Goodbye To One Of The Great Northern Humorists

Great Britain


David Nobbs, the author and comedy writer who created the Reginald Perrin books, has died aged 80. Nobbs worked on many leading British comedy shows including That Was The Week That Was, The Frost Report and The Two Ronnies. It was typical that he should dedicate a novel to the county of Hereford. Here is a typical Nobbs sentence from the first page of ‘A Bit of a Do’;

Her father was as perfectly dressed as it is possible for a man to be without ceasing to look like a dentist.

And here is how that book ends, with Ted’s reply to Sandra after she asks him if he loves her.

‘Madly!’ he said, ‘deliriously! Totally!’ Slowly he withdrew from her embrace. ‘But,’ he said.

The End.

David Nobbs and Peter Tinniswood were scripting partners, but went separate ways in their literary styles. Tinniswood commenced the long-running saga of the Brandon family with A Touch Of Daniel, which was popular enough to be serialised by the BBC. He was also a lovely scene-setter:

It was the time of year when bus conductors first appear in linen jackets.

They had such similar writing styles that it was possible to mistake them for one another, although Tinniswood’s was slightly darker.

Nobbs’s Perrin books describe what befalls a bored and desperate man in a mid-life crisis who fakes his own death but returns to his wife, reinvigorating his love for her and his life. Leonard Rossiter became synonymous with the role on TV, although personally I never enjoyed the series as much as the books. With his passing, the North of England loses another of the great comic writers.

One comment on “Goodbye To One Of The Great Northern Humorists”

  1. Peter Dixon says:


    In a pub visited by Carter Brandon and Uncle Mort:

    The landlord pulled them two pints of beer. His neck was scrawled with unshaven stubble and there were aged boil scars too.
    “you’re the first today,’ said the landlord.
    “oh aye?’ said Uncle Mort. “Well, looking at this ale, we’ll most likely be the last as well.”
    They sat on a bench and took a tentative sip of their beer.
    “It’s not bad if you disregard the taste,’ said Uncle Mort. “Shall we stop on for a couple more?’

    UNCLE MORT’S NORTH COUNTRY – every paragraph is a gem.

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