| 7.2°C Belfast

Withnail and I draft to go under the hammer at Sotheby's


An early draft of Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson/Sotheby's/PA)

An early draft of Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson/Sotheby's/PA)

An early draft of Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson/Sotheby's/PA)

The earliest draft version of Withnail and I is to go under the hammer at Sotheby's on December 15.

Bruce Robinson's short novel, which he described as "70% autobiographical", was written in 1969-70.

Its author was living in a house in Camden Town, north London, in which much of the debauched action takes place.

The draft offered for sale includes extensive revisions in Robinson's hand, along with a single leaf torn from a magazine which features a photograph of the author and his flatmates outside their house in the late 1960s.

The iconic 1987 film, which starred Paul McGann and Richard E Grant, had a protracted journey to the big screen.

In the 1980s, a copy of the unpublished novel reached executive producer Mody Schreiber.

He commissioned Robinson to adapt it for the screen and the Beatles' George Harrison read the script on a transatlantic crossing.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Harrison's company Handmade Films, formed to fund Monty Python's Life of Brian, ended up producing the comedy, which was directed by its writer.

Withnail and I has become a much-loved and oft-quoted favourite.

Set at the end of the 1960s, it tells the tale of two out-of-work actors, Withnail (Grant) and 'I' (McGann), who exist on a diet of booze, drugs and cigarettes in their revolting Camden flat.

Robinson's housemates - including Vivian MacKerrell, who was famously the basis for Withnail, and David Dundas, who wrote the film's music - were still drama students at the nearby Central School of Speech and Drama at the time they were living together.

The draft for Withnail and I is estimated at between £4,000-6,000 and is offered as part of Sotheby's sale of English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations.

Top Videos