Simon Carlyle founder of Two Doors Down passes away at age 48

The creator of BBC One comedy series Two Doors Down, Simon Carlyle, has died aged 48, his manager has confirmed.

The Scottish sitcom, starring Arabella Weir and Alex Norton, was written with co-creator Gregor Sharp.

Carlyle from Ayr originally wrote the show as a one-off special in 2013 before it was commissioned in 2016.

He went on to write more than 40 episodes and more recently co-wrote comedian Alan Carr’s autobiographical sitcom Changing Ends.

Carlyle’s other screen credits include Boy Meets Girl, Psychobitches and No Holds Bard.

Carlyle and Sharp have been writing together for 23 years on shows such as Happy Hollidays and Thin Ice.

However, in an interview with The Scottish Sun in 2019, he told how his lack of mainstream success led him to apply for a job as a passenger greeter at Glasgow Airport to make ends meet.

It was the slow-burn success of Two Doors Down on BBC One Scotland that led to a change of fortunes, with the programme eventually picking up network interest on BBC Two before moving to a primetime slot on BBC One last year.

In the 2019 interview, Carlyle said Arabella Weir’s character Beth was inspired by his own mum Dorothy, and that Beth’s son Ian – played by Jamie Quinn – drew on his experience of coming out as gay while growing up in Ayr.

He said Ian’s character was treated like many gay men were in the 80s and 90s.

“You’d have parents who are accepting of it and don’t want to throw you out the family, but are equally not comfortable enough to ask about your boyfriend,” he said.

“We tried to reflect the truth of that middle ground, the same as we did with a normal Scottish street.”

Two Doors Down, set around the residents of Latimer Crescent, was recommissioned for a seventh series in February.

The six-episode run is set to transmit later this year and will see the return of Doon Mackichan, who starred as Cathy in the early series of the show.

The success of Two Doors Down led to Carlyle writing Changing Ends, based on Alan Carr’s childhood while growing up in 1980s Northampton as the son of a football manager.

Speaking to BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme, TV critic Siobhan Synnot said Carlyle’s death was a “sad loss”.

She said: “Simon and his writing partner Gregor Sharp reached incredible successes with Two Doors Down.

“He talked about himself growing up gay in Ayr and feeling a little bit different, and I think that comes through in a lot of the work.”

Louise Thornton, head of commissioning at BBC Scotland, said staff were “deeply saddened” to hear the news.

She said: “Simon was a major writing talent, loved for his work on Two Doors Down and many other series.”

Carlyle’s manager, Amanda Davis, said: “Simon was a wonderful person and a major comedic talent,” she said. “He was much respected across the industry both for the quality of his writing and for being a kind, funny, supportive and nurturing collaborator.”

Comedian Jack Whitehall tweeted: “So sad to wake up to this news. Simon was such a talented and gracious human being. He was my first ever script editor and I learned so much from him. He was so funny and charming and always such a joy to spend time with. RIP.”

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