The TV producer responsible for some of the best known Aussie and Kiwi soaps, including Shortland Street, has died.

Alan Coleman, who was executive producer of Neighbours and also worked on Prisoner and The Young Doctors, died yesterday on the NSW Central Coast at the age of 76, his agent Darren Gray told the Australian Associated Press.

Coleman was born in Birmingham in the UK 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 worked as the producer of the show. He also worked on other Grundy shows such as 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."