"Although his ego was the size of a house, he was a brilliant script editor. Tough and determined to achieve the standards I wanted in scripts." Rex Firkin - High Drama (2012)
Wilfred Greatorex was not the creator of The Plane Makers, or the first script editor. He was the script editor hired by producer Rex Firkin to turn the series round after the first series wasn't the success that had been hoped for.
Born in Liverpool in 1922 and educated at Blackburn Grammar School, Greatorex served in the RAF during the war before becoming a journalist. Greatorex was assistant editor of John Bull, the Odhams news and fiction magazine, when he wrote his first play for the BBC, After the Crash in 1961. The Net , a dramatised documentary series about the Immigration Service, followed in 1962 along with episodes of ITV's Probation Office. and 24 Hour Call. Producer Rex Firkin was looking for a script editor to guide the writers in creating a second series of The Plane Makers and Greatorex - with his background as a commissioning editor for John Bull fit the bill. The second series of The Plane Makerswas a phenomenal success.
After Patrick Wymark expressed the need for a breather from the character or John Wilder, Greatorex created the newspaper series Front Page Story (1965), but after a year or so, Greatorex was given the go-ahead to launch a sequel to The Plane Makers called The Power Game.
Greatorex worked steadily for ITV on Hine, The Man From Haven and The Inheritors before moving to the BBC in 1977 to create the dystopian Edward Woodward thriller 1990. Greatorex returned to ITV in 1982 with a personal project called Airline. The series starred Roy Marsden as a recently demobbed RAF pilot who starts his own air freight business with a RAF-surplus Dakota. Originally planned to run for at least three series, the series was cancelled after Greatorex fell out with Yorkshire TV during pre-production of the second series.
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