Bergerac and Shoestring creator Robert Banks Stewart dies aged 84
Published 15/01/2016 | 14:56
Television writer Robert Banks Stewart, known for creating Bergerac and writing episodes of Doctor Who, has died aged 84.
Born in Edinburgh in 1931, Stewart also worked as a producer on shows including The Darling Buds of May, where he is said to have given the final casting vote for Catherine Zeta-Jones to play Pop Larkin's daughter.
The TV veteran died at home on Thursday after suffering from cancer, his son Andy Stewart said.
Among Stewart's creations was the Jersey-based detective Jim Bergerac - a divorced loner and recovering alcoholic who liked to drive his vintage sports car while solving a whole range of crimes.
John Nettles played the lead role and it was an instant success for the BBC, a Sunday night number one which ran for 10 years from 1981 to 1991.
Stewart wrote two stories for Doctor Who in the mid-seventies: The Seeds of Doom and The Terror of the Zygons. Starring Tom Baker as the Doctor, both are now regarded by fans as classics.
He was also behind Eddie Shoestring, a shambling but shrewd figure, played by newcomer Trevor Eve in 1979.
Shoestring was a huge hit, dominating Sunday night viewing for two years, and gaining the number one position in the weekly national TV ratings, as well as being nominated for a Bafta.
Perhaps one of the biggest successes of Stewart's career was the opening series of HE Bates' The Darling Buds of May, which gained one of the highest ratings for a new series in the history of British TV.
He is survived by his three sons from his second marriage and a daughter from his first.