Lynda La Plante, CBE (born Lynda J. Titchmarsh on 15 March 1943) is an English author, screenwriter and former actress, best known for writing the Prime Suspect television crime series.
La Plante's father was a salesman in Liverpool. She attended RADA and began her career as an actress, mainly on television. As Lynda Marchal, she appeared in several popular series including Z-Cars, The Sweeney, The Professionals and Bergerac. However as an actress she is perhaps best remembered as the hay-fever suffering ghost Tamara Novek in the BBC children's series Rentaghost.
Her first TV series as a scriptwriter was the ITV children's sitcom The Kids from 47A in the early 1970s. However she did not find fame until the six part robbery series Widows was produced in 1983. The plot concerned the widows of four armed robbers carrying out a heist planned by their deceased husbands.
In 1991 ITV released Prime Suspect which has now run to seven series and stars Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison. (In the United States Prime Suspect airs on PBS as part of the anthology program Mystery!) In 1993 La Plante won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for her work on the series. In 1992 she wrote at TV movie called Seekers, starring Brenda Fricker and Josette Simon, produced by Sarah Lawson.
She formed her own television production company, La Plante Productions, in 1994 and as La Plante Productions she wrote and produced the sequel to Widows, the equally gutsy She's Out (ITV, 1995). The name "La Plante" comes from her marriage to writer Richard La Plante, author of the book Mantis and Hog Fever. La Plante divorced Lynda in the early 1990s.
Her output continued with The Governor (ITV 1995-96), a series focusing on the female governor of a high security prison, and was followed by a string of ratings-pulling mini-series: Trial & Retribution (ITV 1997-),Bella Mafia (1997) (starring Vanessa Redgrave), (ITV 1998), Killer Net (Channel 4 1998) and Mind Games (ITV 2001).
Two additions to the Trial & Retribution miniseries were broadcast during 2006.
Her latest novel, Blind Fury, was published in June 2010. It is another Anna Travis novel following Red Dahlia, Above Suspicion, Clean Cut , Deadly Intent and Silent Scream.
She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.
In 2008, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that sections of her 1993 book Entwined appear to be plagiarized from the 1947 Olga Lengyel book Five Chimneys. The main characters in Entwined are twins who survive medical experimentation during their childhood in Auschwitz, are separated after the war, and reunited many years later. Five Chimneys is Lengyel's firsthand account of the medical experiments that she witnessed as a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz. Some of the Auschwitz scenes in Entwined appear to be very closely based on passages from Lengyel's memoir. La Plante admits this, but says that she never read Lengyel's work herself, and claims that a researcher was responsible for the paragraphs in question.