A FORMER Bolton Evening News reporter who went on to write scripts for Coronation Street, The Bill and Bergerac has died, aged 70.

Brian Finch wrote more than 200 episodes of the ITV soap between 1970 and 1989, including the first to feature Deirdre Barlow.

He also contributed to programmes such as Heartbeat, All Creatures Great and Small, and Hetty Wainthrop Investigates, much of which was filmed in Bolton.

Bolton News' columnist Fred Shawcross was on the newspaper's reporting team with Mr Finch in the 1950s.

He said: "Brian was a wonderful man with a tremendous sense of humour and was a really good reporter.

"He had a delightful flair with words and I wasn't at all surprised he made such a success of his life because he was a hugely inventive writer.

"He had a lot of friends in Bolton and I was upset to hear of his passing."

Born in Wigan, Mr Finch attended Thornleigh Salesian College before beginning his career, aged 15, as a junior reporter on the Westhoughton Journal.

He moved to Bolton where his career was interrupted by two years' national service, during which he penned his first play.

When not carrying out duties for the RAF at NATO's Fontainebleau headquarters in France, Mr Finch was working on Kill All the Nightingales.

The satirical comedy about the pop world was first performed by Wigan Little Theatre's experimental Annexe Group in 1960.

In 1961, Mr Finch joined the TV Times, ghost-writing articles for the Beatles. He then moved to the BBC in Manchester as a press officer and met many stars of the swinging 60s while working on Top of the Pops.

He began to have short stories and plays accepted by the corporation, including a Wednesday Play called Rodney, Our Intrepid Hero, and in 1968 saw the recording of his first episode of cop drama Z-Cars.

In 2005, his film adaptation of Heidi was released, while many consider his finest work to have been the Bafta award-winning 1998 dramatisation of Goodnight Mr Tom, starring John Thaw.

Mr Finch also worked on many children's dramas, including Murphy's Mob and an hour-long adaptation of Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

He is survived by wife, Margaret, three daughters and a son.

POSTING COMMENTS: Please treat other people with respect when posting your comments and abide by our terms of use. You must not post abusive, indecent, unlawful or defamatory comments. Remember you are personally liable for what you post on this site. We reserve the right to delete postings that break our user terms.