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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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Alan Coren (1938–2007) by Terry O'Neill, 1990 Getty Images

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Coren, Alan (1938–2007), humorous writer, was born on 27 June 1938 at 2 Queensdown Road, Hackney, London, the son of Samuel Coren, builder and plumber, and his wife, Martha, née Coren, hairdresser. At the time of his birth registration his parents lived at ...

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Martin Alan Feldman (1934–1982) by Terry O'Neill, 1974 [on the set of the film Young Frankenstein] © Terry O'Neill; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Feldman, Martin Alan [Marty] (1934–1982), comedian and scriptwriter, was born on 8 July 1934 at University College Hospital, London, the elder of the two children of Myer Feldman, a gown manufacturer of Islington, and his wife, Cecilia (Cissie), née Crook. He had a sister, ...

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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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Georgi Ivanov Markov (1929–1978) by unknown photographer Rex Features

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Markov, Georgi Ivanov (1929–1978), writer and dissident, was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 1 March 1929. His father, Ivan Markov, was an army officer in the royalist Bulgarian army. This fact coloured Markov's early life. After the communist seizure of power at the end of the Second World War young men and women from such backgrounds suffered discrimination, and for this reason ...

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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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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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Perkins, Geoffrey Howard (1953–2008), comedy writer and radio and television producer, was born on 22 February 1953 at the maternity hospital in Bushey, Hertfordshire, the son of Wilfrid John Perkins, electronic engineer, and his wife, Peggy, née Patterson, of 1 Manor House Cottages, Elm Park, Stanmore, Middlesex...

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Geoffrey Howard Perkins (1953–2008) by Richard Kendal, 2001 © BBC

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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...

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Tinniswood, Peter (1936–2003), writer, was born on 21 December 1936 at 5 Granard Road, Wavertree, Liverpool, the son of Thomas Henry Bismarck Tinniswood (1892–1978), newspaper compositor, and his wife, May, née Broley (1910–1995). When Tinniswood senior was offered a job on the Manchester Guardian...