Reg Watson, creator of iconic TV programs, dies aged 93

Reg Watson, the writer who created a swag of iconic Australian television programs, has died aged 93.

Watson was behind some of the best known Australian TV shows including Prisoner, which was re-made as Wentworth, plus Neighbours, Sons and Daughters and The Young Doctors.

His most famous creation is Neighbours, which will celebrate its thirtieth birthday in 2020. The show originally began on Channel 7 in 1985, but was axed within its first year. The show was picked up by Channel 10 and has launched the careers of some of Australia’s biggest actors.

Prison drama Prisoner ran from 1979 to 1986 and tackled taboo subjects for its time and found success overseas. The show was reimagined as Wentworth and found a whole new legion of fans, many of Watson’s original characters were included in the remake.

Watson also mentored many well known writers of Australian television. Speaking to TV Tonight respected writer Bevan Lee said Watson a mentor to him and a legion of well known names including John Holmes, Rick Maier, Sue Smith, Patrea Smallacombe, Greg Haddrick, Coral Drouyn, Jason Herbison and John Misto.

Watson first found success in the UK where he created the soap opera Crossroads, he later returned home to Australia and created a string of TV programs usually for the Grundy Organisation.

In 1988 he created the soap opera Richmond Hill which aired on Channel 10. THe show saw many of the actors from his previous shows in the cast including Prisoner’s Maggie Kirkpatrick, Amanda Muggleton and Paula Duncan. The show was cancelled during its first year of broadcast.

Watson retired in 1991 and was notoriously private and rarely gave interviews about his work.

OIP Staff