Almost every Mancunian must have experienced and enjoyed the work of playwright and scriptwriter Jack Rosenthal.
The life-long United supporter wrote 129 episodes of Coronation Street and more than 150 screenplays for film and TV, including London’s Burning, The Lovers and Bar Mitzvah Boy.
There is even a street in Chorlton-on-Medlock named after him, aptly running right next to the new HOME centre for contemporary theatre and art.
Born in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, in September 1931, Rosenthal studied English Literature at Sheffield University before carrying out his National Service in the Royal Navy.
After a brief spell in advertising, he joined Granada TV in 1961. He quickly became a regular writer for the long-running soap Coronation Street as well as contributing to the satirical review show That Was The Week That Was.
He created some memorable comedy programmes for Granada, including The Lovers, starring Paula Wilcox and Richard Beckinsale, in 1970 and The Dustbinmen in 1969.
The Dustbinmen, starring Bryan Pringle and Trevor Bannister, was actually a spin-off from Rosenthal’s 90-minute screenplay There’s a Hole in Your Dustbin Delilah broadcast in 1969.
Another early spin-off, this time from Coronation Street, was Pardon the Expression. Aired in 1965, it featured Arthur Lowe playing his Street character Leonard Swindley.
Rosenthal’s TV success continued on the BBC Play for Today series with his 1975 screenplay The Evacuees. Drawing on experiences form Rosenthal’s life, it told the story of two Jewish boys evacuated from Manchester to Blackpool.
The Evacuees starred Rosenthal’s wife Maureen Lipman and was directed by Alan Parker. It won an International EMMY award as well as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for Best Play.
More critical acclaim followed in 1976 for Rosenthal’s play Bar Mitzvah Boy, which portrayed the tensions in a North East London home as a working class family prepare for the Bar Mitzvah ceremony.
Widely regarded as a modern classic, Bar Mitzvah Boy won the BAFTA award for Best Single Play and came 56th in the 2000 British Film Institute poll of the 100 greatest British TV programmes.
Just a year later, Rosenthal penned another triumph for the BBC Play for Today series – Spend, Spend, Spend. It recounted the life of football pools winner’s wife Viv Nicholson.
The production again won the BAFTA for Best Single Play as well as the Royal Television Society’s Writer’s Award for 1977.
In 1986, Rosenthal wrote the TV film London’s Burning for London Weekend Television. The popular series that followed ran from 1988 to 2002.
For the big screen, Rosenthal co-wrote the 1983 film Yentl with Barbra Streisand as well as screenplays for The Lucky Star (1980), The Chain (1984) and Captain Jack (1999).
His outstanding work was recognised with a CBE in 1994.
Rosenthal died at the age of 72 in Barnet in May 2004 and is buried in Golders Green Jewish Cemetery in North London.