Jack Seddon

Jack Seddon, the former journalist who co-wrote the definitive Second World War film, The Longest Day, has died of cancer, aged 77.

Born in Farnworth, Lancashire, Jack worked as a reporter on the Farnworth and Worsley Journal and as a sub-editor on the Bolton Evening News in the late Forties and early Fifties before a stint on national newspapers in Manchester.

His showbusiness career began in 1952 when he moved to London with his wife Margaret to work as a publicist for J Arthur Rank, based at Pinewood Studios.

Jack and a colleague, David Pursall, formed a successful screenwriting partnership and together penned many film and television classics.

The Longest Day, made in 1962, starred John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Paul Anka, Red Buttons and Henry Fonda, and was nominated for five Academy Awards.

The film became a worldwide success and is considered by many top critics to be the best film ever made about the Second World War.

Their prolific partnership also produced The Blue Max in 1966, starring George Peppard, as well as many of the classic Miss Marple films, with Margaret Rutherford playing Agatha Christie’s spinster sleuth.

During the Sixties, Jack was a member of a team which oversaw comedy output for the BBC. He also wrote one series of the comedy classic The Liver Birds and a television series starring Arthur Lowe, of Dad’s Army fame.

His last project was a screenplay called Wartime Wanderers, which was based on a book about football players’ experiences during the war.

The script was commissioned when Bolton Wanderers Football Club moved from their traditional Burnden Park ground to their new home at the futuristic Reebok Stadium in Horwich.

Jack was the son of a former Mayor and Mayoress of Farnworth, John and Annie Seddon. He died at his home in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, following a long battle against cancer.

He is survived by his widow, Margaret, two sons and a daughter and three grandchildren. His sisters, Molly Featherstone and Margaret Cunliffe, still live in the Farnworth area.

Wes Wright

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