PICTURES: Remembering Hancock and Steptoe and Son writer Alan Simpson

Alan Simpson of award-winning comedy writing duo, Galton and Simpson, has died of lung disease aged 87, says his manager.

Born in Brixton, London, in 1929, Alan met Ray Galton when the pair were patients as teenagers at Milford Sanatorium in Guildford, having both been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

The friends completed over 600 scripts since they started writing together in 1951 but their award-winning partnership was immortalised by their two series, ‘Hancock’s Half Hours’ and ‘Steptoe And Son’.

Ray and his family have paid tribute to Alan in a joint statement, saying: “There are no words to express our sense of loss and sadness at the passing of Alan Simpson, Ray’s partner and family friend over the last 70 years.”

Hancock starred actor Tony Hancock in the titular role with Sid James of ‘Carry On’ fame in both the radio and TV series before it wound down in 1959.

Actor Wilfrid Brambell played Albert Steptoe and Harry H Corbett as his frustrated son Harold in ‘Steptoe And Son’ and the series was beloved by the British public between 1962 and 1974.

Galton & Simpson inspired a generation of comedy writers and in the mid-nineties, commedian Paul Merton revived several Hancock’s Half Hour scripts for ITV.

In 2014, Galton and Simpson celebrated their 60th anniversary and gave permission for five missing episodes from their classic 1950s radio series Hancock’s Half Hour to be re-recorded and aired on BBC Radio 4. They went on to win a BAFTA Fellowship in 2016.

His manager Tessa Le Bars said: “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.”