Adele Rose dead: Byker Grove creator and prolific Corrie writer has died aged 87
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The pioneering TV writer who created groundbreaking Tyneside teen soap Byker Grove has died, aged 87.
Adele Rose was best known for being Coronation Street ’s most prolific and longest serving writer, as well as being the soap’s only female writer in its early years.
The author of almost 460 episodes of Corrie between 1961 and 1998, Adele was considered by many fans to be its best, and wrote particularly strong parts for female actors.
Chronicle Live reported that she became part of the North East’s cultural landscape in 1989, when she was approached by TV executive Andrea Wonfor to do a one-off drama about a youth club.
A full series followed in 1990, and Byker Grove ultimately became the longest running networked TV show to come out of Tyneside.
Adele Rose on the set of Coronation Street
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During its 17 years, the show won an array of awards and attracted four million-plus viewers on a regular basis – making it one of children’s TV’s top-rating shows.
Byker Grove launched the careers of North East stars including Ant and Dec, Jill Halfpenny and Donna Air, and tackled issues other children’s shows steered clear of, including, homosexuality, bullying, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, abortion and drug-taking.
Adele’s husband Peter Chadwick, who lived in Newcastle while working for the Sunday Express, said she “fell in love with the area”.
Peter has paid tribute to his “warm and funny” partner of more than 40 years after she died from pneumonia on December 28.
Adele also leaves behind a son, Steve, and grandson, Daniel. Tragically, her daughter Carrie died several years ago after contracting sepsis.
John Finch And Adele Rose – Script writers of Coronation Street for Granada
(Image: David Thorpe/ANL/REX/Shutterstock)
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Born in Salford, she originally worked at Granada Television as a secretary, and was encouraged to submit a sample script for Coronation Street by Jack Rosenthal.
Peter said: “She rang the producer and said, ‘All the strong characters in this programme are women, but you’ve got no women writers. Well, I’m a woman and I’m a writer.’”
Adele wrote episode 40 of the soap in 1961, and continued to write for it until she was nearly 70, winning a BAFTA for her work in 1993.
A prolific TV writer, her other credits include Heartbeat, Angels, Z Cars, The Dustbinmen and Robin’s Nest. She also wrote for Crossroads under a different name.
Peter said: “She had her own comedy called Girls About Town, but she said that if she had written it now she would have been able to give them a far more colourful life.
“She also had a programme called Second Chance about an amicable divorce, based on her own experiences."
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Adele and Peter met when both were in their 40s, after being introduced by Peter Stringfellow at his Millionaire Club in Manchester.
“At the time I was working for the Daily Mail,” Peter said.
“He had a Miss Millionaire competition, and I was asked to be a judge. When I got there one of the other judges was Adele – she was there because of her Coronation Street fame.”
The couple, who both had children from previous marriages, were together for 40 years and married 10 years ago.
Peter said: “I worked in Newcastle for the Sunday Express, and I love the area. I was always saying we ought to go and visit it, which we did, and she fell in love with it.”
In 1989 Adele was approached to write a children’s series set in Newcastle, and Byker Grove was born.
Peter said: “She wrote the first three series by herself, but she was very busy with Coronation Street and they appointed a team of writers, but she still had a creative credit until it ended.”
Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly otherwise known as Ant & Dec rose to fame in Byker Grove – pictured in 1994
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Set in Byker, though filmed primarily in the West End, the show portrayed the lives of children aged 11 to 16.
More than 6,000 youngsters appeared in it over the years after producers plucked unknown schoolchildren from the area to star in the series.
The show, which took applications only from youngsters on Tyneside, was seen as a platform for launching the careers of the region’s young actors.
At one point Adele was named by the TV Times as one of the most powerful women in television, but Peter said, “She thought it was a lot of nonsense.
“It never occurred to her that she was doing something brilliant with her writing because it was so natural.
“When she was at school she had to write an essay about people on a bus, and she wrote about Spain. She hadn’t the foggiest idea what Spain was like, but she’s always been a writer.”
After a long career, she retired to the Cotswolds with Peter in 2000.
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Adele was devastated when her daughter Carrie died at the age of 57 after contracting sepsis.
Peter said: “She never really recovered and went downhill. In June she fell over and broke her hip, which didn’t help.
“Then she developed pneumonia about a week ago and never got over it. She passed away in the local hospital, where she had the best care.”
Paying tribute to his wife, Peter said: “She had a huge sense of humour which was often quite naughty and quite wicked. She loved writing the battleaxes in Coronation Street.
“She was Jewish and she had a very Jewish mother attitude to life, she had to make sure everybody was okay. Her son said that if she didn’t have anything to worry about, it would worry her.
“Everybody around here adored her. They were a little bit starstruck, but she was very, very warm. It’s been a wonderful 40 years with her.”
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