Carpenter, Richard

About the author

Richard Carpenter (1933–2012) was a scriptwriter and author. He trained at the Old Vic Theatre School, and had a reasonably steady career as an actor, appearing in series like Z Cars and Emergency Ward 10. After acting gave him up, he turned to script writing and is best known for creating children’s television series like Catweazle, Robin of Sherwood, and my own favourite, The Ghosts of Motley Hall, which I used to watch on Sunday afternoons.  I found it uproariously funny at the time – I wonder whether it’s lasted?  

Many of his scripts were turned into novels, including his favourite Black Beauty scripts from the ITV series The Adventures of Black Beauty (1972–1974), which became The Best of Black Beauty.  Black Beauty, for which Richard Carpenter provided 17 out of the 52 scripts, of course was another TV favourite of mine:  not a great deal to do with Anna Sewell’s book (well, virtually nothing if I am honest) but it had a horse – and how I loved that horse. Even at the time, Black Beauty’s capabilities struck me as a bit unlikely, but I didn’t care. The first notes of the theme tune have only to sound, and I am back at the age of 10, and obsessed.   

Finding the book
Easy to find in its paperback printing, but quite tricky as a hardback.

Sources and links
Biographical information on Richard Carpenter
An interview with Richard Carpenter on Robin of Sherwood
The Adventures of Black Beauty

Bibliography (pony books only)

The Best of Black Beauty

Everest Books, London, 1975, pb.  124 pp.
White Lion Publishers, London, 1976, hb, 124 pp.

Ned learns to ride; Jenny discovers the meaning of fear; Jonah the donkey was poisoned, Dolly Waygood makes a mistake when she sneers at the doctor’s horse and Kevin rescues a damsel in distress…. “and through it all the reassuring figure of Black Beauty looked on – helping out where he could, defending the family who looked after him, and joining in the happy endings.”