Lynda La Plante

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Lynda La Plante

Lynda Titchmarsh

(1943-03-15) 15 March 1943 (age 76)
Liverpool, England
OccupationAuthor, screenwriter, actress
Years active1964–present
Richard La Plante
(m. 1979;div. 1996)

Lynda La Plante, CBE (born Lynda Titchmarsh; 15 March 1943) is an English author, screenwriter and former actress, best known for writing the Prime Suspect television crime series.

Order of the British Empire British order of chivalry

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

<i>Prime Suspect</i> television series (1991-2006)

Prime Suspect is a British police procedural television drama series devised by Lynda La Plante. It stars Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison, one of the first female Detective Chief Inspectors in Greater London's Metropolitan Police Service, who rises to the rank of Detective Superintendent while confronting the institutionalised sexism that exists within the police force.


Early life

Lynda La Plante was born Lynda Titchmarsh on 15 March 1943. [1] [2] [3] Born and raised in Liverpool, [4] La Plante trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After finishing her studies, using the stage name Lynda Marchal, she appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a variety of productions, as well as popular television series including Z-Cars , Educating Marmalade , The Sweeney , The Professionals , and Bergerac . However, as an actress she is perhaps best remembered as the hay-fever suffering ghost Tamara Novek in the BBC children's series Rentaghost . In 1974, La Plante took her first scriptwriting job on the ITV children's sitcom The Kids from 47A .

Liverpool City and metropolitan borough in England

Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Drama school located in London, England

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) is a drama school in London, England that provides training for film, television and theatre. It is one of the oldest drama schools in the United Kingdom, founded in 1904 by Herbert Beerbohm Tree.

Royal Shakespeare Company British theatre company

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is a major British theatre company, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The company employs over 1,000 staff and produces around 20 productions a year. The RSC plays regularly in London, Newcastle upon Tyne, and on tour across the UK and internationally.

Widows and career breakthrough

Her breakthrough came in 1983 when she created and wrote the six-part robbery series Widows for Thames Television. The plot concerned the widows of four armed robbers carrying out a heist planned by their deceased husbands. A second series of Widows followed in 1985, while a sequel She's Out took up the story ten years later.

<i>Widows</i> (TV series) television series

Widows is a British primetime television crime drama that was broadcast in 1983 and 1985, produced by Euston Films for Thames Television and aired on the ITV network. Two six-part series were written by crime writer Lynda La Plante. The executive producer for the series was Verity Lambert. In 1984 it was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series or Serial.

She's Out was a British primetime television crime drama. The six-part series was produced by Cinema Verity for Carlton Television and screened on ITV in 1995. Written by Lynda La Plante as a sequel to her 1980's series, Widows, She's Out takes up the story of the central character, Dolly Rawlins, ten years after the events of the previous series. Ann Mitchell, who played Dolly, and Kate Williams, who played Audrey Withey, were the only cast members from the original series to appear in She's Out. The executive producer for the series was Verity Lambert, and the series was directed by Ian Toynton, both of whom had worked on the original series.

Her debut novel, The Legacy, was published in 1987 and received both critical and best-seller success. Her second, third and fourth novels came soon after – The Talisman (1987), Bella Mafia (1990) and Entwined (1993) – all of which became international best sellers. In 1990 La Plante started working on her next television project, Prime Suspect , which was released by Granada in 1991. Prime Suspect starred Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison, airing in the UK as well as on PBS in the United States as part of the anthology program Mystery! . In 1993 La Plante won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for her work on the series. In 1992 she wrote a TV film called Seekers , starring Brenda Fricker and Josette Simon, produced by Sarah Lawson.

ITV Granada Channel 3 regional service for North West England

ITV Granada is a regional television company in North West England. It is the largest independent television-franchise producing company in the UK, accounting for 25% of the total broadcasting output of the ITV network.

Helen Mirren British actress

Dame Helen Lydia Mirren, is an English actor. Mirren began her acting career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1967 and is one of the few performers who have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007 for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen and received the Olivier Award for Best Actress and Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the same role in The Audience.

<i>Mystery!</i> television series

Mystery! is a television anthology series produced by WGBH Boston for PBS in the United States.

In 1993 La Plante formed her own television production company, La Plante Productions and through her new company she wrote and produced high-rating series The Governor (ITV 1995–96), Supply & Demand (ITV 1997–98), Killer Net (Channel 4 1998), acclaimed series Trial & Retribution (ITV 1997–2009), Mind Games (ITV 2001) and The Commander (ITV 2003–08). During this period La Plante also released the Cold series of books; Cold Shoulder, Cold Blood and Cold Heart, followed by Sleeping Cruelty (2000) – adding to her list of best sellers.

<i>Supply & Demand</i> (TV series) television series

Supply & Demand is a British television crime drama series, written and devised by Lynda La Plante, first broadcast as a single feature-length pilot on ITV on 5 February 1997. The series follows the work of ESUS, a crack team of detectives tasked with investigating some of the country's biggest criminal importers and smugglers. The pilot was written in 1996, the year that La Plante's most notable television series, Prime Suspect, went on hiatus. Adé Sapara, Eamonn Walker, Benedict Wong, Juliet Aubrey and Ramon Tikaram were credited as principal cast members for the pilot.

Killer Net is a British television crime drama mini series, first broadcast on Channel 4 in May 1998. The drama was written and produced by Lynda La Plante, directed by Geoffrey Sax and featured a cast of up and coming actors. One of the main selling points of the series was that it starred Jason Orange of Take That, but it was also one of the introductions to the small screen of Paul Bettany.

<i>Trial & Retribution</i> television series

Trial & Retribution is a feature-length ITV police procedural television drama series that first aired on ITV1 on 19 October 1997. Written and devised by Lynda La Plante as a follow-on from her successful television series Prime Suspect, each episode was typically broadcast over two nights. David Hayman stars as the main protagonist of the series, DCS Michael "Mike" Walker. Throughout the series, he has two main sidekicks: DI Pat North in Series 1-6 and DCI Róisín Connor in Series 7-12.

In 1996 La Plante co-wrote and executive produced The Prosecutors (NBC) with Tom Fontana (starring Stockard Channing), wrote and executive produced Bella Mafia (1998 CBS) (starring Vanessa Redgrave), which La Plante adapted from her novel of the same name. In 2001 she co-produced The Warden (2001 TNT), starring Ally Sheedy, a variation of La Plante's series The Governor. La Plante also co-produced her adaptation of the UK hit Widows (2002 ABC) and produced the pilot of Cold Shoulder (2006 New Regency / CBS) starring Kelly McGillis, which was based on her Cold series. La Plante was also executive producer on Daniel Petrie Jnr's adaptation of her show Framed (2002 TNT) which starred Sam Neill and Rob Lowe.

Tom Fontana is an American writer and producer. An Emmy winner, Fontana worked on NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street and created HBO's Oz.

<i>Bella Mafia</i> 1997 American television film directed by David Greene

Bella Mafia is a 1997 American television film starring Vanessa Redgrave, Nastassja Kinski, Jennifer Tilly, Illeana Douglas and Dennis Farina. Redgrave was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. The movie has gained a cult following.

Vanessa Redgrave British actress

Vanessa Redgrave is an English actress of stage, screen, and television, and a political activist. She is a 2003 American Theatre Hall of Fame inductee, and received the 2010 BAFTA Fellowship.

La Plante released Royal Flush (2002), and then began working on her Anna Travis series, which includes Above Suspicion (2004), The Red Dahlia (2005), Clean Cut (2007), Deadly Intent (2008), Silent Scream (2009), Blind Fury (2010), Blood Line (2011), Backlash (2012), and Wrongful Death (2013). So successful were the books that a UK television series was written and produced by La Plante starring Kelly Reilly and Ciarán Hinds.


La Plante has received many awards over the course of her career. For her work on Prime Suspect she received two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Mini Series (1993, 1994), as well as the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Mystery TV Episode. [5] In 2001, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) gave her the Dennis Potter Award for television writing. [5]

In 2008 La Plante was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to Literature, Drama and to Charity. [5] [6] In the same year she received the TV Spielfilm Award at the International Film and Television Festival Conference in Cologne, Germany, for her television adaptation of her novel Above Suspicion.

In 2009 La Plante was inducted into the Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame and most recently, in 2013, La Plante was awarded an Honorary Fellowship with the Forensic Science Society (FSSoc), the first non-scientist to be inducted into the professional body – receiving the award for the accuracy with which she portrays forensic science in her work.

She has also been made an honorary member of the British Film Institute, [5] and an Honorary Fellow from Liverpool John Moores University.


Dolly Rawlins
Jane Tennison
Lorraine Page
Trial And Retribution
Anna Travis
Short stories

Personal life

She was married to musician Richard La Plante for 17 years, until their divorce in 1996. About 2003, she adopted a son whose name is Lorcan La Plante. [7] [8]

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  1. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  2. "BFI biodata". Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  3. "Only 57? Lynda La Plante used to be older than me, says Robinson, 59" The Daily Telegraph (8 February 2004). Retrieved 8 December 2009.
  4. "Biography". Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Lynda La Plante." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Retrieved via Biography in Context database, 2017-07-02; also available online via .
  6. "Order of the British Empire". The London Gazette (Supplement). No. 58729. 14 June 2008. p. 87.
  7. "Lynda La Plante on Savilie, the seventies and having a son (From HeraldScotland)". 7 September 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  8. Woods, Judith (17 October 2008). "Lynda La Plante's life story will be 'vicious'". Telegraph. Retrieved 2 March 2017.