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Chariots Of Fire writer Colin Welland dies at age 81

By PA Reporters

Published 04/11/2015

Colin Welland
Colin Welland
Writer and actor Colin Welland as Pc David Graham with our own James Ellis in Z Cars in 1963

Oscar-winning writer and actor Welland has died aged 81, his family has announced.

Welland, a Lancashire-born father-of-four who acted in everything from Kes to Z Cars, won his Academy Award for the 1981 screenplay of Chariots Of Fire, famously waving his statue and announcing in his acceptance speech: "The British are coming!"

His family said that he had suffered from Alzheimer's for several years but died peacefully in his sleep.

In a statement released via his literary agent Anthony Jones his family said: "Colin will be desperately missed by his family and friends.

"Alzheimer's is a cruel illness and there have been difficult times, but in the end Colin died peacefully in his sleep. We are proud of Colin's many achievements during his life but most of all he will be missed as a loving and generous friend, husband, father and grandad."

Welland, who died on Monday night, is survived by his wife Patricia, four children and six grandchildren.

Chariots Of Fire told the story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice.

On winning the award for Best Original Screenplay for the film at the Academy Awards in 1982, Welland warned the American audience: "The British are coming!" - a famous quotation attributed to US revolutionary war hero Paul Revere.

His writing credits also include Yanks (1979) and the screenplay for Twice In A Lifetime (1985).

As well as screenwriting, Welland had an acting career, appearing as Pc David Graham in BBC series Z-Cars and as a villain in The Sweeney. He also starred in Kes in 1969 and Sweeney! in 1977.

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