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John Stanley Hawkesworth (7 December 1920 – 30 September 2003) was an English television and film producer and writer best known for his work on the period drama Upstairs, Downstairs and the Granada Television adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

John Hawkesworth
Born(1920-12-07)7 December 1920
Died30 September 2003(2003-09-30) (aged 82)
Alma materUniversity of Paris
University of Oxford
OccupationTelevision producer, screenwriter
Spouse(s)Hyacinth Gregson-Ellis[1]


Early lifeEdit

Hawkesworth was born in London on 7 December 1920, the son of the-then Captain J. L. I. Hawkesworth, a British Army officer who rose to the rank of lieutenant general and who had recently fought in the First World War (1914–1918) and Helen Jane Hawkesworth (née McNaughton). He was educated at Rugby, the Sorbonne and Oxford University. During the Second World War (1939–1945) he was commissioned as a second lieutenant, in 1941, into the 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards and served with it throughout the North-West Europe Campaign of 1944–45. He left the army with the rank of captain in 1946. In the late 1940s Hawkesworth began his film career as an assistant to art director Vincent Korda. He worked on films such as The Third Man, Outcast of the Islands and The Sound Barrier.


By the mid-1950s, Hawkesworth was an independent designer, and films he worked on included The Prisoner. He soon joined Rank as a trainee producer, and qualified as an associate producer while working on the 1957 film Windom's Way. For the 1959 film Tiger Bay, he was the producer and wrote the screenplay. In the mid-1960s, he began to work for television, and he wrote the scripts for programmes including The Hidden Truth, The Short Stories of Conan Doyle and The Gold Robbers.

After Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins came up with an idea for a period comedy featuring two maids, Hawkesworth, along with John Whitney, turned the idea into the success that became Upstairs, Downstairs. He went on to produce 65 out of the 68 episodes from 1971 to 1975. He also wrote 12 episodes and some of the novelisations. Following this, he produced the BBC drama The Duchess of Duke Street, and created as well as produced the 1979 Euston Films series Danger UXB for Thames Television. During the 1980s, he produced many television programmes including By the Sword Divided, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Oscar.

Later yearsEdit

Hawkesworth's final work was writing the screenplay for the 1992 comedy-drama Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris. He was married to Hyacinth and they had two children. In his biography of the television producer Verity Lambert, Richard Marson describes Hyacinth as "fiercely snobbish", and as someone who "answered to the unlikely nickname 'Pussy'". Pussy occasionally accompanied Hawkesworth to meetings. In his retirement, he spent much time painting. He died in Leicester in 2003 aged 82.


  • John Hawkesworth, In My Lady's Chamber, Sphere Books Limited, 1973
  • Richard Marson, "Inside UpDown - The Story of Upstairs, Downstairs", Kaleidoscope Publishing, 2005
  • Richard Marson, "Drama and Delight - The life of Verity Lambert", Miwk Publishing, 2015

External linksEdit