Ray Jenkins was a distinguished TV, radio and film dramatist who wrote for numerous highly acclaimed British police and justice-related drama series from the 1960s to the 1980s, including Z Cars, The Brothers, This Man Craig, Callan, The Sweeney, Special Branch, Juliet Bravo, Gentle Touch, The Chief and The Brief.
In addition, he wrote drama scripts for education, notably Five Green Bottles and The Whole Truth, still widely used today, and he continued to teach scriptwriting both nationally and internationally into his 70s.
Jenkins was a key player in the Writers’ Guild in the early 1970s, encouraging the union to fight the Conservative Government over the Industrial Relations Bill. At the time, Jenkins was Chair of the Television Committee during what was then the toughest decade in the union’s history. In his own words, he saw most committee work as “humdrum” and “time consuming” but also “vital”.He proudly wrote at the time: “It would seem obvious that the Guild’s standing in the realm of industrial agreements is so unquestioned that we were approached first by companies wishing to exploit TV work… Long may such respect and reward continue!” Jenkins was also deeply involved on behalf of the Writers’ Guild in the battles that raged between the TUC and the Heath Government over the Industrial Relations Bill. Battles also raged between members of the Guild’s Executive Council. One Sunday morning in February 1971 matters came to a head at the Clarendon Court Hotel. A Guild EC meeting voted 50 to 19 to obey the Industrial Relations Act when it came to power. Jenkins and two other members of the EC walked out in disgust. In brief, Ray Jenkins was one of the many many members of the Guild who have given up precious writing time and devoted it to precious union time instead.