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Roma Barrack (5 August 1928 – 31 May 2016), known professionally as Carla Lane, OBE, was an English television writer responsible for several successful sitcoms, including The Liver Birds (co-creator, 1969–78), Butterflies (1978–82) and Bread (1986–91). Described as “the television writer who dared to make women funny“, much of her work focused on strong women characters, including “frustrated housewives and working class matriarchs“. In later years she became well known as an animal welfare advocate.
[…] In Bread, which ran for seven series, “she became the first woman to mine television comedy from sexual and personal relationships through a galère of expertly-etched contemporary characters, developed against a backdrop of social issues such as divorce, adultery and.. alcoholism.” In the late 1980s, Bread had the third-highest viewing figures on British television, beaten only by EastEnders and Neighbours. However, Bread was criticised by some in Liverpool for portraying a stereotypical view of people in the city, an opinion that Lane rejected.
Lane had been a vegetarian dedicated to the care and welfare of animals since 1965, The “Animal Line” trust was formed in 1990 by Carla with her friends Rita Tushingham and Linda McCartney. In 1991, she bought Saint Tudwal’s Island East off the coast of Wales, to protect its wildlife. In 1993, she converted the grounds of her mansion, Broadhurst Manor in Horsted Keynes, Sussex, into a 25 acre animal sanctuary. She operated the sanctuary for 15 years before having to close operations due to financial constraints.
In 2002 Carla returned her OBE to then prime minister Tony Blair in protest against animal cruelty. In 2013, the “Carla Lane Animals In Need centre“, named in her honour, was opened at an animal sanctuary in Melling, Merseyside. […]
From paulmccartney.com, June 2, 2016:
“Dear Carla has passed away and all of us in the family are very sad to lose a wonderful women. We originally met through our involvement with the comedy show ‘Bread’ and then later came to know her very well as a passionate animal lover. Any animal in trouble was an animal that she felt she had to help and she did rescue and keep many varied animals for a long time. In her poetry she often expressed her feelings for animals and we in our family shared her passion.
“The world has lost a great advocate for the rights of animals but more importantly someone who saw the value of her fellow creatures’ lives and did everything in her power to show them the love and respect they deserved.
“We will miss her.”
As mentioned by Paul, Carla Lane was a passionate animal lover and this led her to writing lyrics for Linda McCartney’s song ‘The White Coated Man’, which addresses the practice of vivisection. Linda and Carla also worked together on the song ‘Cow’, which deals with the last days of a cow under sentence of death. Both songs feature on Linda’s 1998 albumWide Prairie.
The songs ‘The White Coated Man’ and ‘Cow’ were both recorded in the spring of 1988 in Paul’s personal studio. In the same year, Carla wrote a part for Linda in the popular British TV sitcom ‘Bread’. In the episode, the character Billy Boswell goes to the opening of an animal refuge set up by Linda. Linda then ends up back at the Boswell family home, collected at the end of the show by Paul who is mistaken for a taxi driver by mother Nellie Boswell.
From paulmccartney.com, December 2016:
Writer and family friend Carla Lane passed away in May
Paul: Well, Carla was a lovely lady. And it’s so sad that she passed away. She was the ultimate animal friend, and kooky with it. She was a writer, she wrote ‘Bread’, the British TV series. She was very funny and nice too. She was from Liverpool. And we often used to go round to her animal sanctuary. She’d introduce us to all the animals she’d saved. She had a heart as big as the Mersey.
Last updated on March 6, 2021