The news of the death of David Croft reminds me of a story I took from his autobiography, You Have Been Watching, for use in my book, The Man Who Invented the Daleks:
In the mid-1970s, David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd, then riding high with their sitcom Are You Being Served?, approached the head of comedy at the BBC with an idea that, said Croft, 'was so hot that I didn't want to tell him what it was', for fear of word getting out and the idea being plagiarised. 'To his eternal credit, he didn't protest or ask for a script. He told me to go ahead and do it.'
The resulting pilot, Come Back Mrs Noah, starring Mollie Sugden as a Yorkshire houswife sent into space in the year 2050, resulted in a short series. It was a resounding flop, commercially and artistically, but its very existence demonstrated the freedoms accorded to those with a proven track record.
That was the old days, of course, when broadcasting executives were allowed to trust their instincts.