The son of actress Grace Lane (1877-1956), he was educated at Bradfield College and worked as a stockbroker's clerk before turning to the stage (Hull Repertory Theatre Company 1931-33), first as an actor then a writer. His play George and Margaret, written while out of work as an actor, ran for two years at Wyndham's Theatre and a year at the Piccadilly. It then transferred to Broadway, where it ran for 86 performances, and was later filmed. His earliest work in the film industry was as a dialogue writer for director Alfred Hitchcock's Young and Innocent (1937).
He spent some time in the United States in the 1940s writing for film and television and became an American citizen. From 1964 to 1965 he was writer, producer and production manager for Granada Television, producing five episodes of ITV Play of the Week; adapting Saki, J.B. Priestley, Noël Coward and Tennessee Williams for television. He then joined the BBC, first as Head of Serials, then Head of Plays. He notably produced five episodes of the thoroughly panned Churchill's People (1975-76) and six of the eight episodes of Love in a Cold Climate for Thames Television in 1980.