Prodigious novelist and scriptwriter James Mitchell, who created popular British television series in the late 1960s and 1970s, died Sept. 15 of cancer in Newcastle, England. He was 76.
He wrote stage plays, screenplays, 70 novels and 100 television scripts. His 1967 teleplay “A Magnum for Schneider” introduced a secret service agent and professional killer who developed into the hero of the series “Callan” and ran from 1969-1971 starring Edward Woodward.
Mitchell’s popular TV series “When the Boat Comes In” was set in Depression-era Tyneside, the Newcastle area where Mitchell was born. The series was broadcast in 1976-1977 and centered on the working-class Seaton family, vividly portraying the harsh conditions of the time and taking a surprisingly militant political position on the era.
After earning a degree in education from King’s College, Newcastle, he taught in numerous schools, worked in local theaters as well as a shipyard, civil service and more, then moved to London in 1968 to concentrate on writing career.
His wife Delia, died in 1990. They had two sons.