Alan Coleman Dead at 76

Alan Coleman, who was executive producer of Australia's NEIGHBOURS and also worked on PRISONER and THE YOUNG DOCTORS, has died at age 76.

Coleman died on December 9 on the NSW Central Coast, his agent Darren Gray said.

Considered a pioneer of Australian soap opera, Coleman was born in Birmingham, England and worked as the first director on CROSSROADS, the UK's first ever five nights a week serial.

In 1974, he was headhunted by Australian television mogul Reg Grundy and moved to Australia with his family to help establish the Grundy Organisation's drama department.

Coleman was considered the driving force behind the hit medical soap THE YOUNG DOCTORS and served as the producer of the show. He also worked on other Grundy shows such as CLASS OF '74 and the female inmate drama PRISONER.

After running his own production company making corporate videos for a few years he returned to Grundy's as executive producer of NEIGHBOURS. He was also appointed as executive producer on SHORTLAND STREET, which was New Zealand's first five nights a week soap.

"Alan was a very special man," Gray said. "He launched so many careers both in front of and behind the camera, was behind so many hit shows and gave pleasure through his work to audiences around the world.

"He pioneered the art form viewers refer to as the soap opera but to him the shows were always five nights a week, fast turn-around drama serials."

In the last few years Coleman had been running a TV drama school on the coast in New South Wales. He is survived by his wife Barbara, his children Nick, Chris and Jacqui and grandchildren.

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