The Man Who Wrote Lassie

John Noakes tells the story of Hollywood scriptwriter Eric Knight who came from humble beginnings in Yorkshire to create Lassie, the dog who captured the imagination of generations of televisions watchers.

This autumn sees the 50th anniversary of the first TV transmission of Lassie.

And it may come as a surprise to many people that Lassie was written by a lad from Halifax who always remained a Yorkshireman through and through.

Eric Knight had a colourful and eventful life working in a bottle factory in Leeds to earn his passage to America at the age of fifteen.

He became the film critic of the Philadelphia Evening Ledger, a Hollywood scriptwriter, a farmer in California where he acquired the puppy which was to become Lassie, and a best-selling novelist.

He fought in two world wars and died in mysterious circumstances when his plane crashed into the sea off Dutch Guiana in 1943.

Another son of Halifax and well know dog lover, John Noakes, visits some of Eric's early haunts in Yorkshire, and also meets those who knew the American Eric - including grand-daughter Betsy in Philadelphia who recalls the original model for Lassie, the family pet, being laid to rest on a hillside at the family farm.

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John Noakes tells the story of Hollywood scriptwriter Eric Knight who came from humble beginnings in Yorkshire to create Lassie, the dog who captured the imagination of generations of televisions watchers.

This autumn sees the 50th anniversary of the first TV transmission of Lassie.

And it may come as a surprise to many people that Lassie was written by a lad from Halifax who always remained a Yorkshireman through and through.

Eric Knight had a colourful and eventful life working in a bottle factory in Leeds to earn his passage to America at the age of fifteen.

He became the film critic of the Philadelphia Evening Ledger, a Hollywood scriptwriter, a farmer in California where he acquired the puppy which was to become Lassie, and a best-selling novelist.

He fought in two world wars and died in mysterious circumstances when his plane crashed into the sea off Dutch Guiana in 1943.

Another son of Halifax and well know dog lover, John Noakes, visits some of Eric's early haunts in Yorkshire, and also meets those who knew the American Eric - including grand-daughter Betsy in Philadelphia who recalls the original model for Lassie, the family pet, being laid to rest on a hillside at the family farm.