David Nobbs dead: 'Reggie Perrin' creator dies, aged 80

In a career spanning six decades, Nobbs wrote 20 novels, including stories about his greatest character, Reginald Perrin

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David Nobbs, the author and comedy writer who created the classic Seventies TV sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, has died aged 80.

Nobbs, a patron of the British Humanist Association, worked on a string of leading British comedy shows such as That Was The Week That Was, The Frost Report and The Two Ronnies and also wrote for stars including Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson and Frankie Howerd.

Monty Python star John Cleese wrote on Twitter that Nobbs was “a lovely kind, gentle man with a delicious sense of humour”.

“Very sad today to hear of the death of David Nobbs. First worked with him on the Frost Report in 1966; then on many films for Video Arts,” he said.


“He wrote many top-class shows and books. His masterwork: the Reggie Perrin shows.

“I had not seen him for several years, but it is strange how much I miss him today. When I was a beginner, it thrilled me when I made him laugh.”

The British Humanist Association (BHA) said it was “a great privilege to work alongside a talent like David - and our lives were that much richer for knowing him”.

Andrew Copson, the BHA’s chief executive said: “David Nobbs was a very special talent and we were all honoured to have worked with him over his years as a Patron of the BHA.

“David’s writing was always funny, sharp, and acutely aware of what made people tick. David was a passionate individualist – he believed that meaning was something we were all charged with creating in our own lives – and he was a creator of memorable characters.

“At the same time, he wrote beautiful stories which captured the essence of the human experience, tapping into the emotions and experiences we all share. His books and scripts got to the heart of what it is that makes us human.”

In a career spanning six decades, Nobbs wrote 20 novels, including stories about his greatest character, Reginald Perrin. They became the basis of the famous TV series starring Leonard Rossiter, which was recreated recently with Martin Clunes in the starring role.

Nobbs also wrote A Bit of a Do, a Yorkshire Television sitcom starring David Jason, which was watched by an audience of nearly 15 million in the 1980s.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, four stepchildren, eight step-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren.

The Office creator Ricky Gervais, borrowing a catchphrase from Perrin's tyrannical boss CJ, wrote on social media: "I didn't get where I am today by not knowing what a genius David Nobbs was. RIP."

Little Britain star Matt Lucas wrote: "Reggie Perrin and A Bit Of A Do were masterpieces. David Nobbs leaves the world a richer place."

And Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, added: “Very sad to hear of the death of inspirational David Nobbs, who I had quite a few laughs with. A comic genius and an excellent human being."