AddThis SmartLayers

'I was world's worst reporter' admits Perrin author

The creator of Reggie Perrin has described himself as the ‘world’s worst reporter’ in an interview with a regional daily.

David Nobbs, left, began his working life on the Sheffield Star in the 1960s before finding fame as the writer of the legendary 70s sitcom about a bored, middle-aged company executive who fakes his own death.

Now he has spoken of his newsroom experiences in an interview with the Northern Echo’s Viv Hardwick, published yesterday.

Although he describes himself as the world’s worst reporter, he acknowledged that newspapers taught him an “economy of style” which helped him in his writing.

Recalled David: “I was on the Sheffield Star. It was my first job and I hadn’t really got a clue. I remember walking up the road from the town centre at the end of the night and saw some police cars outside a pub.

“I thought ‘I dunno, there’s probably been a fight. I can’t be bothered, I’m tired.’

“The next morning I got up and on the mat was my own newspaper which said on the front page Four Shot Dead In Sheffield Harlem and I would have been the first reporter on the scene had I turned up.

“Instead I trudged home. Yes, I can say I do not have a keen news sense.”

He added: “I just didn’t want to be a newspaper reporter. I took the job because I could write and I might have been able to make a features writer but not a news reporter. I really don’t think I was very good.

“However, I can’t believe how bad some of the news stories are now, particularly on the text used for television where they don’t even tell you where the place is. A lot of reporters can’t get the basic information into an intro.”

David said the one good thing about life on the Star was that he made great friends and that it helped him create the popular Henry Pratt series of books, which are partly set in South Yorkshire.

The first of the books, Second From Last In The Sack Race, has since been adapted for stage and screen.