Alan Bennett

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Alan Bennett (born 9 May 1934) is an English playwright, screenwriter and author. Born in Leeds, he 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 output includes The Madness of George III and its film incarnation The Madness of King George, the series of monologues Talking Heads, the play The History Boys, and popular audio books, including his readings of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh.


Early years

Bennett was born in Armley in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire. The son of a co-op butcher, 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), learned Russian at the Joint Services School for Linguists during his National Service and gained a place at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.[1] However, having spent time in Cambridge during national service, and partly wishing to follow the object of his unrequited love, he decided to apply 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 was to remain at the university for several years, where he researched and taught Medieval History, before deciding he was not cut out to be an academic.

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