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Comedy writer David Nobbs, creator of Reginald Perrin, dies aged 80

Published 09/08/2015

David Nobbs created comedy character Reginald Perrin
David Nobbs created comedy character Reginald Perrin

Comedy writer David Nobbs, best known for creating the television character Reginald Perrin, has died, the British Humanist Association (BHA) said.

The 80-year-old from North Yorkshire, also contributed to The Two Ronnies, K en Dodd, Tommy Cooper and Frankie Howerd as well as writing 20 novels.

Nobbs wrote the Reginald Perrin novels which were turned into a much-loved sitcom that originally ran between 1976 and 1979.

They starred Leonard Rossiter as a man constantly on the verge of a mid-life crisis but with a vivid imagination.

Tributes poured in from the world of comedy for Nobbs.

Stephen Fry wrote: "Oh no! David Nobbs has died. I liked him very very much. Such a brilliant comic writer and such a kind, wise man."

John Cleese described the Perrin shows as his "masterwork".

He posted on Twitter: "Very sad today to hear of the death of David Nobbs. First worked with him on the Frost Report in 1966... a lovely kind, gentle man with a delicious sense of humour.

"He wrote many top-class shows and books."

The Office creator Ricky Gervais, borrowing a catchphrase from Perrin's tyrannical boss CJ, said: " 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."

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

He explained in an interview with the Observer in 2010 how the death of his mother in 1995 helped persuade him to join the BHA.

"The most important thing that happened to me in the wake of my mother's death wasn't the strengthening of my feelings against religion. It was the strengthening of my feelings for disbelief," he said.

"I didn't lose faith. I gained faith. Faith in people. I am proud to describe myself as a humanist."

BHA chief executive Andrew Copson said: "David Nobbs had a special talent and we were all honoured to have worked with him over his years as a patron of the BHA.

"He was a British humourist in the best tradition: strong characters, warm wit, great fun, and deep understanding of human frailty."

Nobbs' death will be commemorated with a humanist funeral.

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