Speight is the creator of the BBC series Till Death Us Do Part,
upon which the U.S. series All in the Family (CBS) was based.
As controversial in its time and place as was All in the Family,
Speight's creation spawned a generation of relevant, hard-hitting
sitcoms both in the United States and England.
former factory worker and jazz musician, Speight began writing for
television in 1956. In 1966, after serving as head writer for the
Arthur Haynes Show, Speight launched Till Death Us Do Part.
The series revolved around the different values and beliefs held
by blue-collar bigot Alf Garnett and his liberal son-in-law Mike.
Originally committed to shows about the family itself, Speight maneuvered
Till Death to more relevant social issues. Norman Lear, who
was working in feature films at the time, saw the series, and with
partner Bud Yorkin, he optioned the series for their company Tandem
Productions. The resulting hit was All in the Family, which
debuted on CBS in 1970.
more controversial episodes prompted the Conservative Central Office
to ask for advance copies of the Till Death scripts. When
Speight refused, the matter was soon dropped. In 1968, Speight produced
a BBC movie version of the series, and, in 1972, he also penned
a short-run revival of the series. During that run, the series reached
24 million viewers, making it the most popular show in Britain.
has written several plays, including If There Were'nt Any Blacks
You Would Have to Invent Them, which was produced in seventeen
countries. He has also won numerous awards.
SPEIGHT. Born in Canning Town, London, England, 2 June 1920.
Attended St Helen's Roman Catholic School, London. Married: Constance
Beatrice Barrett in 1956; children: one daughter and two sons. Worked
in a factory, then as a jazz drummer and insurance salesman; writer,
BBC radio and television, from 1956; created the sitcom Till
Death Us Do Part. Recipient: Screenwriters Guild Award, 1962,
1966, 1967, 1968; Prague Festival Award, 1969; Evening Standard
Award, 1977; Pye Award, for television writing, 1983. Address:
Fouracres, Heronsgate, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, England.
1960-66 Arthur Haynes Show
1966-75 Till Death Us Do Part
1969 Curry and Chips
1973 Speight of Marty
1979 The Tea Ladies (with Ray Galton)
1980 Spooner's Patch (with Ray Galton)
1982 The Lady Is a Tramp
1985 In Sickness and in Health
1989 The 19th Hole
1965 If There Weren't Any Blacks You'd Have to Invent Them
1967 To Lucifer a Sun
1970 The Salesman
1975 For Richer...For Poorer
French Dressing, 1964; Privilege, 1967; Till Death
Us Do Part, 1968; The Alf Garnett Saga, 1972; The
Secret Policeman's Third Ball, 1987.
Plank, 1967; The Undertakers, 1969; Rhubarb, 1970.
Edmondo Ross Show, 1956-58; The Morecambe and Wise Show,
1956-58; The Frankie Howerd Show, 1956-58; Early to Braden,
1957-58; The Deadly Game of Chess, 1958; The April 8th
Show (Seven Days Early), 1958; The Eric Sykes Show, 1960-61.
Venus, 1958; The Art of Living (with others), 1960; The
Compartment, 1965; The Knacker's Yard, 1962; Playmates,
1971; If There Weren't Any Blacks You'd Have to Invent Them,
1965; The Picture (with others), 1967; The Salesman,
1970; Till Death Us Do Part, 1973; The Thoughts of Chairman
Stands to Reason: A Kind of Autobiography. Walton-on-Thames:
M. &. J. Hobbs, 1973.
Thoughts of Chairman Alf: Alf Garnett's Little Blue Book; or, Where
England Went Wrong: An Open Letter to the People of Britain.
London: Robsson Books, 1973.
of Speight. London, 1974.
Garnett Chronicles: The Life and Times of Alf Garnett, Esq.
also Till Death
Us Do Part