Jack Rosenthal's Last Act was just on Radio Four, and very good it was too. I know SM was a tad intimidated by acting Jack's role whilst flanked by the man's widow (Maureen Lipman) and daughter (Amy Rosenthal), but he needn't have been, he was great. Even though you couldn't see his muted moss green Sligo eyes.
Jack Rosenthal was, and shame on you if you didn't already know this, one of Britain's finest ever television writers - everyone's supposed to like Dennis Potter more, but I only saw the frozen head one, which was rubbish. I did see Eskimo Day a few years ago though, and it blew me away, being character-based, funny and true and sad all at the same time. Most of the Green Wing cast also appeared in the recently-shown (though not recently-made, shame on you ITV obviously, not the BBC, why even a basic amount of research would have sorted that out, JH you monstrous plum) 'Ready When You Are Mister McGill' (Stephen played the writer, so was quite grumpy, rode a scooter and had big black circles under his eyes). I managed to track a few of Rosenthal's other pieces down ("The Knowledge" is particularly good) and they were all of the same quality: always informed by his Manchester working class Jewish upbringing, but never limited by it.
When you start writing, especially for telly, a large proportion of which is frankly, shit, it's easy to set yourself the target of being "better than X". What you need to aim for is being "hopefully almost as good as Y". When I get to write my own stuff, if I'm still doing it in twenty years time and it's ever even mentioned in the same breath as Jack Rosenthal, Tim Firth or Victoria Wood, I'll be happy. Obviously there are other names, but I'm actively hoping to work on shows they're involved with at the moment, so it would only cover them and myself with shame were I to mention them (as well as being quite a good get-out clause).
A big chunk of the Rosenthal back catalogue is now available on DVD (another reason why the internet is teh brilliants).
Dog Update: no knickers passed as yet, although these things can take three or four days, presumably depending on the consistency of pant.