Looking for Pat Hooker

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Billy Smart
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Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by Billy Smart »

I work as a historian of British television drama at the University of Reading and I'm trying to find out about the 1970s screenwriter Pat Hooker. Although completely unsung, she was rather a pioneering writer, creating plays and episodes of considerable depth and insight. I've written an article about what little I've managed to find out about her - and it took me years to uncover that - here - http://cstonline.tv/invisible-writer-pat-hooker

Because of her obscurity, any further information would certainly be exceptionally interesting!

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Simon Coward
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

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Short piece in TVTimes (w/c 03/11/1973), doesn't add much:

How to keep out of court
You might think that court stenographer Pat Hooker drew from personal experience when she wrote Monday's Six Days of justice presentation, A Question of Discipline. But it isn't strictly true.

For the play is set in magistrates' courts and Pat, five years a court shorthand writer, has never worked in one.

"All my work has been in High Courts, the old Quarter Sessions or public inquiries," she says. "Never in a magistrates' court."

Pat writes at a mindnumbing 250 words per minute in shorthand and can type at 1OOw.p.m., but she is now concentrating on writing plays. "I seem to have had a rash of plays accepted by ITV lately," she says. Formerly a production assistant in Australian television, Pat kept official note of the Roskill Commission Inquiry into London's third airport needs and at the recent Dennis Stafford murder retrial. "They were my biggest cases," she says, Maigret-fashion, "but if the playwriting bubble bursts, I'll be back in court again."
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Nick Cooper 625
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Billy Smart wrote:I work as a historian of British television drama at the University of Reading and I'm trying to find out about the 1970s screenwriter Pat Hooker. Although completely unsung, she was rather a pioneering writer, creating plays and episodes of considerable depth and insight. I've written an article about what little I've managed to find out about her - and it took me years to uncover that - here - http://cstonline.tv/invisible-writer-pat-hooker

Because of her obscurity, any further information would certainly be exceptionally interesting!
A fascinating article. Given her "day job," but also some of the themes in her work that you highlight, have you considered the possibility that Hooker might actually have been working under a pseudonym? That would presumably easily explain why she is so difficult to track down, even if she is still alive (she'd be 80 now, which doesn't exactly rule it out).
"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." [Wells]

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Billy Smart
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

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I wondered that, but Pat Hooker does appear to have been her real name. I found what must be her earliest press appearance, in The Australian Women's Weekly ('Playtime for Patricia', 19 October 1960) and "the spare-time playwright" is called Patricia Hooker. The article has a similar emphasis to the TV Times article of 13 years later that Simon helpfully found - the 27 year-old secretary at the Stevedoring Commission in Sydney has a shorthand speed of 200 words a minute and had just passed her examination to become a licensed court reporter.

Excitingly, I've been in correspondence with someone who remembers her. Darrol Blake who directed her Armchair 30 play, recalls:
I remember Pat Hooker very clearly from the 1970s at Thames tv. I knew she was a court reporter and probably that she was Australian. Her appearance stays in the memory : cropped hair, mannish clothes and about 5ft square.
The research continues!

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Billy Smart
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by Billy Smart »

I've put up a further article about Pat Hooker's 1973 Armchair Theatre lesbian play, 'The Golden Road'. Directed by Douglas Camfield, and starring Katy Manning, its terrific! - http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/spaces-of-te ... the-1970s/

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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by BrentCleever21 »

Illuminating article- especially trying to explain what Camfield was up to in his direction. There's a certain amount of misdirection in the writing and directing of the first part of the play, and I seem to recall this was further supported by the TV Times printing the wrong photo in the listing for the play (Patrick O'Neal and Angharad Rees canoodling in an episode of Thriller called "Once the Killing Starts).
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

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I'd forgotten just how good Hooker's first series ANGELS episode is until I was reminded of it via a watch of the dvd release a few weeks back - it's "about" nothing whatsoever, but as a representation of what happens on a couple of nurses' on a night off, it's absolutely compelling.

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Billy Smart
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by Billy Smart »

I've only just learned that there's another Pat Hooker thread on the MC! - viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1283&p=20836#p20836 I've now added a post to it, with some new information about her radio work.

I have good news that I've managed to get Armchair Theatre: The Golden Road screened at BFI Southbank next February as part of a season that I'm curating with Lez Cooke ('Forgotten Dramas: Rediscovering British television's neglected plays').

I also came across a brief interview with her in the Radio Times in 1975, as one of the six writers of the first series of Angels:
Bakewell, Joan, ‘Six writers in search of six characters’, Radio Times, 30 August 1975, p.54-58.

“PAT HOOKER is an Australian and already has a handful of radio plays, and some stage and television work to her credit in Australia. She feels she has two things in common with her chosen nurse, Maureen, an 18-year old convent-educated girl from Southern Ireland, newly come to London. She is a domesticated family girl, spontaneously at ease with patients, and having a quality of simple commonsense.

Pat Hooker left Australia in 1965 for London and shared then the cultural shock of living in the big city. ‘It was hair-raising, I arrived at eleven at night with £1 left. When I got to the bank the next day I hadn’t filled out the right form back in Sydney. I had no money. It took me six months before I settled in England, two years to settle into London. Like Maureen, I was shocked by English coolness.’

Pat is the only one of the six [Angels writers] to have another job than writing. Recently she’s been a verbal shorthand writer at the Middlesex Quarter sessions. Wasn’t that hard work? ‘Yes, but I got background material for five plots in the first couple of days.’

Her other insight into Maureen comes from belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. ‘Maureen is used to church on Sunday. In England she meets this cool, formal thing about religion. I was brought up a catholic: It’s not a personal hobbyhorse, but a useful springboard.’

As for the hospital background, she was apprehensive at first: ‘I thought, well, I had my appendix out when I was 14, and that’s all I know about hospitals. It’ll mean months of research.’” (p. 54)

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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by Left Field »

Thanks for posting the interview Billy - short but highly informative. I was very impressed by Pat's writing on Angels and it's useful to get some extra insight including into the genesis of the Maureen character.

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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by Simon36 »

Billy Smart wrote: I have good news that I've managed to get Armchair Theatre: The Golden Road screened at BFI Southbank next February as part of a season that I'm curating with Lez Cooke ('Forgotten Dramas: Rediscovering British television's neglected plays').
That's brilliant news. I'm really looking forward to seeing this.

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Billy Smart
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by Billy Smart »

I will be giving a lecture about Pat Hooker for the Institute of English Studies at Senate House, University of London, in the Senate Room, 1st floor, on Thursday 3 December at 6.00:
Dr BILLY SMART, Royal Holloway

Pat Hooker: Writing for television in the 1970s.

Before the screening of her 1973 Armchair Theatre play ‘The Golden Road’ as part of the ‘TV’s Forgotten Dramas’ season at BFI Southbank in 2015, Pat Hooker (1933-2001) had been a neglected figure in histories of women’s television. 'The Golden Road', the first original lesbian play written by a woman shown on British television, is a work of considerable historical significance and great dramatic merit. Dr Smart will present new biographical research into her career and textual analysis of her scripts for various popular legal, police and medical TV series of the 1970s including Kate (Yorkshire Television 1970-72), Angels (BBC 1975-83) and The Gentle Touch (LWT 1980-85).

All very welcome. Refreshments will be provided.

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Billy Smart
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

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I've posted up my illustrated lecture about Pat Hooker and her work from yesterday - https://forgottentelevisiondrama.wordpr ... the-1970s/

The first section is about 'The Golden Road' and Douglas Camfield (which has mostly been posted before), the second about the little we know of Pat Hooker's life, and the third part about her style and themes.

BrentCleever21
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by BrentCleever21 »

BrentCleever21 wrote:Illuminating article- especially trying to explain what Camfield was up to in his direction. There's a certain amount of misdirection in the writing and directing of the first part of the play, and I seem to recall this was further supported by the TV Times printing the wrong photo in the listing for the play (Patrick O'Neal and Angharad Rees canoodling in an episode of Thriller called "Once the Killing Starts).
After a couple of occasions where I've had to admit to false memory syndrome recently, I'm glad to say someone recently supplied me with a copy of the offending article https://twitter.com/Wyfan2/status/11030 ... 39297?s=20
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stearn
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by stearn »

I believe that listing is from the Anglia edition of TVTimes. The London edition uses a cut down version of the second photo, and refers to the lady as Katy Manning. It would be interesting to see if the mistake was picked up during the print run and corrected for some regions.

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Billy Smart
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Re: Looking for Pat Hooker

Post by Billy Smart »

Stephen Vagg's 'Forgotten Australian TV Plays' blog for Filmlink has just published a post about Pat Hooker's 1964 play (which survives), A Season in Hell -
https://www.filmink.com.au/forgotten-au ... n-in-hell/

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