1. ITV Report

Steptoe And Son writer Alan Simpson dies

Alan Simpson was a scriptwriter for iconic shows such as Steptoe And Son. Credit: PA

Alan Simpson, the writer of iconic shows including Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe And Son, has died at the age of 87.

Famous for his writing partnership with Ray Galton, Mr Simpson had fought "a long battle with lung disease", his manager has said.

Galton and Simpson in their offices with painting of the two of them in background. Credit: PA

Galton and Simpson met at Milford Sanatorium when they were both diagnosed with tuberculosis as teenagers.

Galton and his family said "there are no words" to express their sense of loss at the passing of "Ray's partner and family friend over the last 70 years".

The comedy-writing duo wrote scripts for iconic stars including Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd, Peter Sellers, Leonard Rossiter, Arthur Lowe and Les Dawson.

Sidney James; Tony Hancock; Hattie Jacques with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson in London 1960. Credit: AP

Last year Galton and Simpson said they still met every Monday for coffee and to talk about the best comedians.

Galton and Simpson were honoured with the Bafta Fellowship in 2016.

At the time Simpson said: "We always wanted a Fellowship, even though we did not know what a Fellowship was.

"Not the sort of thing one associates with a couple of Cockney lads, apart from Alfred Hitchcock, of course," Simpson added.

Ray Galton (left) and Alan Simpson at the unveiling of an English Heritage blue plaque commemorating comedy star Tony Hancock. Credit: PA

Comedian Paul Merton paid a moving tribute calling Simpson his "comedy hero".

In a statement he said: “Long before I met him, Alan Simpson was a comedy hero of mine. In the flesh he didn’t disappoint.

"In the twenty odd years that I knew him Alan was always, wise, funny, loyal and opinionated. He loved good food, good wine and Hampton & Richmond football club. In fact, all the finer things in life.

"Alan was a true gentleman and I will miss him greatly".

Simpson's manager Tessa Le Bars also paid tribute saying: "Having had the privilege of working with Alan and Ray for over 50 years, the last 40 as agent, business manager and friend, and latterly as Alan's companion and carer, I am deeply saddened to lose Alan after a brave battle with lung disease."