David Nobbs Obituary


DAVID NOBBS AT WORK:  Richard Field's photo of David working at his desk at his Burton Leonard home on a new novel in 2008.

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He didn't get where he got to by not being one of the country's top comedy writers

Many people in Bishop Monkton will today be mourning the loss of the comedy writer David Nobbs who was once a familiar face in the village and a regular at the Lamb & Flag (writes Richard Field).

We liked to think of David, who died on Sunday at the age of 80, as 'one of our own'. Despite his celebrity status, he was always charming, witty, approachable and delightfully self efacing.

Apart from once having a regular seat in a corner at The Lamb & Flag, David had appeared at Bishop Monkton Village Hall talking about his experiences as a comedy writer, had been guest at Bishop Monkton Book Group and was a enthusiastic early member (and a not incompetent player) at Bishop Monkton Croquet Club.

Nationally, he is best remembered as the creator of the TV character Reginald Perrin, played by the inimitable Leonard Rossiter, in the unforgettable 70's TV series, The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin, which included CJ's ubiquitous catchphrase 'I didn't get where I got today by not .....' and here there were numerous endings to where he didn't get to by doing this or that! Nor could anyone forget the frequency of Reggy's embarrassment at sitting on CJs' cushion emitting its raucous farting sound!  All outputs of David's ever fertile comedy mind.

David worked on That Was the Week That Was and The Frost Report and also wrote scripts for The Two Ronnies, Ken Dodd, Frankie Howerd, and John Cleese among many others.

John Cleese summed up the view of many of us when he said 'He was a lovely, kind and gentle man with a delicious sense of humour'.

I remember iinterviewing David at his lovely Burton Leonard home in 2008 when, after a lot of probing, he recalled details of what was his own Rise (but not Fall) as one of the country's top comedy writers, not only for TV but also for his 20 novels.

He was typically modest about the success of Reginald Perrin, telling me 'It's incredible that doing a Reggy is still in vogue 30 years later and has ridicously enough become part of the English language'.

At the time he was planning his 'comeback' with a new TV series with an update of the Reginald Perrin series for BBC1.

David will be sadly missed. Many will raise a glass to him at the Lamb & Flag tonight.  And all feel we have lost a real friend.

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