Reginald Perrin creator and former Star journalist David Nobbs dies at 80

David Nobbs,the comedy writer has died. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
David Nobbs,the comedy writer has died. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
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Tributes have been paid to comedy writer David Nobbs, best known for creating the television character Reginald Perrin, after his death aged 80.

The former Star journalist also contributed to The Two Ronnies, Ken Dodd, Tommy Cooper and Frankie Howerd as well as writing 20 novels.

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

He also penned three books about the fictional Henry Pratt based on his time in Sheffield

Nobbs, from North Yorkshire, started working at The Star in 1958 as a 23-year-old trainee.

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Speaking to the Star in 2003, he said that he never imagined, while living in digs on Burngreave Road, that he would become such a success.

“I can’t say I ever thought when I was in Sheffield what I would go on to become,” he said.

“I always thought I would make some sort of a career as a writer, but I never thought things would be as good as they have been.”

One of his most memorable recollections as a young reporter is of the night he deliberately ignored one of the biggest crime stories Sheffield had seen in years.

“On my way home one evening, after a long session in the pub, I saw four police cars parked outside a little pub called The Vine in Burngreave,” he said.

“I decided that I’d better go nowhere near it and drifted home.

“In the morning the headline in the Daily Express was ‘Four Shot Dead in Sheffield Pub Harlem’. I would have been the first journalist on the scene. I kept very silent about that.”

He said: “I’m afraid that just about summed me up as a reporter!”

Tributes have 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 that he was ‘very sad’ to hear of the death of David Nobbs, adding: “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.”

Nobbs, also a longstanding patron of the British Humanist Association, is survived by his wife, Susan, four stepchildren, eight step-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren.

His death will be commemorated with a humanist funeral.