November 1912 – April 1998

The Author –
Francis Durbridge

The English playwright Francis Durbridge was born in Hull in 1912 and enjoyed a long and successful career spanning 6 decades. According to the Times ‘What Agatha Christie was to the novel, Durbridge was to the radio and television play.’ He started his career in radio in 1933 writing children’s stories, comedy and romantic sketches as well as lyrics for variety shows and his first breakthrough success was a play called Promotion in 1934 about life in a department store. He is perhaps best remembered as the creator of Paul Temple, the amateur detective who, together with his wife Steve, first appeared in Send For Paul Temple an eight-part serial in May 1938. There followed 19 further Paul Temple radio serials.

In 1952 he wrote the first serial for television The Broken Horseshoe and between then and 1980 there were 19 more enormously popular television serials for the BBC. His serials featured the unique credit Francis Durbridge Presents before the title. His work was epitomised by fiendishly complicated plots with many cliffhangers, twists and turns, which kept the viewer guessing as to the identity of the villain until the last episode.

He also wrote for the stage and cinema and his work was published as novels. His most successful play Suddenly at Home ran in London’s West End for nearly two years.

His work was broadcast internationally and was popular across Europe, particularly in Germany, where his audience numbers broke records. In 1940 he married Norah Lawley and they had two sons, Stephen and Nicholas. For the last 25 years of his life he lived in Barnes in London where he died on 10th April 1998.

Books by Francis Durbridge

Audio by Francis Durbridge

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