Terence Feely

Terence Feely
Born Terence John Feely
20 July 1928
Liverpool, England
Died 13 August 2000 (aged 72)
London, England
Occupation Screenwriter, author
Nationality British
Education Liverpool Jesuit College
Genre Detective/Thriller
Notable works The Gentle Touch (TV series)
C.A.T.S. Eyes (TV series)
Spouse Elizabeth Feely (m. 1953)

Terence Feely (20 July 1928 13 August 2000) was a British screenwriter, playwright and author. Though his work has spanned five decades, he is perhaps best remembered as the creator of the ITV drama series The Gentle Touch (1980–84).

Life and career

Feely was born into a middle-class industrial family in Liverpool. After leaving school, he entered Liverpool's Jesuit College where he studied English and psychology. On completion of his university studies, he decided to go into journalism and got a job with a small local newspaper in Middlesbrough. However, he quickly outgrew the publication and moved to London where he secured a position in the faster paced world of Fleet Street, joining the editorial staff of The Sunday Graphic. It was around this time that Feely began to write submissions for film scripts and, in 1955, film director Alfred Hitchcock purchased the rights to one of Feely's scripts entitled Heartbeat.

In 1959, he ventured into television and wrote several episodes of the police detective series No Hiding Place. Following this, in 1961 he wrote two episodes for the first series of The Avengers. He then moved on to other popular shows of the time including The Saint, and Gerry Anderson's puppet series, Thunderbirds. In the mid 1960s, he became story editor for Armchair Theatre and ABC's/Thames' Mystery and Imagination series. Feely was also instrumental in bringing James Mitchell's Callan to the small screen, for which he is credited as associate producer. In 1967, Feely joined the British subsidiary of Paramount Pictures, and was partly responsible for ensuring the production of If.... (1968) directed by Lindsay Anderson. Following this, Feely went on to become a co-director of Everyman Films (with Patrick McGoohan and David Tomblin). The company's principal production was allegorical.science-fiction series, The Prisoner (1967–68), for which Feely also wrote two episodes.

In the 1970s, Feely worked on shows such as The Persuaders!, Arthur of the Britons, The Protectors, UFO, Space: 1999, Thriller, Within These Walls, and The New Avengers. He also adapted the Henry James novel Affairs of the Heart for television in 1974. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he also wrote episodes for the BBC detective series Shoestring and Bergerac, as well as episodes of The Dick Francis Thriller: The Racing Game for ITV.

However, the series Feely is perhaps best remembered for is the ITV police drama The Gentle Touch, which he created and for which he wrote several scripts. The series was a ratings hit, running for five seasons from 1980–84, and was the first British police series with a female lead character (Det. Inspector Maggie Forbes, played by Jill Gascoine). In 1985, Feely created the Gentle Touch spin-off series C.A.T.S. Eyes, about a team of female private investigators who covertly work for the British Home Office, which ran until 1987. Also in the 1980s, he co-wrote the screen adaptation of Judith Krantz's novel Mistral's Daughter, which was produced as a US television mini-series in 1984, as well as adapting two of Barbara Cartland's novels for television; A Hazard of Hearts in 1987, and The Lady and the Highwayman in 1989.

Aside from his work as a screenwriter, Feely also penned several novels including Number 10: Private Lives of Six Prime Ministers, which also became an acclaimed drama series in 1983. One of his last novels, Limelight, was awarded New York's Book of the Year prize.

Funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London

Feely died on 13 August 2000, aged 72.


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