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

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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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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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Kavanagh, Henry Edward [Ted] (1892–1958), scriptwriter, was born on 1 March 1892 in Auckland, New Zealand, the younger son of Henry Paul Kavanagh (d. 1926), and his wife, Jane Lorigan. Both parents were Roman Catholics, and his paternal roots were in co. Carlow, Ireland...

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Terence Alan Milligan (1918–2002) by Harry Hammond, 1953 V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Milligan, Terence Alan [Spike] (1918–2002), comedian and author, was born on 16 April 1918 in Ahmednagar, near Bombay, India, the elder son of Leo Alphonso Milligan (1890–1969), soldier, and his wife, Florence Winifred, née Kettleband (1893–1990). His brother, Desmond Patrick, was born in 1925. ...

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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...