Alan Simpson
Alan Simpson

Alan Simpson

  • English
  • Writer
Alan Simpson. Copyright: Yorkshire Television

Best known for co-creating and writing comedies Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe And Son, Alan Simpson is celebrated for near-inventing - with co-writer Ray Galton - the British sitcom. Born in Brixton, he developed tuberculosis in 1947 - at the age of 17 - and spent more than a year recovering in a Surrey hospital, where he met and began writing with fellow patient Galton.

Year Production Role
2024 Hancock's Half Hour: The Lost TV Episodes Coming Soon Writer
2023 Hancock's Half Hour: The Lost Episodes Writer
2022 The Steptoe and Son Radio Show Writer
2022 Secrets & Scandals Of Steptoe & Son Self (Archive Material)
2022 The Norwegian Hancock Self (Archive Material)
2020 The Missing Hancocks - New Year Resolutions Writer
2019 The Missing Hancocks - Series 5
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Diamond Ring
  2. Special - Christmas At Aldershot
  3. E4 - The Counterfeiter
Writer
2018 The Day Off Development Writer
2018 Looking For Oil Drum Lane Self (Archive Material)
2018 The Missing Hancocks - Series 4 Writer
2017 The Missing Hancocks - Series 3
View episodes
  1. E1 - A Holiday In France
  2. E2 - The Crown Jewels
  3. E3 - The Racehorse
  4. E4 - A Visit To Swansea
  5. E5 - The Three Sons
Writer
2016 Lost Sitcoms
View episodes
  1. E2 - Hancock's Half Hour: The New Neighbour
  2. E3 - Steptoe And Son: A Winter's Tale
Writer
2014 The Missing Hancocks - Series 1
View episodes
  1. E2 - The Newspaper
  2. E3 - The Hancock Festival
  3. E4 - The Breakfast Cereal
Writer
2014 Comedy Playhouse: Where It All Began Self
2013 My Hero: Ben Miller On Tony Hancock Self
2013 Tony Hancock: From Bournemouth To East Cheam Self
2013 The Many Faces Of... - Series 3
  1. E3 - The Many Faces Of Sid James
Self
2013 Radio 2's History Of British Comedy
  1. E2 - Episode Two
  2. E3 - Episode Three
Self
2013 Frankie Howerd: The Lost Tapes Self
2012 Steptoe And Son...And Sons Self
2012 John Howard Davies: A Life In Comedy Self
2011 David Jason's Comedy Christmas Self
2010 The Unforgettable... - Series 4
  1. E8 - Spike Milligan
Self
2009 Very Nearly An Armful - The Galton & Simpson Story Self
2009 Galton & Simpson's Half Hour
View episodes
  1. E1 - You'll Never Walk Alone
  2. E2 - Impasse
  3. E3 - I Tell You It's Burt Reynolds
  4. E4 - The Blood Donor
Writer
2008 Greatest Christmas Comedy Moments Self
2008 Mark Lawson Talks To Galton And Simpson Self
2007 Larry Stephens: The Man Who Never Was Self
2007 Make 'Em Laugh, Make 'Em Laugh
  1. E1 - The Family, Love 'Em And Hate 'Em
Self
2007 Laughed Off The Page - Series 1
  1. E3 - Galton & Simpson
Self
2006 The Ultimate Sitcom Self
2005 The Unknown Hancock Self
2004 The Complete And Utter History Of Hancock's Half Hour Self
2004 Hancock's Helpers Self
2004 Britain's Best Sitcom
  1. E1 - The Launch
Guest
2003 Associated London Scripts
View episodes
  1. E1 - Episode One
  2. E2 - Episode Two
Self
2002 Six Characters In Search Of An Answer - Series 1
  1. E4 - Hancock
Self
2002 Reputations: Frankie Howerd Self
2002 Heroes Of Comedy - Series 6
  1. E2 - Sid James
Self
2001 In Conversation With - Series 3
  1. E4 - Galton and Simpson
Self
2000 The Unforgettable... - Series 2
  1. E3 - Sid James
  2. E5 - Frankie Howerd
Self
1999 Laughter In The House: The Story Of British Sitcom
  1. E1 - The Early Days
Self
1999 H-H-H-Happy Birthday Hancock Self
1998 The Galton And Simpson Playhouse Writer
1998 A Loose Canon Self
1997 Paul Merton In Galton & Simpson's... - Series 2
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Clerical Error
  2. E2 - The Wrong Man
  3. E3 - I Tell You It's Burt Reynolds
  4. E4 - Visiting Day
  5. E5 - The Suit
  6. E6 - Being Sound of Mind
  7. E7 - Lunch in the Park
Writer
1996 Paul Merton In Galton & Simpson's... - Series 1
View episodes
  1. E1 - Twelve Angry Men
  2. E2 - Impasse
  3. E3 - The Radio Ham
  4. E4 - Sealed with a Loving Kiss
  5. E5 - The Missing Page
  6. E6 - Don't Dilly Dally on the Way
  7. E7 - The Lift
  8. E8 - The Bedsitter
Writer
1990 Frankie Howerd On Campus Writer
1984 Briers On Hancock Self
1979 Le Petomane Writer
1977 Big Deal At York City Associate Producer
1977 Big Deal At York City Writer
1977 I Tell You It's Burt Reynolds Associate Producer
1977 I Tell You It's Burt Reynolds Writer
1977 Variations On A Theme Associate Producer
1977 Variations On A Theme Writer
1977 Naught For Thy Comfort Associate Producer
1977 Naught For Thy Comfort Writer
1977 Cheers Associate Producer
1977 Cheers Writer
1977 Swap You One Of These For One Of Those Associate Producer
1977 Swap You One Of These For One Of Those Writer
1977 Car Along The Pass Associate Producer
1977 Car Along The Pass Writer
1976 Steptoe And Son - Series 6 Writer
1975 Frankie Howerd's Tittertime Writer
1975 Dawsons Weekly Writer
1974 Holiday With Strings Writer
1974 You'll Never Walk Alone Writer
1974 Steptoe And Son - Series 8
View episodes
  1. E1 - Back In Fashion
  2. E2 - And So To Bed
  3. E3 - Porn Yesterday
  4. E4 - The Seven Steptoerai
  5. E5 - Upstairs, Downstairs, Upstairs, Downstairs
  6. E6 - Seance In A Wet Reg And Bone Yard
  7. Special - Christmas Special
Writer
1974 The Last Man On Earth Writer
1974 Steptoe And Son - Series 5 Writer
1973 Bunclarke-With-An-E Writer
1973 Casanova '73
View episodes
  1. E1 - Episode One
  2. E2 - Episode Two
  3. E3 - Episode Three
  4. E4 - Episode Four
  5. E5 - Episode Five
  6. E6 - Episode Six
  7. E7 - Episode Seven
Writer
1973 Steptoe And Son Ride Again Writer
1972 Steptoe And Son - Series 7
View episodes
  1. E1 - Men Of Letters
  2. E2 - A Star Is Born
  3. E3 - Oh, What A Beautiful Mourning
  4. E4 - Live Now, PAYE Later
  5. E5 - Loathe Story
  6. E6 - Divided We Stand
  7. E7 - The Desperate Hours
  8. Special - Christmas Special
Writer
1972 Clochemerle
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Magnificent Idea Of Barthelemy Piechut
  2. E2 - The Triumphant Inaugeration Of A Municipal Amenity
  3. E3 - The Spirited Protest Of Justine Putet
  4. E4 - The Awful Awakening Of Claudius Brodequin
  5. E5 - The Painful Infliction Of Nicholas The Beadle
  6. E6 - The Scandalous Outcome Of A Night Of Destruction
  7. E7 - The Inexorable Power Of The Third Republic
  8. E8 - The Dreaded Arrival Of Captain Tardivaux
  9. E9 - The Glorious Triumph Of Barthelemy Piechut
Writer (Adapted By)
1972 Steptoe And Son - Series 4 Writer
1972 Steptoe & Son Writer
1971 Up The Chastity Belt Writer
1971 The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins Writer
1971 Frankie Howerd's Hour Writer
1971 Frankie Howerd: The Laughing Stock Of Television Writer
1971 Steptoe And Son - Series 3 Writer
1971 A Story Of Our Time: What Happened To Hancock? Self
1970 Steptoe And Son - Series 6
View episodes
  1. E1 - Robbery With Violence
  2. E2 - Come Dancing
  3. E3 - Two's Company
  4. E4 - Tea For Two
  5. E5 - Without Prejudice
  6. E6 - Pot Black
  7. E7 - The Three Feathers
  8. E8 - Cuckoo In The Nest
Writer
1970 Steptoe And Son - Series 5
View episodes
  1. E1 - A Death In The Family
  2. E2 - A Winter's Tale
Writer
1970 Loot Writer (Adapted By)
1969 The Galton & Simpson Comedy
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Suit
  2. E2 - Friends In High Places
  3. E3 - Never Talk To Strangers
  4. E4 - Don't Dilly Dally On The Way
  5. E5 - Pity Poor Edie Married To Him
  6. E6 - An Extra Bunch Of Daffodils
Writer
1967 Steptoe And Son - Series 2 Writer
1966 Hancock At The Royal Festival Hall Writer (Additional Material)
1966 Steptoe And Son - Series 1 Writer
1966 Frankie Howerd - Series 2 Writer
1965 Steptoe And Son - Series 4
View episodes
  1. E3 - Those Magnificent Men And Their Heating Machines
Writer
1964 Frankie Howerd - Series 1 Writer
1964 A Last Word On The Election Writer
1964 Milligan's Wake - Series 1 Writer
1964 Steptoe And Son - Series 3
View episodes
  1. E2 - The Wooden Overcoats
  2. E7 - The Lodger
Writer
1964 The Bargee Writer
1963 The Wrong Arm Of The Law Writer (Adapted By)
1963 Shamrot First Irishman
1963 The Handyman Writer
1963 A Clerical Error Writer
1963 Have You Read This Notice? Writer
1963 Impasse Writer
1963 And Here, All The Way From... Writer
1963 Our Man In Moscow Writer
1963 Steptoe And Son - Series 2
View episodes
  1. E5 - A Musical Evening
Writer
1963 Wish You Were Here! Writer (Additional Material)
1962 Steptoe And Son - Series 1
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Bird
  2. E2 - The Piano
  3. E3 - The Economist
  4. E4 - The Diploma
  5. E5 - The Holiday
  6. Special - Christmas Night With The Stars
Writer
1962 The Channel Swimmer Writer
1962 Sealed With A Loving Kiss Writer
1962 Visiting Day Writer
1962 Sykes And A... - Series 5
  1. E1 - A Gamble
Removal Man
1962 The Status Symbol Writer
1962 The Telephone Call Writer
1962 The Reunion Writer
1962 Steptoe And Son - Comedy Playhouse Writer
1961 The Private Lives Of Edward Whiteley Writer
1961 Lunch In The Park Writer
1961 Clicquot Et Fils Writer
1961 Hancock's Half Hour - Hancock
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Bedsitter
  2. E2 - The Bowmans
  3. E3 - The Radio Ham
  4. E4 - The Lift
  5. E5 - The Blood Donor
  6. E6 - The Succession - Son And Heir
Writer
1961 The Rebel Story
1961 The Rebel Writer
1960 Citizen James - Series 1
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Race
  2. E2 - The Elixir
  3. E3 - The Raffle
  4. E4 - The Money
  5. E5 - The Brand Image
  6. Special - Christmas Night With The Stars
  7. E6 - The Rivals
Writer
1960 Ladies And Gentle-Men Writer
1960 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 6
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Cold
  2. E2 - The Missing Page
  3. E3 - The Emigrant
  4. E4 - The Reunion Party
  5. E5 - Sid In Love
  6. E6 - The Babysitters
  7. E7 - The Ladies' Man
  8. E8 - The Photographer
  9. E9 - The East Cheam Centenary
  10. E10 - The Poison Pen Letters
Writer
1959 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 5
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Economy Drive
  2. E2 - The Two Murderers
  3. E3 - Lord Byron Lived Here
  4. E4 - Twelve Angry Men
  5. E5 - The Train Journey
  6. E6 - The Cruise
  7. E7 - The Big Night
  8. E8 - The Tycoon
  9. E9 - Spanish Interlude
  10. E10 - Football Pools
Writer
1958 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 4
View episodes
  1. E1 - Ericson The Viking
  2. E2 - Underpaid! Or, Grandad's SOS
  3. E3 - The Set That Failed
  4. E4 - The New Nose
  5. E5 - The Flight Of The Red Shadow
  6. E6 - The Horror Serial
  7. E7 - The Italian Maid
  8. E8 - Matrimony - Almost
  9. E9 - The Beauty Contest
  10. E10 - The Wrong Man
  11. E11 - The Oak Tree
  12. E12 - The Knighthood
Writer
1958 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 4
  1. E8 - Matrimony - Almost
  2. E10 - The Wrong Man
Actor
1958 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 4
  1. E5 - The Flight Of The Red Shadow
Warder
1958 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 4
  1. E5 - The Flight Of The Red Shadow
Barracker
1958 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 4
  1. E9 - The Beauty Contest
Dance Hall Attendant
1958 The April 8th Show (Seven Days Early) Writer
1958 Early To Braden - Series 2 Writer
1957 Hancock's Forty-Three Minutes Writer
1957 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 3
  1. E3 - The Amusement Arcade
Teddy Boy
1957 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 3
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Continental Holiday
  2. E2 - The Great Detective
  3. E3 - The Amusement Arcade
  4. E4 - A Holiday In Scotland
  5. E5 - Air Steward Hancock: The Last Of The Many
  6. E6 - The Regimental Reunion
  7. E7 - The Adopted Family
  8. E8 - The Elocution Teacher
  9. E9 - The Lawyer: The Crown v Sidney James
  10. E10 - Competitions: How To Win Money And Influence People
  11. E11 - There's An Airfield At The Bottom Of My Garden
  12. Special - Hancock's Forty-Three Minutes
Writer
1957 Early To Braden - Series 1 Writer
1957 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 2
  1. E2 - Lady Chatterley's Revenge
1st Man
1957 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 2
View episodes
  1. E1 - The Alpine Holiday
  2. E2 - Lady Chatterley's Revenge
  3. E3 - The Russian Prince
  4. E4 - The New Neighbour
  5. E5 - The Pianist
  6. E6 - The Auction
Writer
1957 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 2
  1. E1 - The Alpine Holiday
Ensemble Actor
1957 Closing Night Actor
1956 The Tony Hancock Show - Series 2
View episodes
  1. E5 - Episode Five
  2. E6 - Episode Six
Writer
1956 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1
  1. E5 - The Radio Show
Corporal
1956 Opening Night Self
1956 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1
  1. E4 - The Bequest
Ensemble Actor
1956 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1
  1. E3 - The Dancer
Floor Manager
1956 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1
View episodes
  1. E1 - The First TV Show
  2. E2 - The Artist
  3. E3 - The Dancer
  4. E4 - The Bequest
  5. E5 - The Radio Show
  6. E6 - The Chef That Died Of Shame
Writer
1956 Back With Braden Writer
1955 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 3
View episodes
  1. E10 - The Trial Of Father Christmas
  2. E11 - Cinderella Hancock
  3. E20 - The Test Match
Writer
1955 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 3
View episodes
  1. E10 - The Trial Of Father Christmas
  2. E11 - Cinderella Hancock
  3. E20 - The Test Match
Ensemble Actor
1955 The Frankie Howerd Show - Series 3 Writer
1955 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 2
  1. E4 - A Visit To Swansea
Miner
1955 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 2
View episodes
  1. E1 - A Holiday In France
  2. E2 - The Crown Jewels
  3. E3 - The Racehorse
  4. E4 - A Visit To Swansea
  5. E6 - The Chef That Died Of Shame
  6. E9 - The Television Set
  7. E10 - The Three Sons
Writer
1955 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 2
View episodes
  1. E1 - A Holiday In France
  2. E2 - The Crown Jewels
  3. E3 - The Racehorse
  4. E6 - The Chef That Died Of Shame
Ensemble Actor
1955 The Frankie Howerd Show - Series 2 Writer
1955 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1
  1. E13 - A House On The Cliff
Foreman
1955 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1
  1. E11 - A Trip To France
Customs Officer
1954 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1
View episodes
  1. E1 - The First Night Party
  2. E2 - The Diamond Ring
  3. E3 - The Idol
  4. E4 - The Boxing Champion
  5. E6 - The New Car
  6. E10 - Cinderella Hancock
  7. E11 - A Trip To France
  8. E12 - The Monte Carlo Rally
  9. E13 - A House On The Cliff
  10. E15 - The Marriage Bureau
Writer
1954 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1
View episodes
  1. E1 - The First Night Party
  2. E2 - The Diamond Ring
  3. E3 - The Idol
  4. E4 - The Boxing Champion
  5. E10 - Cinderella Hancock
  6. E12 - The Monte Carlo Rally
  7. E15 - The Marriage Bureau
Ensemble Actor
1953 The Frankie Howerd Show - Series 1 Writer

Non-comedy TV and film credits may be found here:
Alan Simpson on IMDb

Born
Wednesday 27th November 1929
Died
Wednesday 8th February 2017 (aged 87)
Title
Alan Simpson OBE
Member of
Nationality
English

Alan Simpson OBE was an English scriptwriter best known for the Galton and Simpson comedy writing partnership he formed with Ray Galton.

Born in Brixton and educated at Mitcham County Grammar School for Boys, Simpson met Galton whilst hospitalised for tuberculosis at Milford Sanatorium near Godalming in Surrey. One of the plot lines in Linda Grant's 2016 novel The Dark Circle was even based on Simpson's experience of broadcasting on hospital radio with Galton during their time at the sanatorium. Their first show while here was called Have You Ever Wondered?, described by the 89th issue of the sanatorium's Milford Bulletin in 1949 as "slick, up-to-the-minute, with a dash of satire, a worthy effort indeed". Whilst bed-ridden here, another patient, an engineer, got hold of a radio from an old RAF Lancaster bomber, which allowed them to spend all day long listening to British radio comedy and American performers such as Bob Hope and Jack Benny. Both Galton and Simpson were 17 years old at the time, and upon being discharged, they applied for and were offered roles at the BBC, writing sketches for a wide variety of comedians.

Having proven their worth by offering jokes to the well-known performer Derek Roy at five shillings a go, the duo were put on the BBC's payroll for eight guineas a week. After their breakthrough show, the Derek Roy vehicle Happy Go Lucky, the pair began to write for Frankie Howerd and Tony Hancock, writing material for The Frankie Howard Show and penning such works as Hancock's Half Hour - both radio show and BBC One sitcom. Following the success of this programme, which ran for 7 series between 1956 and 1961, Galton and Simpson wrote several other comedy series, including Comedy Playhouse, the fourth episode of which was entitled "The Offer" and featured two rag-and-bone men living in Shepherd's Bush.

Tom Sloane, the head of BBC light entertainment, offered Galton and Simpson the opportunity to create an entire show based around these figures, and this was how Steptoe And Son was born, a sitcom that ran for eight series between 1962 and 1974 - with a peak audience of nearly 30 million. Simpson would later describe situation comedy as follows: "Half an hour, with no funny voices or jokes as such, all comedy inspired by the characters, and a complete storyline, with no interruptions by a singer or instrumentalist."

Galton and Simpson joined forces with Eric Sykes, Spike Milligan, Frankie Howerd and Jonny Speight, who would later create Till Death Do Us Part, to form their own co-operative writers' agency, Associated London Scripts.

Notable among his many awards are the Guild of TV Producers and Directors' Scriptwriters of the Year (1959), the Screenwriters' Guild best comedy series for Steptoe And Son (1962, 1963, 1964, and 1965), and the Writers' Guild of Great Britain lifetime achievement award (1997).

After the shock of his wife's death, in later life married his manager Tessa Le Bars, who cared for him to the end. He was known for enjoying long drives through France in his Rolls-Royce, sampling culinary delights in various vineyards and restaurants. Simpson was awarded an OBE in 2000 and both he and Galton received a BAFTA fellowship on 8 May 2016 for their services to comedy. He famously said that he always desired to write about working-class characters - mostly losers, fools, or failures - whom he felt he understood best.

BAFTA Television Awards 2016
BAFTA Fellowship (Winner)
Chortle Awards 2013
Outstanding Contribution to Comedy (Winner)
British Comedy Awards 1997
Best Writing (Winner)
Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards 1972
Best Comedy Screenplay (Winner)
Best TV Comedy (Winner)
BAFTA Television Awards 1959
Best Scriptwriter (Winner)
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