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Ray Galton: Steptoe and Son writer dies aged 88

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Mr Galton, left, is pictured here with long-term collaborator Alan Simpson

Ray Galton OBE, one of the “fathers and creators of British sitcom”, has died aged 88.

In their 1950’s-70’s heyday he and co-writer Alan Simpson created classics such as Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe and Son.

In 2016, he and Mr Simpson were awarded Bafta’s highest honour, the Fellowship.

The scriptwriter died on Friday night after a “long and heartbreaking battle with dementia”, his family said in a statement.

“Ray passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family.”

His manager Tessa Le Bars said: “I have had the great honour of working with Ray for over 50 years and for the last 40 as his manager and friend.

“With his lifelong co-writer, the late Alan Simpson, they were regarded as the fathers and creators of British sitcom.”

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Ray Galton (left) in a 1964 script conference with comedian Frankie Howerd and writing partner Alan Simpson

The Galton and Simpson writing duo also wrote TV, film and stage scripts for comedy legends Frankie Howerd, Peter Sellers, Leonard Rossiter and Arthur Lowe.

Galton first met the man with whom he would form a creative partnership spanning decades at Milford Sanatorium in Surrey – when both were diagnosed with tuberculosis as teenagers.

Alan Simpson died in 2017.

Le Bars said it was “the end of an iconic era, but the legacy of Hancock’s Half Hour, Steptoe and Son and over 600 scripts is huge”.

“They will endure, inspire and bring laughter to the nation for evermore,” she added.

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