Born and raised in the north east of England (first Jarrow, then Hull), he rose to prominence as a scriptwriter for police drama Z Cars before writing for TV series including Armchair Theatre, Softly, Softly, The Stars Look Down, The Good Companions (from the novel by JB Priestley) and The Barchester Chronicles. He won a Bafta for A Very British Coup in 1989.
His numerous plays include Close the Coalhouse Door, Sweet Sorrow, Shooting the Legend, All Credit to the Lads, I Thought I Heard a Rustling, Peggy for You (a tribute to his former literary agent Peggy Ramsay), Only a Matter of Time and The Blonde Bombshells Of 1943 (a prequel to the 2000 TV series starring Judi Dench).
A passionate Hull City fan, his play Confessions of a City Supporter, plotting the history of the club, premiered to critical acclaim at Hull Truck in 2004. He was awarded a CBE the following year.
In a recent interview with the Writers Guild (of which he was president from 1991-95), Plater said: “In the past few years the health has not been too terrific but the writing has given me a focus … Shirley and I had a big joint 70th birthday party a few years ago. We made threescore years and ten. We smoke, we still drank a bit then. Everything else is a bonus. I am quite biblical that way.”
He also revealed that he received a message from Anthony Minghella (who died in 2008) when he first got ill. It read: “We need for you to tell us what to feel and how to think. Ant.”
Plater's agent Alexandra Cann told the BBC that he had been "very robust" until last week, when he was admitted to a London hospice.
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