthony Berkeley Cox’s novel, with Ben Miller as a Nineteen Twenties physician who seduces, then murders, his victims.

Payne’s later stage performs, corresponding to Plan B (2008) and Don’t Go There (2018), had been championed by Robert Plagnol, an actor and producer who translated them for French theatre and pageant performances. His 2013 play The Assembly was directed by Lawson at Hampstead theatre in 2016.

Payne’s 1973 marriage to Julia Manheim led to divorce. He’s survived by his second spouse, Nicola (nee Gibson), whom he married in 2014, and his stepdaughters, Phoebe and Florence.


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