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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 9 January, 2003, 17:50 GMT
Novelist Tinniswood dies
Peter Tinniswood
Peter Tinniswood: prolific playwright

Respected novelist and playwright Peter Tinniswood has died at the age of 66 following a long battle with cancer.

The Liverpudlian writer was diagnosed with oral cancer in 1995 and had undergone surgery to have his larynx removed.

Tinniswood was responsible for bringing many memorable characters to radio and television.

One of his best-remembered characters was Uncle Mort, an indomitable northerner who contracted cancer in the screenplay I Didn't Know You Cared.

Several of the television and radio plays written by Tinniswood attracted a devoted following.

Perhaps his best-known works were Tales from a Long Room, and its sequel, More Tales from a Long Room, which told stories about cricket, one of Tinniswood's life-long passions.

Cast of I Didn't Know You Cared
The Brandon family of I Didn't Know You Cared
The novels were produced on television, radio and the stage.

Most recently he worked on the small screen adaptation of HE Bates' Uncle Silas, which stars Albert Finney.

Born in Liverpool, Tinniswood grew up in Sale, Greater Manchester, where he lived above the dry-cleaners run by his mother.

As a young boy he would sit under the counter among the dirty laundry, listening to customers' conversations.

"It was like live radio," he said "it sharpened my ear for dialogue...I became a good mimic."

He began his working life as a journalist, writing fiction in his spare time until it was able to provide him with a livelihood.

Radical surgery

Tinniswood's plays have been produced all over the country, including at the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic.

Amongs others, he has written for, and had his work performed by, are Dame Judi Dench, Billie Whitelaw, Jane Lapotaire and Michael Williams.

Tinniswood's second wife, the actress Liz Goulding, performed and inspired many of his works.

His oral cancer was the result of 40 years of pipe smoking.

With actors Paul Schofield and Fiona Shaw
Top, with actors Paul Schofield and Fiona Shaw
After four years of treatment he had radical surgery to remove his larynx and some of his tongue, resulting in the loss of his voice. He subsequently had an electronic voice-box fitted.

Tinniswood moved back in with Liz Goulding, even though they had been divorced. She cared for him throughout his battle with cancer.

He continued to work throughout his illness, saying that writing about what was happening to him was the only way he could cope.

Among his new plays were Croak, Croak, Croak and The Last Obit.

"I am writing better than I have in my life," he said shortly before his death.

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26 Nov 02 | TV and Radio
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