John Hopkins (John Richard Hopkins) Biography
(1931–98), (John Richard Hopkins), Z Cars, Talking to a Stranger, Smiley's People
British dramatist, born in London, educated at Cambridge University. He first came to notice for his work for television, which included no fewer than fifty-three scripts for the police series Z Cars between 1962 and 1965, several ‘one-off’ plays, and the critically admired tetralogy Talking to a Stranger (1966), which looked at the events of one painful and finally disastrous day from the stance of each member of a family of four. He has continued to write for the medium, scripting an adaptation of John le Carré's Smiley's People in 1982; but is also the author of plays for the stage, notably This Story of Yours (1968), about an emotionally troubled policeman who, disgusted yet fascinated by the horrors of his profession, beats to death a child rapist; Find Your Way Home (1970), an early example of the ‘coming out of the closet play’, in which a married man acknowledges his homosexuality and ‘finds his way home’ to what promises to be a long-term relationship with a younger man; Economic Necessity (1973), in which a man gives up a job he thinks pointless, only to discover, when his wife takes a lover and his family rejects him, that he was more financially than emotionally important to his nearest and dearest; and Next of Kin (1974), which presents three generations of a suburban family, all of them actuated by avarice and other vices. As this suggests, Hopkins's work has been marked by a sweeping and sometimes brutally intense scepticism about human relationships.