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Adams, Douglas Noël (1952–2001), writer, was born on 11 March 1952 at the maternity hospital in Cambridge, the son of Christopher Douglas Adams (d. 1985) and his wife, Janet Dora Sydney, née Donovan.

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Douglas Noël Adams (1952–2001) by Brian Griffin, 1986 © Brian Griffin; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Allen, James John [Jim] (1926–1999), playwright and scriptwriter, was born on 7 October 1926 at 31 Higher Duke Street, Miles Platting, Manchester, the second child of John (Jack) Allen, a railway labourer, and his wife, Catherine (Kitty) Lee. The family was of Irish descent. After attending local Roman Catholic schools, ...

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Braybrooke, Neville Patrick Bellairs (1923–2001), writer and editor, was born at 22A Devonshire Street, London, on 30 May 1923, the only child of Patrick Philip William Braybrooke, journalist and biographer, and his first wife, Lettice Marjorie, née Bellairs (1890–1986), who had been a nurse before her marriage. His father left his mother when ...

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Cooper, Giles Stannus (1918–1966), playwright, was born on 9 August 1918 in Carrickmines, Dublin, the elder child and only son of Guy Cooper (1889–1941), naval officer and colonial civil servant, and his wife, Winifred, née Warren (1888–1977), a talented painter who had studied at the ...

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Griffiths, Drew (1947–1984), playwright and theatre director, was born on 17 January 1947 at 25 Caroline Street, Irlam, Urmston, Lancashire, the only child of Leonard Griffiths (1906–1973) and his wife, Mona, née Smith (1910–1973). While Methodism was the paternal tradition, Griffiths was brought up within the ...

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Hanley, James (1901–1985), novelist and playwright, was born in Jervis Street, Dublin, on 3 September 1901, the son of Edward Hanley (d. 1937), a ship's stoker. The Hanleys had ten children, three of whom died in infancy; another of their sons was ...

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Hopcraft, Arthur Edward (1932–2004), journalist and author, was born on 29 November 1932 at 60 High Street, Shoeburyness, Essex, the youngest of three children of Arthur Hopcraft, grocer, and his wife, Bertha, née Bates, both from Fritwell, Oxfordshire. When he was a small boy the family moved to the mining village of ...

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Nokes, David Leonard (1948–2009), biographer and literary scholar, was born in Paddington Hospital, London, on 11 March 1948, the son of Anthony John Nokes (1922–1999), a clerical officer in the Central Office of Information, and his wife, Ethel Murray, née Smith (1919–1996). At the time of his birth registration his parents lived at ...

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Osborne, John James (1929–1994), playwright and autobiographer, was born on 12 December 1929 at 2 Cookham Road, Fulham, west London, the only son of Thomas Godfrey Osborne (d. 1942), a commercial artist and advertising copywriter, and Nellie Beatrice Grove.

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John James Osborne (1929–1994) by Daniel Farson, 1956 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Parker, (James) Stewart (1941–1988), playwright and writer, was born on 20 October 1941 at 86 Larkfield Road, Sydenham, Belfast, the son of George Herbert Parker (1912–1996), tailor's cutter, and Isobella, née Lynas (1913–1987), who had been a bookbinder before her marriage. His parents were both ...

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Potter, Dennis Christopher George (1935–1994), journalist and playwright, was born on 17 May 1935 at Joyford Hill, off Berry Hill, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, the eldest child and only son of Walter Edward Potter (1906–1975), coalminer, and his wife, Margaret Constance, née Wale (...

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Dennis Christopher George Potter (1935–1994) by Trevor Leighton, 1989 © Trevor Leighton / Camera Press, London; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Speight, John [Johnny] (1920–1998), comedy writer, was born on 2 June 1920 at 111 Dale Road, Canning Town, east London, the eldest of the three children (two sons and one daughter) of John Speight, a boiler scaler, and his wife, Johanna, née Sullivan...