Steve Coombes obituary

My husband, Steve Coombes, who has died aged 64 of cancer, was a professional screenwriter, respected and admired by producers and his colleagues for tackling challenging subject matter with honesty and humour. He will be best remembered for his original 2004 BBC television series Outlaws, produced by World Productions and staring Phil Daniels as an ambulance-chasing solicitor, which was nominated for a Bafta award.

His other original dramas included the ITV series Sold (2007) and the feature film What Rats Won’t Do (1998), co-written with his long-time friend and collaborator Dave Robinson. Steve also contributed episodes to many popular drama series including Hustle, Vera, New Tricks and Lovejoy. His only radio play, Mr Sex, about the scientist Alfred Kinsey, won the Richard Imison award in 2005.

Born in Hull, east Yorkshire, into a medical family, Steve was the elder son of Sydney Coombes, a doctor, and Jane (nee Sharp), a former nurse. He grew up in south-east London, where he attended Dulwich college on an assisted place scholarship for local children.

Despite pressure to follow his father and grandfather into medicine, Steve turned instead to the arts, graduating from York University with a first in English and philosophy, and then moving to Warwick University as a postgraduate. At Warwick he began writing for the theatre and established a touring company named Keen But Nervous after an early review.

Although we did not meet at Warwick, Steve and I were both there at the same time, and were introduced later through a mutual friend. We married in 1990.

When he was not writing, Steve was happiest cooking vast meals for large numbers of friends and family and entertaining them with his stories. In 2013 we started the Herne Bay cartoon festival and were proud both to be made honorary life members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation and to count many of their number among our close friends.

After we moved to Ramsgate in 2015, Steve became a very vocal local campaigner and played a key role in exposing the scandal surrounding the UK government contract with Seabourne Freight, a company without any ferries.

Steve is survived by me, our two children, Charlie and Holly, and his brother, Martin.