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Yorkshire playwright, diarist and raconteur who openly detests his oft-applied sobriquet of "national treasure".
- Born in 1934, the son of a Leeds butcher, Alan Bennett gained a scholarship to Oxford and prepared himself for a career as a medieval historian.
- Bennett soon discovered that he had thespian tendencies and became increasingly active in local stage productions and revues.
- Bennett achieved fame and notoriety in 1960 when he appeared in Beyond the Fringe with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller.
- Throughout the 1960s Bennett continued to write for (and occasionally appear in) satirical sketch-based shows, but his real passion was drama and during the 1970s he made a name for himself as a playwright.
- Bennett's wistful, melancholy style and fine ear for the nuances of Northern, working-class speech have transformed him from an enfant terrible into a national treasure (a sobriquet he detests) and when he published his diaries Writing Home in the mid-nineties, it topped the bestseller lists.
- He followed up with Untold Stories in 2005, which proved equally popular, and in autumn 2006, a successful adaptation of his play, The History Boys, was released as a film.
- Bennett's work adapts exceptionally well to audio and he is perhaps the single most successful British writer and performer in that format.