Michael Abbensetts 1938-2016

Michael Abbensetts talking to Michael Wearing

Michael Abbensetts talking to Michael Wearing, at the Midlands Arts Centre 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norman Beaton in Empire Road. Photo by Willoughby Gulachsen, no reproduction without permission.

Norman Beaton in Empire Road. Photo by Willoughby Gullachsen, no reproduction without permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Guyanan-born writer, Michael Abbensetts, sadly died on 24th November 2016. Michael settled in Britain in the 1960s and gave a voice to people from a Carribean heritage, through his writing for the theatre and television. He worked on several Pebble Mill dramas in the 1970s and early ’80s, often with producer Peter Ansorge. His first Pebble Mill production was Black Christmas, in 1977; followed by Empire Road (series 1 and 2), the first black British soap opera, 1988-9; and Easy Money, part of Playhouse, 1982. He also wrote an episode of Doctors in 2001, which was his last television script.

Michael attended the ‘What was Pebble Mill’ screening event at the Midlands Arts Centre in 2010, and was interested in commemorating the dramas made at Pebble Mill.

(Thanks to Lez Cooke for updating some of the information in this post.)

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Terry Barker: ‘He did an episode of Doctors which I script edited in late 90s’

Janice Rider: ‘The Mac event was the last time I met Michael before he became unwell . Not many people may be aware that there is a beautiful photograph of him in the National Portrait Gallery collection by Horace Ove, filmmaker, who directed some episodes of Empire Road. A lasting tribute to a great, gentle playwright. http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw79463/Michael-Abbensetts?LinkID=mp68713&search=sas&sText=Michael%20Abbensetts&OConly=true&role=sit&rNo=0

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1 Comment

  • ‘Black Christmas’ was 50 min long and therefore not a Thirty-Minute Theatre play, although Michael’s first television play, ‘The Museum Attendant’ (1973) was written for Thirty-Minute Theatre (but not a Pebble Mill production). Watching some of the Empire Road (1978-9) episodes again recently was a reminder of what a great series it was – now would be a good time for the BBC to release it on DVD.
    ‘Black Christmas’ is showing at BFI Southbank on 19 December 2016 in a double bill with ‘Big George is Dead’ (1987), which also features Norman Beaton.
    Incidentally, Michael Abbensetts’ last TV script was for ‘Doctors’, an episode entitled ‘Vanessa’s World’ (16 October 2001).

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