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Tributes paid to former journalist who created Reginald Perrin

David Nobbs

Tributes have been paid to the comedy writer David Nobbs who began his career as a journalist on a regional daily before going to create the character Reginald Perrin.

David Nobbs, left, who has died aged 80, began his working life at Sheffield daily The Star, later describing himself as the “world’s worst reporter” in an interview in 2010.

The former journalist went on to write the Reginald Perrin novels which were turned into a much-loved 1970s sitcom and also contributed to The Two Ronnies, Ken Dodd, Tommy Cooper and Frankie Howerd.

David, who also wrote 20 novels, died on 9 August and regional journalists were among those paying tribute to him.

As well as the Perrin books, he also wrote Pratt of the Argus which tells the story of the fictional Henry Pratt as he becomes a cub reporter on a local newspaper and is one of a series of books about the character.

He said his time in Sheffield had helped him create the Henry Pratt series of books, which are partly set in South Yorkshire.

Alison Gow, digital innovation editor at Trinity Mirror regionals, tweeted: “Sorry to hear David Nobbs has died. I loved Pratt Of The Argus and his take on regional journalism.”

And Marc Waddington, executive editor at the North Wales Daily Post, tweeted: “RIP David Nobbs, and thank you for Pratt of the Argus. The best book there is about provincial journalism.”

David, who was from North Yorkshire, started working at the Star in 1958 as a 23-year-old trainee.

He described himself as the “world’s worst reporter” in an interview with The Northern Echo in 2010, after he deliberately ignored a big crime story in Sheffield.

In the interview, David said: “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.”

David is survived by his wife Susan, four stepchildren, eight step-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren.

3 comments

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  • August 12, 2015 at 9:45 am
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    I didn’t get where I am today without knowing a comic genius when I see one.

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  • August 12, 2015 at 11:38 am
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    He always said his first words in print was “Thives” along the lines of “Thives broke into a shop…”
    Pratt of the Argus and its predecessor Second From Last in the Sack Race were – along with the Reggie Perrin and A Bit Of A Do series, real works of comedy genius. Visit his website and read his blog for some hilarious anecdotes, especially the one about his first talk, in a Cambridgeshire prison. Classic. RIP David Nobbs

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  • August 12, 2015 at 5:20 pm
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    The world’s worst reporter? There’s some stiff opposition for that title!

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