Tony Barwick (1934-1993)

Tony Barwick was born in London on July 10th, 1934. He left school at 18 and found employment in the laboratories of the Metropolitan Water Board and DeHavilland. It was the early days of computers and Barwick moved into this burgeoning industry with Elliot Brothers and the National Cash Register Company, an American firm who posted Barwick to the US for a year.

It was Barwick’s expertise with computing that landing him his first writing assignment – authentic technical dialogue for an episode of Danger Man. Having impressed the producers with his abilities, Barwick went on to write full-length stories for the series. Although none of these made it into production, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson read one of Barwick’s Danger Man scripts and invited him to join them at the APF Studios in Slough. At this time, Lew Grade had just commissioned Thunderbirds to be expanded to full hour episodes even though filming had already been completed on a number of episodes as half hours and Barwick’s job was to help expand the existing half-hour scripts for up to full hours, padding out those episodes that had already been filmed with new material. The original writer’s name remained on the credits and Barwick was unrecognized for his contribution.

However, Barwick’s work had so impressed the Andersons that he was commissioned to script two episodes of Thunderbirds‘ second production block in 1966, Lord Parker’s ‘Oliday and Ricochet. Barwick subsequently became a permanent employee of Century 21 Productions as script editor on Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, Joe 90, The Secret Service, UFO and The Protectors, writing 61 episodes of those five series himself. As script editor on the shows, Barwick had the responsibility for re-writes on scripts submitted by other writers, and often found himself completely re-writing episodes for which he would receive no credit. Barwick’s own scripts for the various series can usually be identified by the character development in the regular cast over the course of the episode, and this is never more apparent than during his episodes for UFOComputer Affair, Exposed, Survival, A Question Of Priorities and Confetti Check A-OK among them.

It was during this period that Barwick developed a writing partnership with Donald James who had contributed scripts to Joe 90 and The Secret Service. Both shared an interest in the Second World War and went on to write a series of war-based adventure stories under the pen name of James Barwick, among them Shadow Of The Wolf, The Hangman’s Crusade and Devil At The Crossroads.

In the mid-Seventies, Barwick returned to the Anderson fold to write two episodes for the second season of Space:1999and then became involved in developing the aborted Gerry Anderson feature film Five Star Five. In the early 1980s, Barwick made his most enduring Anderson contribution with Terrahawks for which he scripted all but two episodes of the 39-episode series – although several of these were written in partnership with Donald James. Each of Barwick’s Terrahawks episodes (with the sole exception of The Midas Touch) saw the writer credited with a humorous pseudonym: Cubby Dreistein, Leo Pardstein, Kit Tenstein and so on. Between 1966 and 1986, Barwick was credited with the scripts of no fewer than 103 individual episodes for Gerry Anderson, making him Anderson’s most prolific writer.

More recently, Barwick had been single-handedly writing the episodes for Anderson’s forthcoming animated series GFIwhile fighting a painful battle against cancer. The stories for the first 13 episodes had been completed, but only full scripts for half of those when Barwick became incapacitated by his condition. He died in August aged 59.

Originally published in FAB 12.