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Grantham playwright and Rising Damp creator Eric Chappell dies aged 88

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Grantham-born playwright Eric Chappell, famous for writing TV comedy Rising Damp, has died at the age of 88.

Mr Chappell's play Wife After Death is due to be staged by St Peter's Hill Players at the Guildhall Arts Centre in Grantham from May 5.

Mr Chappell, who lived in Barrowby, first wrote a play called The Banana Box while he was working for the electricity board. It was performed in Leicester and later in the West End and evolved into the TV hit comedy Rising Damp, starring Leonard Rossiter and Frances de la Tour.

Eric Chappell (56237306)
Eric Chappell (56237306)

Mr Chappell went on to write 200 TV comedy scripts and 25 plays in his career.

Wife After Death was written by Mr Chappell in 2011 and starred TV, film and stage actor Tom Conti in 2013.

He also wrote TV comedies Home to Roost, Only When I Laugh and Duty Free.

Speaking recently about his first play with local journalist Rachel Armitage, a member of St Peter's Hill Players, Mr Chappell said: "I was working for the electricity board in Hinckley and I wrote some truly awful novels. I’m so embarrassed by them now!

"Then one day out of nowhere, I was in my mid 30s and decided to write a play and it became The Banana Box.

"Leonard (Rossiter) was quite insistent on being creative with his performance and he worked me very hard. But he was brilliant to work with and we put on a great show.”

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