I'm really, really saddened to hear of the death of Leigh born actor and playwright Colin Welland at the age of 81.
For better or worse, Welland will be remembered as a writer for winning the Oscar in 1981 for his screenplay of Chariots of Fire (and his subsequent acceptance speech rally-cry of "The British are coming!") and, as an actor, for his role as the sensitive teacher Mr Farthing in Ken Loach's 1969 film Kes. But these key moments were just peaks in a long and distinguished career from which there is much to enjoy and admire, including penning some superlative Play for Today's including Kisses at Fifty, The Hallelujah Handshake and, best of all, Leeds United, and starring in the likes of Z Cars, Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, sitcom Cowboys, The Sweeney (and its spin off film Sweeney!) and in Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills - many of these credits I have enthused about previously on this blog.
Sadly Rocket, his long term ambition to tell the story of George and Robert Stephenson, the father and son who developed rail travel, was never realised, and in recent years Welland suffered from that cruellest of illnesses, Alzheimers.
Welland hailed from the same town as I do, and he is one of my heroes. Today is a very sad day. RIP