Arthur Hopcraft (1932-2004) was one of the great scriptwriters of his day, well known for his TV plays such as The Nearly Man, and for his small screen adaptations such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Hard Times and Bleak House. Hopcraft won the Bafta writer's award in 1985. 

This digital collection is curated from the Arthur Hopcraft Papers and showcases examples of the sorts of material contained in the physical archive. Here in the digital collection, you can find an episode and book breakdowns of the two John le Carré novels adapted by Hopcraft for the small screen - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and A Perfect Spy. Both documents provide an outline of each episode, describing the main events of the plot. There is also a draft script of Episode One of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, in typescript with annotations in Hopcraft’s hand. The physical archive contains multiple draft versions of the scripts for all seven episodes. 

Before taking up writing for TV, Hopcraft was a highly respected sports journalist for the Guardian and the Observer, writing The Football Man: People and Passions in Soccer, generally regarded as a masterpiece among sports books. There is a chapter by chapter outline for a book about football, provisionally entitled ‘Thunderboots’ – typescript with handwritten annotations - which would eventually be published as The Football Man. The collection also includes Hopcraft's notes on various football topics and themes in preparation for the book, such as:

  • Everton
  • Liverpool
  • Referees
  • Denis Hill-Wood (Arsenal Chairman)
  • Alan Hardaker (League Secretary)
  • Matt Busby (Manchester United Manager)
  • David Sadler (Manchester United player).

Hopcraft had four other books published, including an autobiographical account of his childhood, and wrote the screenplay for the film, Hostage, material relating to which can be found in the physical collection.   

There are two examples of filming schedules for The Reporters and Hopcraft’s very first television play, The Mosedale Horseshoe, originally screen in 1971. The filming schedules typically provide list the production crew and cast and a day-by-day filming schedule. There is also a rehearsal script for The Mosedale Horseshoe with handwritten annotations and a script for The Reporters  

Correspondence from David Cornwell (John le Carré) about Hopcraft’s adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, and J G Farrell about adapting Farrell’s novel, The Siege of Krishnapur. The latter project was never realised.     

The physical archive also includes many scripts which were never produced, and ideas and projects which were never developed. Here in the digital collection you can find an example on the form of Checkpoint Charlie for Granada TV. 

The digital material available here forms only a sample of the material that can be found in the physical collection. The full collection includes:

  • many more scripts (usually multiple copies containing rewrites and revisions)
  • reading copies
  • rehearsal scripts (which often include written amendments)
  • cast lists
  • rehearsal and filming schedules
  • outlines
  • reviews
  • research sources
  • Hopcraft's notes
  • fan mail and other correspondence
  • magazine cuttings relating to a variety of plays, series and adaptations written by Hopcraft. 
Bafta Award

How can it be used? 

The collection demonstrates the process of adapting and writing for screen, from the beginning of an idea through to the drafting of scripts and production.   

Who might be interested? 

Students and researchers in screen and script writing, television and film production, English literature, media history. 

Types of material 

Handwritten and typescript manuscripts         

Related material 

Arthur Hopcraft Papers 

Copyright information 

Reproduced with permission of the Arthur Hopcraft Estate, BBC and Granada ITV.