This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page . (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
|Alma mater||Exeter College, Oxford|
Alan Bennett (born 9 May 1934) is an English actor, author, playwright and screenwriter. He was born in Leeds and attended Oxford University, where he studied history and performed with the Oxford Revue. He stayed to teach and research medieval history at the university for several years. His collaboration as writer and performer with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe at the 1960 Edinburgh Festival brought him instant fame. He gave up academia, and turned to writing full-time, his first stage play, Forty Years On , being produced in 1968.
His work includes The Madness of George III and its film adaptation, the series of monologues Talking Heads , the play and subsequent film of The History Boys, and audio books, including his readings of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh .
Bennett was born in Armley in Leeds.The younger son of a Co-op butcher, Walter, and his wife Lilian Mary (née Peel), Bennett attended Christ Church, Upper Armley, Church of England School (in the same class as Barbara Taylor Bradford), and then Leeds Modern School (now Lawnswood School).
He learned Russian at the Joint Services School for Linguists during his national service before applying for a scholarship at Oxford University. He was accepted by Exeter College, Oxford, from which he graduated with a first-class degree in history. While at Oxford he performed comedy with a number of eventually successful actors in the Oxford Revue. He remained at the university for several years, where he served as a junior lecturer of Medieval History at Magdalen College,before deciding, in 1960, that he was not suited to being an academic.
In August 1960, Bennett – along with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook – gained fame after an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe , with the show continuing in London and New York. He also appeared in My Father Knew Lloyd George . His television comedy sketch series On the Margin (1966) was erased; the BBC re-used expensive videotape rather than keep it in the archives. However, in 2014 it was announced that audio copies of the entire series had been found.
Bennett's first stage play Forty Years On, directed by Patrick Garland, was produced in 1968. Many television, stage and radio plays followed, with screenplays, short stories, novellas, a large body of non-fictional prose, and broadcasting and many appearances as an actor.
Despite a long history with both the National Theatre and the BBC, Bennett never writes on commission, saying "I don't work on commission, I just do it on spec. If people don't want it then it's too bad."
His many works for television include his first play for the medium, A Day Out in 1972, A Little Outing in 1977, Intensive Care in 1982, An Englishman Abroad in 1983, and A Question of Attribution in 1991.[ citation needed ] But perhaps his most famous screen work is the 1988 Talking Heads series of monologues for television which were later performed at the Comedy Theatre in London in 1992. A second set of six Talking Heads followed a decade later.
In his 2005 prose collection Untold Stories, Bennett wrote of the mental illness that his mother and other family members suffered.
He wrote The Lady in the Van based on his experiences with an eccentric woman called Miss Shepherd, who lived on Bennett's driveway in a series of dilapidated vans for more than fifteen years. It was first published in 1989 as an essay in the London Review of Books . In 1990 he published it in book form. In 1999 he adapted it into a stage play, which starred Maggie Smith and was directed by Nicholas Hytner. The stage play includes two characters named Alan Bennett. On 21 February 2009 it was broadcast as a radio play on BBC Radio 4, with Maggie Smith reprising her role and Alan Bennett playing himself. He adapted the story again for a 2015 film, with Maggie Smith reprising her role again, and Nicholas Hytner directing again. In the film Alex Jennings plays the two versions of Bennett, although Alan Bennett appears in a cameo at the very end of the film.
Bennett adapted his 1991 play The Madness of George III for the cinema. Entitled The Madness of King George (1994), the film received four Academy Award nominations: for Bennett's writing and the performances of Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren. It won the award for best art direction.
Bennett's critically acclaimed The History Boys won three Laurence Olivier Awards in 2005, for Best New Play, Best Actor (Richard Griffiths), and Best Direction (Nicholas Hytner), having previously won Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and Evening Standard Awards for Best Actor and Best Play. Bennett also received the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre.The History Boys won six Tony Awards on Broadway, including best play, best performance by a leading actor in a play (Richard Griffiths), best performance by a featured actress in a play (Frances de la Tour) and best direction of a play (Nicholas Hytner). A film version of The History Boys was released in the UK in October 2006.
Bennett wrote the play Enjoy in 1980. It barely scraped a run of seven weeks at the Vaudeville Theatre, in spite of the stellar cast of Joan Plowright, Colin Blakely, Susan Littler, Philip Sayer, Liz Smith (who replaced Joan Hickson during rehearsals) and, in his first West End role, Marc Sinden. It was directed by Ronald Eyre. million in advance ticket sales and even extended the run to cope with demand. The production starred Alison Steadman, David Troughton, Richard Glaves, Carol Macready and Josie Walker.A new production of Enjoy attracted very favourable notices during its 2008 UK tour and moved to the West End of London in January 2009. The West End show took over £1
At the National Theatre in late 2009 Nicholas Hytner directed Bennett's play The Habit of Art , about the relationship between the poet W. H. Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten.
Bennett's play People opened at the National Theatre in October 2012.In December that year, Cocktail Sticks , an autobiographical play by Bennett, premièred at the National Theatre as part of a double bill with the monologue Hymn. The production was directed by Bennett's long-term collaborator Nicholas Hytner. It was well-received, and transferred to the Duchess Theatre in the West End of London, being subsequently adapted for radio broadcast by BBC Radio 4.
In July 2018, Allelujah!, a comic drama by Bennett about an NHS hospital threatened with closure, opened at London's Bridge Theatre to critical acclaim.
Bennett lived for 40 years on Gloucester Crescent in Camden Town in London but now lives a few minutes' walk away at Primrose Hill with his partner Rupert Thomas, the editor of The World of Interiors magazine.Bennett also had a long-term relationship with his former housekeeper, Anne Davies, until her death in 2009.
Bennett is an agnostic.He was raised Anglican and gradually "left it [the Church] over the years".
In 1988, Bennett declined the award of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and in 1996 declined a knighthood.
In September 2005, Bennett revealed that, in 1997, he had undergone treatment for colorectal cancer, and described the illness as a "bore". His chances of survival were given as being "much less" than 50% and surgeons had told him they removed a "rock-bun" sized tumour.He began Untold Stories (published 2005) thinking it would be published posthumously, but his cancer went into remission.
In the autobiographical sketches which form a large part of the book Bennett wrote openly for the first time about his bisexuality. Previously Bennett had referred to questions about his sexuality as like asking a man who has just crawled across the Sahara desert to choose between Perrier or Malvern mineral water.
In October 2008, Bennett announced that he was donating his entire archive of working papers, unpublished manuscripts, diaries and books to the Bodleian Library, stating that it was a gesture of thanks repaying a debt he felt he owed to the British welfare state that had given him educational opportunities which his humble family background would otherwise never have afforded.
In September 2015, Bennett endorsed Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election. He said: "I think Jeremy Corbyn has given things a good kick in the pants and the fact that he has done so well shows that people are concerned about these issues. The Government would have you think that nobody is concerned about these things, but they are."In the October after Corbyn's election victory he said: "I approve of him. If only because it brings Labour back to what they ought to be thinking about."
Following the death of Jonathan Miller in 2019, he became the only surviving member of the original Beyond the Fringe quartet which had also included Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(February 2018)
Bennett was made an Honorary Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1987. He was also awarded a D.Litt by the University of Leeds in 1990and an honorary doctorate from Kingston University in 1996. In 1998 he refused an honorary doctorate from Oxford University, in protest at its acceptance of funding for a chair from press baron Rupert Murdoch. He also declined a CBE in 1988 and a knighthood in 1996. He has stated that, although he is not a republican, he would never wish to be knighted, saying it would be a bit like having to wear a suit for the rest of his life.
In December 2011 Bennett returned to Lawnswood School, nearly 60 years after he left, to unveil the renamed Alan Bennett Library.He said he "loosely" based The History Boys on his experiences at the school and his admission to Oxford. Lawnswood School dedicated its library to the writer after he emerged as a vocal campaigner against public library cuts. Plans to shut local libraries were "wrong and very short-sighted", Bennett said, adding: "We're impoverishing young people."
Sir Nigel Barnard Hawthorne was an English actor. He is most known for his stage acting and his portrayal of Sir Humphrey Appleby, the permanent secretary in the 1980s sitcom Yes Minister and the Cabinet Secretary in its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. For this role, he won four BAFTA TV Awards for Best Light Entertainment Performance.
The Madness of King George is a 1994 British biographical historical comedy-drama film directed by Nicholas Hytner and adapted by Alan Bennett from his own 1991 play The Madness of George III. It tells the true story of George III of Great Britain's deteriorating mental health, and his equally declining relationship with his eldest son, the Prince of Wales, particularly focusing on the period around the Regency Crisis of 1788–89. Two text panels at the end of the film note that the colour of the King's urine suggests that he was suffering from porphyria, adding that the disease is “periodic, unpredictable and hereditary.” Although modern medicine has suggested that the King's symptoms were the result of acute intermittent porphyria, this theory was vigorously challenged by a research project based at St George's, University of London, reported on the BBC in 2013, that concluded that George III did actually suffer from mental illness after all. The Madness of King George won the BAFTA Awards in 1995 for Outstanding British Film and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Nigel Hawthorne, who was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. The movie won the Oscar for Best Art Direction; and was also nominated for Oscars for Best Supporting Actress for Mirren, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Helen Mirren also won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress and Hytner was nominated for the Palme d'Or.
Sir Jonathan Wolfe Miller CBE was an English theatre and opera director, actor, author, television presenter, humourist and physician. After training in medicine and specialising in neurology in the late 1950s, he came to prominence in the early 1960s in the comedy revue Beyond the Fringe with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett.
Alex Jennings is an English actor of the stage and screen, who has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre. For his stage work on the London stage, Jennings has received three Olivier Awards, winning for Too Clever by Half (1988), Peer Gynt (1996), and My Fair Lady (2003). He is the only performer to have won Olivier awards in the drama, musical and comedy categories.
Sir Nicholas Robert Hytner is an English theatre director, film director, and film producer. He was previously the Artistic Director of London's National Theatre. His major successes as director include Miss Saigon, The History Boys and One Man, Two Guvnors. He has also known for directing films such as The Madness of King George (1994), The Crucible (1996), The History Boys (2006), and The Lady in the Van (2015). Hytner was knighted in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to drama by Queen Elizabeth II.
George Fenton is an English composer best known for his work writing film scores and music for television. His work has been recognised with five Oscar nominations, several Ivor Novello, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy and BMI Awards and a Classic Brit. He has frequently collaborated with the directors Richard Attenborough, Nora Ephron, Alastair Fottergill, Stephen Frears, Terry Gilliam, Ken Loach and Andy Tennant.
Simon James Holliday Gray was an English playwright and memoirist who also had a career as a university lecturer in English literature at Queen Mary, University of London, for 20 years. While teaching at Queen Mary, Gray began his writing career as a novelist in 1963 and, during the next 45 years, in addition to five published novels, wrote 40 original stage plays, screenplays, and screen adaptations of his own and others' works for stage, film, and television and became well known for the self-deprecating wit characteristic of several volumes of memoirs or diaries.
Hanif Kureishi, CBE is a British playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker and novelist of Pakistani and English descent. In 2008, The Times included Kureishi in its list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
Richard Thomas Griffiths was an English actor of film, television, and stage. For his performance in the stage play The History Boys, Griffiths won much acclaim and received many awards including, a Tony Award, a Laurence Olivier Award, the Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award. For the 2006 film adaptation, Griffiths was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
The History Boys is a play by British playwright Alan Bennett. The play premiered at the Royal National Theatre in London on 18 May 2004. Its Broadway debut was on 23 April 2006 at the Broadhurst Theatre where 185 performances were staged before it closed on 1 October 2006.
Moira Buffini is an English dramatist, director, and actor.
Orlando Wells is an English writer and actor.
Samuel Barnett is an English actor. He has performed on stage, film, television and radio, and achieved recognition for his work on the stage and film versions of The History Boys by Alan Bennett. His television performances include roles in the BBC comedy Twenty Twelve and in the Showtime drama Penny Dreadful. He played the lead role of Dirk Gently in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, the 2016 BBC America adaptation of the book series by Douglas Adams.
Dominic Edward Cooper is an English actor who has worked in television, film, theatre, and radio. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of comic book characters Jesse Custer on the AMC show Preacher (2016–2019) and young Howard Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with appearances in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and the TV series Agent Carter (2015–16), among other Marvel productions. Cooper also played Sky in Mamma Mia! and its 2018 sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Jamie Parker is an English actor and singer. He is best known for his role as Harry Potter in the original cast for the West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, for which he received a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play. He also received a nomination for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play as a member of the original Broadway version.
Adrian Philip Scarborough is an English actor.
Matt Charman is a British screenwriter, playwright, and producer from Horsham, West Sussex. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his 2015 film Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg and co-written with Joel and Ethan Coen. Charman started out writing for theatre, making his breakthrough as writer-in-residence at London's National Theatre, where then-director Nicholas Hytner described Charman as having "a priceless nose for a story".
The Lady in the Van is a 2015 British comedy-drama film directed by Nicholas Hytner, and starring Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings, based on the memoir of the same name created by Alan Bennett. It was written by Bennett, and it tells the (mostly) true story of his interactions with Mary Shepherd, an elderly woman who lived in a dilapidated van on his driveway in London for 15 years. He had previously published the story as a 1989 essay, 1990 book, 1999 stage play, and 2009 radio play on BBC Radio 4. Smith had previously portrayed Shepherd twice: in the 1999 stage play, which earned her a Best Actress nomination at the 2000 Olivier Awards and in the 2009 radio adaptation.
Allan Cubitt is a British television, film, and theatre writer, director, and producer, best known for his work on Prime Suspect II and The Fall.
Margaret Mary Fairchild also known as Mary Teresa Sheppard, Miss Shepherd and M T Sheppard was a former concert pianist, nun and homeless woman who is the title character in the 2015 film The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett in which she was played by Maggie Smith. Smith had previously played her in a 1999 play of the same name and a radio adaptation for BBC Radio 4 in 2009.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Alan Bennett|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alan Bennett .|