Friday, November 30, 2007

Tony Holland 1940-2007

One of the co-creators of EastEnders, Tony Holland, has died at the age of 67. Holland who devised the Walford soap with his partner Julia Smith, also created Eldorado, Angels and District Nurse.

From Media Guardian:
Former EastEnders lead scriptwriter Tony Jordan, who went on to work with Holland on Eldorado, paid tribute to him.

"He was probably the only writer I have ever been in awe of," Jordan told

"He just had a grasp of story and imagination that went to a different place. He had a gift of taking a story and finding the heart of it. That is why EastEnders was so strong in the early days."
And former EastEnders writer, Andrew Collins, pays tribute.
I never met Tony Holland. But as a scriptwriter for EastEnders between 1999 and 2002, I benefited in many ways from the roots he laid down with Julia Smith between 1985 and 1989: the focus on character as much as on story (think of the great "two-handers", Den and Angie; Dot and Ethel - this was Play For Today disguised as soap opera), the courage to venture into dark places (yes, they called the show "depressing" and "miserable" - and it did start in 1985 with a corpse - but isn't some of the best British drama depressing?), and an attention to structure that was handed down, and continues to be handed down, as if some of those episodes were not merely built to pass half an hour and fade like soap suds, but to stand as textbook examples of how to write dramatic television.

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