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James Mitchell, 76; Novelist Created British TV Series

September 26, 2002|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

James Mitchell, 76, a novelist and scriptwriter who created several popular British television series in the 1960s and '70s, died of cancer Sept. 15 in Newcastle in northern England.

The author of more than 100 television scripts, he was best known as the author of the television play that was the basis for the series "Callan," which focused on the adventures of a lethal government agent and aired from 1967 to 1972.

He also created "When the Boat Comes In," a gritty Depression-era drama that was set in Mitchell's native Newcastle and was broadcast from 1976 to 1977.

In addition to scriptwriting, he acted and taught writing and was the author of more than two dozen novels.

Educated at Oxford University and King's College in Newcastle, Mitchell specialized in espionage novels and wrote a series featuring British agent David Callan. George Kelley, writing in the "St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers," called the Callan series "one of the best in British spy fiction."

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