Alan Bennett - Forty Years On. Alan Bennett.

Alan Bennett (I)

Alan Bennett is an English playwright, screenwriter, actor and author best known as a writer and performer in Beyond The Fringe (together with Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, and Jonathan Miller), and for writing the plays (which were later adapted into feature films) The History Boys and The Lady In The Van.


Born in Leeds and educated at Oxford University, Alan Bennett's first forays into the comedy world began with shows with the Oxford Revue. Here he collaborated as writer and performer with fellow comedians Jonathan Miller, Peter Cook, and Dudley Moore in the satirical revue Beyond The Fringe. Together they rose to fame after appearing at the 1960 Edinburgh Festival, and triumphed to such an extent that they travelled to London and New York. The show was the first of its kind to bring together the highlights from the Cambridge Footlights and The Oxford Revue, both of which had appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe in recent years in their own shows, and premiered to enormous success. Beyond The Fringe is widely regarded as instrumental to the 'satire boom' in 1960s Britain.

In 1965 Bennett appeared in the one-off BBC satire written by John Bird] entitled My Father Knew Lloyd George, set in Victorian England and based on the antics of a young aristocrat.

After teaching and researching medieval history for a number of years after graduation from Oxford, Bennett abandoned academia in favour of playwriting. His first stage play Forty Years On was produced in 1968 and adapted into aBBC Radio 4 play in 2000. Later work includes The Madness of King George III and The History Boys, both of which were adapted into successful films (in 1994 and 2006 respectively).

One of Bennett's most successful works is The Lady In The Van, based on his encounters with an eccentric woman called Miss Shepherd who lived on Bennett's driveway in a wide range of dilapidated vans, over more than fifteen years. First published in 1989 as an essay in the London Review of Books, in 1999 Bennett adapted it into stage play, and in 2009 it was broadcast as a radio play on BBC Radio 4. It was adapted yet again in 2015 for a film of the same name, with Maggie Smith reprising the role of the titular lady that she had made her own in the radio version.

In 2014 Bennett wrote one episode of a BBC Radio 4 comedy drama entitled Denmark Hill, which transposed Shakespeare's Hamlet into a contemporary suburban setting.



  • British Comedy Awards 2000 - Lifetime Achievement Award: Winner
  • BAFTA Film Awards 1996 - Best Adapted Screenplay: Nominee
  • Academy Awards (Oscars) 1995 - Best Adapted Screenplay: Nominee
  • BAFTA Film Awards 1985 - Best Original Screenplay: Nominee
  • BAFTA Television Awards 1984 - Writers Award: Winner
  • BAFTA Television Awards 1967 - Best Light Entertainment Artist: Winner
Wednesday 9th May 1934 (87 years-old)


Year Production Role
2018 Alan Bennett's Say Somthing Happened Writer
2018 Alan Bennett's Green Forms Writer
2018 Alan Bennett's A Visit From Miss Prothero Writer
2015 The Lady In The Van Self
2015 The Lady In The Van Writer
2014 Denmark Hill Narrator
2014 Denmark Hill Writer
2014 The Comedy Vaults: BBC2's Hidden Treasure Self (Archive Material)
2006 The History Boys Writer
2006 The History Boys Writer
2006 The History Boys Writer (Adapted By)
2000 Alan Bennett - Forty Years On Ensemble Actor
1995 Some Interesting Facts About Peter Cook Self
1991 Julie Walters And Friends Writer
1991 Julie Walters And Friends Actor
1984 A Private Function Writer
1984 A Private Function Creator
1982 Say Something Happened Writer
1977 A Little Outing Writer
1966 On The Margin Various
1966 On The Margin Writer
1965 My Father Knew Lloyd George Crew
1965 My Father Knew Lloyd George Actor
1964 Beyond The Fringe Ensemble Actor
1964 Beyond The Fringe Writer

Non-comedy TV and film credits might be found here:
Alan Bennett on IMDb

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