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Following her Liverpool upbringing, she became an actress after graduating from RADA. She appeared in many television series of the 1960s such as Z Cars and Out of the Unknown and played factory girl Victoria in two episodes of Coronation Street in August 1965. Her acting career flourished throughout the 1970s and early 1980s in series such as Beryl’s Lot, Beasts, Out, Send in the Girls, Coming Home and Educating Marmalade. Commensurate with this work, she had also begun a second career as a television writer, penning eight episodes of the 1974 children’s series The Kids from 47A, when she had her first major success in 1982 with Widows. Since then she has become one of the principle writer/creators of television series in the UK with productions such as Prime Suspect, and its sequels, Trial and Retribution, She’s Out, Above Suspicion and The Commander. In addition to forming her own production company, she also is a novelist with several titles to her name. She was awarded the CBE in 2008.