Screenwriter and Playwright Stephen S. Thompson dies at just 56 years old

The Screenwriter and Playwright,  Stephen S. Thompson, whose debut single drama BBC1 Sitting in Limbo won a Bafta in 2020, has died of cancer aged just 56.

His family released a statement through his agent, Cassarotto Ramsay & Associates, announcing he had passed on May 26 after a short battle against cancer.

“He fought hard to beat the odds after being diagnosed just a month earlier and spent the last few weeks at home receiving end of life care.”

“Stephen showed a characteristic determination to live but, in the end, the rapid progression of cancer meant his body was unable to match the power of his indomitable mind. He passed away peacefully surrounded by love.”

Thompson was the writer of the BAFTA DRAMA “Sitting in Limbo,” in response to his brother Anthony Bryan’s fight against deportation amid the Windrush scandal.

A British political scandal where many people who had come to the U.K. before 1973 from Caribbean countries were detained and deported. The film, directed by Stella Corradi, starred Patrick Robinson and was broadcast on BBC One in June 2020.

Thompson won the BAFTA for Best Single Drama.

Stephen Thompson was of Jamaican descent and studied at the University of Warwick.

He gained a math’s degree but also did some English studies in his third year. Thompson then worked as a math’s teacher for twelve years at Tiffin School and was head of math’s.

Thompson left teaching in 2000 and became a full-time dad and house husband to his children.

He once stated this was because his wife was earning much more money than him.

In an interview, Thompson said, “I took a sudden left turn and became a scriptwriter.”

He trained on the RADA playwrights’ course, and his first play, Damages, was performed at the Bush Theatre in 2004, winning the Meyer-Whitworth Award for new writing.

In 2005, he was made Pearson writer in residence at the Bush Theatre where his next play Whipping It Up was also performed.

Roaring Trade was performed by Paines Plough at the Soho Theatre.

His most recent play No Naughty Bits was performed at Hampstead Theatre in September 2011.

His first credit for television came on the medical soap Doctors in 2005.

Since then, he has contributed scripts for several popular shows, including SilkUpstairs DownstairsDoctor Who, and the first three series of Sherlock (the latter two both in collaboration with Steven Moffat).

In 2016, he created the period drama series Jericho, which re-imagines the building of the Ribblehead Viaduct.

In April 2016, ITV confirmed that the second series of Jericho was not going to be commissioned.

In October 2018, it was announced that Thompson would be teaming with Frank Spotnitz to develop a drama about Leonardo da Vinci.

Next year in February 2019, it was revealed that Thompson was developing an adaptation of Runestaff for BBC.

Later that year the BBC announced they would broadcast Thompson’s adaptation of the popular Liebermann novel by Frank Tallis, Vienna Blood.

In 2020, Endor Productions and MR Film announced that a second series had been jointly recommissioned, followed by a third series in early 2022.

Thompson was also an acclaimed novelist and published “Toy Soldiers” in 2000. This was followed by “Missing Joe in 2012 and “No more Heroes” in 2016.

Thompson was married to the media barrister Lorna Skinner and they had five children.

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