R.I.P. Writer Tony Hoare

Tony Hoare: screenwriter of The Sweeney and Minder

Oh my god, this is one of the best obits I’ve ever read!

Tony Hoare spent much of his early life in prison for robbing banks, but from this unlikely background he became a successful writer for television, with scripts for such programmes as Crown Court, The Sweeney and, above all, Minder.

Emphasis added by me.

Wait. It gets better:

Tony Hoare was born in Oxford in 1938. His father worked in a ball bearings factory and his mother was a waitress in one of the colleges. The family later moved to Luton, where Hoare grew up. He was a bright scholar and might have gone on to college, but on leaving school he went to London in search of excitement.

He found it as the member of a gang of bank robbers. They were never very successful. After a job in Warrington they repaired to a nearby pub but their southern accents immediately gave them away and they were arrested. Although a terrible driver, Hoare was the getaway man. He could reflect that he made far more money writing about crime for television than from his own crimes.

For much of the 1960s he was in and out of prison. He made headlines when he escaped from a high-security jail in Liverpool, had a spell in solitary confinement in Dartmoor and ended up in Hull, where he got a job in the library, read a lot and started writing. He ran a magazine called Contact, with the emphasis on the “con”, and wrote a novel which won an Arthur Koestler Award.

Emphasis added by me.

Wait. Here comes the twist:

Most importantly, he came to the attention of Alan Plater, a veteran of Z Cars and much else, who was a prison visitor and gave individual tuition to inmates interested in writing. Hoare was his star pupil. Plater suggested that he try to write a television script. Hoare had no idea where to start, so Plater showed him some of his own scripts, telling him: “Write something that’s like that.”

Hoare came up with a play called The Chaps, slang for villains, which Plater showed to friends in the business and after Hoare was released from Hull it was produced for television. Despite a further spell in prison for driving while disqualified, Hoare’s writing career quickly took off.

Emphasis added by me.

Get this:

Some of the titles of Hoare’s episodes are worth treasuring on their own. In 1984 there was If Money Be the Food of Love, Play On, in 1989 It’s a Sorry Lorry Morrie and in 1994, for the show’s 100th programme, he came up with All Things Brighton Beautiful.

And the final twist:

Hoare was often asked where he got his ideas from and had no convincing answer, though he tended to agree that writers often do their best work under pressure. He cited a Minder commission in 1982 when his life was falling apart. He had been ejected from the family home, was living out of his car and cadging beds from friends. But the script got written.

Emphasis added by me.

Talk about dedication!

Explore posts in the same categories: Reference - Life, Reference - Writing, Writers - Dead, Writing

16 Comments on “R.I.P. Writer Tony Hoare”

  1. \Mark Logan Says:

    I knew Tony Hoare, he was a friend of my mother’s Rosie Logan author, she wrote a terrific musical called a “Necessary Evil.” She was introduced to Mr Hoare and Mr Ray Jenkins who were desribed as author’s, they had heard about the blind author Rosie Logan known as the East End Gem, anyway both author’s agreed to read her script and said “if they like it they will try and gain financial backing for it.” The script was returned after they had read it, the title had been changed to “Blag” and written across the front page was Written by Tony Hoare & Ray Jenkins based upon an idea by Rosie Logan.
    I’m sorry to have to say this “Hoare & Jenkins were literacy robber’s, I’ll never forgive Hoare for what he had done to my blind mother. most of his alleged criminal past is and wash a complete fabrication.Good ridence to him.

    Mark Logan

  2. Linzi Doze Says:

    [comment removed at request of commenter]

  3. Tony went from bad, to good on his own talent,I shared time with Tony in Hull,Read all of his piles of school exercise books .All the Right guys recognized Tonys talent,As did Mr Plater,,,You got it right Linzi Doze,Tony was, and is a diamond.,Hull at that time housed a few infamous names,Jimmy Hussey,( Train Robbery ),Richardson mob,,A couple of Kray henchmen.And many more,Blaggers,Killers,A great blackboard for Tonys writing ,,,Mark Logan,your talking macaroni mush,,,,,,,,,,,RIP TONY,Many happy years following your travels,

    • Mark Logan Says:

      I would strongly suggest the last two Tony Hoare preachers of what a wonderful person he was, didn’t know him as well as they think they did, read Rosie Logan’s ” A necessary evil” then read Hoare’s ” Blag” they are identical, A necessary evil was confirmed to have been written two years prior to Blag, I also have the master tape for all the songs… There was a theft of literacy manuscript and musical songs for the play…
      It seems as though some skeletons have escaped from the literacy cudboard and feathers are beginning to be ruffled.

      • Linzi Doze Says:

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      • Linzi Doze Says:

        [comment removed at request of commenter]

      • Mark Logan Says:

        It would appear from the tone of your rhetoric that I’ve touched a very raw nerve, the truth does hurt, Tony Hoare was no bank robber he was a literacy robber of other peoples literacy endeavors and skill.

        Doze by name and sleepy by nature, it always is ” the empty can that makes the most noise” Tony’s first wife was a little gem as was his daughters and wouldn’t wish to offend them, but the truth needed to be told, he stole a blind authors works after death, why tarnish her brilliantly written musical by claiming himself and Ray Jenkins to be the authors of the aforementioned…

        You have no knowledge ot the writing of “Blag” or is a case of perhaps you also have your twisted finger in the pie of this musical, are you to financially benefit in anyway.?

  4. Linzi Doze Says:

    [comment removed at request of commenter]

    • Mark Logan Says:

      Please note I’ll be making no more comment pertaining to what has already been said, I have far more important things in my life deserving of my full attention.

      Mark Logan

      • Linzi Doze Says:

        [comment removed at request of commenter]

      • Mark Logan Says:

        Thanks for your rude abrupt comment, you obviously have to lean upon the use of foul language due to your lack of education, albeit I suppose I must make an exception when dealing with a mentally retard whom is having difficulty in dealing with her withering mind whislt going through her change.

  5. Linzi Doze Says:

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  6. Linzi Doze Says:

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  7. Terry Palmer Says:

    Hahaha i like the sound of you Linzi Doze. You put that wanker Mark Logan in his place. I think i may have met you years back at Jimmy Fleets house when Tony was there but never spoke to you as Jimmy was taking all your attention. God rest his soul

  8. Peter Todd Says:

    I was a close friend of both Tony and Pauline before I moved to Australia in 1970. He was a villain, but I liked him a lot.
    I also knew his mother – Marzie (his name for her)
    I remember him prior to the accident, describing himself as a Greek God, very much tongue in cheek.
    My mother tried to derail our friendship, because of his history.
    I spoke to him on a number of occasions by telephone, and caught up with Pauline in Stoke Newington in 1988 on my first trip back to the UK.
    I only found out that he had died about 5 years ago.
    He had a marvellous sense of humour.
    Rest in peace Tony

  9. Michael Says:

    I knew Tony in the 90’s he was one character. I also knew James Fleet aka Fleety & his young lady Lindsey. What an effing laugh those two were. RIP James & all the best lovely Lindsey

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