Johnny Byrne

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:23

Acclaimed writer on the likes of Space: 1999, Doctor Who, All Creatures Great and Small and Heartbeat ...


Johnny Byrne has had a long association with the development of television drama in the UK. With over 140 TV and film and credits, genres he has worked in include period, historical, contemporary, science fiction and children's drama. In the 1970s he was Executive Story Editor and principal writer of 12 episodes of Space 1999 season one, and also scripted Gerry Anderson’s pilot The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity as well as the short Message From Moonbase Alpha, which some consider the final, 49th, episode of Space:1999.

He wrote three Doctor Who adventures, namely "The Keeper of Traken", "Arc of Infinity" and "Warriors of the Deep". In the first of these he created Nyssa, who went on to be a very popular companion, and Johnny also wrote a screenplay for one of the proposed feature film versions of the series in 1990.

Johnny was the Script Consultant and principal writer of 38 episodes of All Creatures Great and Small. He is now most famous as the creator and principal writer of Heartbeat.

He adapted the biographical books of the wild animal doctor, David Taylor, which was the catalyst for One By One, for which he also scripted 13 episodes. He also created Noah’s Ark in 1997, and was a writer for Love Hurts (starring Adam Faith and Zoe Wanamaker), Pipkins (six episodes), Tales of the Unexpected (three episodes), Dodger, Bonzo and the Rest (three episodes), and Miracles Take Longer (four episodes).

Johnny wrote "Season Of The Witch" for the BBC Play For Today strand in 1971, and the films "Adolf Hitler, My Part In His Downfall" (adapted from the autobiographical book by Spike Milligan in 1972), "Rosie Is My Relative" (1976), and "To Die For" (1994).

In the 1960s he worked as a literary editor and wrote poetry and short stories, including a science fiction tale which was published in the magazine "Science Fantasy". Another story was included in Judith Merrill's "The Best Of Science Fiction 1965-6". He wrote the best selling novels "Groupie" (with Jenny Fabian) set in the 1960s London rock scene, and "Stopcock", a gothic thriller.

Johnny has written and lectured on political issues, especially those affecting Yugoslavia, and has an interest in Celtic mythology. He has also taught English as a Foreign Language in London, Paris, Athens, and Istanbul, been a Departmental Manager for ecclesiastical suppliers, an electrician, a lifeguard on the Isis (Oxford), a Touring Manager for rock groups, and a stage performer in the 1960s.

He is a director and shareholder of Teddytredbear Ltd, a company formed to exploit his screenplay "The Legend of Teddy Bear", and a director and shareholder of Backs Electronic Publishing Ltd, an independent company developing and producing software projects. Their first title "Ann Willan - The Food Of France" won one of the first awarded EMMAs (EuroMulti Media Award).

Johnny is married, the father of three boys, and lives in Norfolk.


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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