Jim Allen (born Manchester 7th October, 1926 - 24th June, 1999) wrote 36 episodes of Coronation Street between January 1965 and September 1967. His other writing credits include five episodes of the Play for Today series.
A strongly left-wing writer, he was totally dismissive of the programme, saying, "I had seen and lived through much, and was eager to give expression to something more substantial than cardboard characters filled with self-admiration. With one or two exceptions, the actors were all working-class Tories acting like thirty bob millionaires. When a new face joined the writers’ team he was looked upon as a threat, but in my case they needn’t have worried because I had no intention of staying long."
The one writer that Allen did have time for was John Finch who introduced him to Tony Garnett and through him gained him work at the BBC and a working association with Ken Loach.
Allen said that he found the programme "dull and lifeless," but admitted that working on Coronation Street was a great learning experience. However, he can’t have endeared himself to his colleagues when he suggested that they take the characters on a coach trip to the Lake District and drive the coach off a cliff, killing them all, claiming it would a ratings winner. Ironically, such a suggestion was (partially) carried out in 1969 in one of the programme's best remembered storylines of the late 1960s.
Allen wrote a television play, The Talking Head which was broadcast on 30th August 1969. The play was "an attack on soap operas and perennial series." In TV Times he said it "revolves around the problems of creative work in television. It pivots on a particular writer of a typical hack serial that is running indefinately. It suddenly dawns on him one day that he is churning out conveyor-belt style garbage and explodes". He went on to say in reference to his previous life as a bricklayer that he would "rather carry bricks than finish up a highly paid hack. At least it's honest work."
Episodes written by Jim Allen
1965 (15 episodes)
- Episode 425 (6th January 1965)
- Episode 434 (8th February 1965)
- Episode 442 (8th March 1965)
- Episode 446 (22nd March 1965)
- Episode 452 (12th April 1965)
- Episode 453 (14th April 1965)
- Episode 459 (5th May 1965)
- Episode 462 (17th May 1965)
- Episode 472 (21st June 1965)
- Episode 478 (12th July 1965)
- Episode 487 (11th August 1965)
- Episode 490 (23rd August 1965)
- Episode 506 (18th October 1965)
- Episode 515 (17th November 1965)
- Episode 523 (15th December 1965)
1966 (13 episodes)
- Episode 531 (12th January 1966)
- Episode 542 (21st February 1966)
- Episode 553 (30th March 1966)
- Episode 558 (18th April 1966)
- Episode 572 (6th June 1966)
- Episode 579 (29th June 1966)
- Episode 586 (25th July 1966)
- Episode 590 (8th August 1966)
- Episode 594 (22nd August 1966)
- Episode 600 (12th September 1966)
- Episode 604 (26th September 1966)
- Episode 619 (16th November 1966)
- Episode 626 (12th December 1966)
1967 (8 episodes)