David Nobbs, who has died aged 80, became established in the 1960s as a gag writer for popular performers of the day such as David Frost and Frankie Howerd. This funded his greater ambitions as a novelist, and in 1975 he struck gold with The Death of Reginald Perrin, in which office politics and meeting-filled drudgery at Sunshine Desserts make Reggie Perrin so fear that “his past was his future’s jailer” that he fakes suicide and assumes a fresh identity. A much-loved television adaptation, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, starring Leonard Rossiter as Perrin and Pauline Yates as his long-suffering wife, Elizabeth, ran between 1976 and 1979, and Nobbs embarked on a series of sometimes interconnected novels and scripts chronicling changes to British life across the decades.
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