Croft and Spendlove
Richard Spendlove (born Carlton, Notts in 1939) started off his working life as a railwayman. He worked for British Rail for over 45 years, retiring on his 50th birthday, to follow his other love – broadcasting. He became a regular presenter on regional radio, hosting extremely successful shows that were syndicated to stations in Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Kent, Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. Spendlove’s career in regional radio broadcasting has earned him a wealth of regional & national awards culminating in a well-deserved MBE, "For Services to Regional and Local Broadcasting” in 2000.
Spendlove first caught Croft’s attention as a broadcaster, when he hosted a radio show on Saturday nights for BBC Cambridge that David listened to regularly. Croft often received ideas for shows and scripts from hopeful writers; most never came to anything. However, the one that caught Croft’s attention was sent to him by Spendlove. Spendlove suggested setting a TV comedy in a small country station threatened with closure by the drastic and heartless reforms of Doctor Beeching. Croft recalls that Spendlove was blessed with “total recall” which fed a pile of glorious memories and anecdotes; he is “a lovely man and a pleasure to work with”. So began yet another successful writing partnership.
Spendlove and Croft created and co-wrote Oh Doctor Beeching! The pilot was broadcast in 14th August 1995 and turned out to be the highest rated comedy pilot of the decade. The show ran for two series / nineteen episodes (1995-97).
Spendlove was more successful than Jimmy Perry with his acting aspirations in his own show and made a guest appearance, playing the role of District Inspector Ernest Orkindale!
Oh Doctor Beeching! was Croft’s last major piece of work at the BBC before his retirement at the end of 1997.