Pupil who went on to script TV classics

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SO often, with old school photographs, you’re left tantalised by what fate would go on to deal to all those little faces.

But in respect of the little boy in the third row here, with the striped tie, we know now that it would be a glittering career as a writer and the man behind two of the most iconic TV series of the late 1960s-1970s, the spy thriller, Callan, and When The Boat Comes In.

He was, of course, the now-late James Mitchell, who was mentioned the other day in respect of the new film about Tyne Dock, Tyne Dock Borders, which premieres at South Shields Library next month and is about that old-established community at the west end of Shields.

It interested reader Joan Beech (nee Chenery) for whom it brought back memories of a friendship of her childhood and girlhood. “He and I were in the same class at Barnes Road Infants’ School,” says Joan.

“He lived across the road from me in South Frederick Street and we used to go to school together each morning.”

The picture here is from when both children started at the school in 1931. Joan is sitting third from the left in the second row from the front and James is the boy with the striped tie in the row behind.

Look out another day for another picture Joan has also kindly sent of both of them, this time from Christmas 1933.

Both youngsters later went on to High School and continued to socialise after that. “We used to go to the Hedworth Hall later on, when he was home from Oxford University. They were happy days,” says Joan.

n Can I also just say that it was nice to hear from Les Crompton who recognised his father, Ted Crompton, in the picture we had of a Blind Institute pantomime in Shields in the 1950s. He was the only one of the trio of performers in the photo for whom we didn’t have a name.

Ted was himself partially blind but took part in several pantos. “I have a picture of him as the Red Demon in one,” said Les. “Mother made his outfit by dying his long johns!”