Full Name: David Gordon Nobbs


Known For:


Born:13 March 1935

Petts Wood, Kent

Died: 9 August 2015

Web Site: David Nobbs’ official site

Other Links: See below:


David Gordon Nobbs (13 March 1935 – 9 August 2015) was an English comedy writer and humanist, best known for writing the 1970s series The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, adapted from his own novels.

Nobbs was born in Petts Wood, Kent. Following an education at Marlborough College and Cambridge University, he worked as a reporter for the Sheffield Star, before starting his career in comedy as a writer for That Was The Week That Was in the early 1960s. He wrote for many of Britain’s comedy performers over the years, including Kenneth Williams, Frankie Howerd, Les Dawson and The Two Ronnies.

Nobbs was the creator of the sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976–79), adapted from his own Reginald Perrin novels, which “told the story of a man living an escapist fantasy in response to the mundanity of his daily commute”. The TV series starred Leonard Rossiter as Perrin.

Nobbs also wrote the comedy/drama series A Bit of a Do (1989) and the Henry Pratt series of novels, the fourth of which, Pratt à Manger, was published in 2006. His novel It Had to be You was published in 2011.

A passionate humanist and a believer in the ideals of secularism, Nobbs was a longstanding Patron of the British Humanist Association. Although he was devoutly religious into his teens, at 18 Nobbs realised he was an atheist. From then on and throughout his career, he used his writing to explore humanist ideas about the nature of people and relationships. In particular, he cited his novels Obstacles to Young Love and It Had to Be You as two books strongly influenced by Humanism, saying “I would describe them as being humanist books as well as humorous ones.”

After becoming a Patron of the BHA, Nobbs supported the charity across both its campaigning work and its support for non-religious people through services. In September 2010, Nobbs, along with 54 other public figures, signed a BHA open letter published in The Guardian, stating his opposition to Pope Benedict XVI’s state visit to the UK. In 2014, he was one of a number of high-profile signatories who signed an open letter which challenged David Cameron on his assertions that Britain was a “Christian country”. That same year, he wrote the foreword to a new edition of Jane Wynne Wilson’s book about humanist funerals, Funerals Without God, writing that “One cannot think of the significance of a humanist death without thinking about the significance of a humanist life, and I gradually found, beneath the facts and practical suggestions, a pretty good account of what it is to be a humanist, and how much more there is to it than just not believing in God.”

Television works

The Two Ronnies (contributor)
Shine a Light
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
The Sun Trap
The Hello Goodbye Man
A Bit of a Do
Fairly Secret Army
Dogfood Dan and the Carmarthan Cowboy
The Life and Times of Henry Pratt
Rich Tea and Sympathy
The Legacy of Reginald Perrin
Love on a Branch Line
Stalag Luft
Reggie Perrin

Radio works[edit]

Nobbs wrote a number of works for radio, all of which were broadcast on BBC Radio 4:
five excerpts from “I Didn’t Get Where I Am Today” were read by the author on Book of the Week in April 2003.
his dramatisation of the novel What a Carve Up! was serialized from February to April 2005.
The Maltby Collection, a comedy set in a museum featuring long-time collaborator Geoffrey Palmer, ran for three series of six episodes from 2007 to 2009.
“Three Large Beers”, a 45-minute play, was the Afternoon Drama on 10 April 2007.
“Silent Nights”, a 45-minute play, was the Afternoon Drama on September 22, 2008.
“We Happened To Be Passing” a 45-minute play, was the Afternoon Drama on September 24, 2010.
“With Nobbs On” was a three-part feature broadcast weekly from May 21, 2012 in which Nobbs told anecdotes about his career in front of a studio audience.
“The Surprising Effect of Miss Scarlett Rosebud”, a 45-minute play, was the Afternoon Drama on 23 Apr 2014.