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Alan Bennett

Born in Leeds on 9 May, 1934, Alan Bennett is a playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. He studied history at Exeter College, Oxford and then worked with the likes of Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook before producing his first stage play, Forty Years On, in 1968.

Alan is also the creator of The Madness of George III, The History Boys, The Lady in the Van and the monologues that made up Talking Heads. He has declined a knighthood and a CEO. Alan has won many prestigious awards and has written nearly 50 TV play, over 20 stage plays, 13 films and over 30 books.


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Alan Bennett Books

  • The Shielding of Mrs Forbes

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: BUNKF
    Paperback
    'Thinking Betty was in the bath Graham was watching a late-night programme on Channel 4 called Footballers with Their Shirts Off when she unexpectedly came in on the trail of the hairdryer. "I didn't know you were interested in football," said Betty.' No one must ever find out that Graham is 'not the marrying sort'. Certainly not his wife, or his mother. As sex, blackmail and fanatical tidiness take over the West Yorkshire parish of Alwoodley, an unlikely caper unfolds.
    • £3.49
    • RRP £3.50
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  • The History Boys

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: AAGNC
    Paperback 14 years +
    An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university. A maverick English teacher at odds with the young and shrewd supply teacher. A headmaster obsessed with results; a history teacher who thinks he's a fool. In Alan Bennett's new play, staff room rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence provoke insistent questions about history and how you teach it; about education and its purpose.
    • £8.99
    • RRP £9.99
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  • Allelujah!

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: BRUDQ
    Hardback
    - What were you in life? - In life, as you put it, I was a schoolmaster. The Beth, an old fashioned cradle-to-grave hospital serving a town on the edge of the Pennines, is threatened with closure as part of an NHS efficiency drive. As Dr Valentine and Sister Gilchrist attend to the patients, a documentary crew, eager to capture its fight for survival, follows the daily struggle to find beds on the Dusty Springfield Geriatric Ward. Meanwhile, the old people's choir, in readiness for next week's concert, is in full swing, augmented by the arrival of Mrs Maudsley, aka Pudsey Nightingale. Alan Bennett's Allelujah! opened at the Bridge Theatre, London, in July 2018. With an introduction by Alan Bennett.
    • £10.39
    • RRP £12.99
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  • The Uncommon Reader

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: BJWOW
    Audio
    It was the corgis' fault. When they strayed through the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the Queen discovered the City of Westminster travelling library. The Queen has never had much time for reading - pleasure has always come second place to duty - though now that one is here I suppose one ought to borrow a book. She is about to discover the joys of literature, albeit late in life. One book leads to another and the Queen is soon engrossed in the delights of reading. However, this uncommon reader creates an uncommon problem. The royal household dislikes the Queen's new interest; it makes them uneasy. Books are devices that ignite the imagination. And devices like that are likely to explode. Alan Bennett reads his new story about HM the Queen's all-consuming new interest, as heard on BBC Radio 4. This exclusive and extended edition is twice as long as originally broadcast. 2 CDs. 2 hrs 27 mins.
    • £13.19
    • RRP £13.25
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  • The Habit of Art

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: BIIXU
    Paperback
    Auden often said that metre and rhyme led him down unexpected paths to thoughts he wouldn't otherwise have had, and in this respect versification and fornication are not so different. Benjamin Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera, "Death in Venice", seeks advice from his former collaborator and friend, W H Auden. During this imagined meeting, their first for twenty-five years, they are observed and interrupted by amongst others their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station. You are a rent boy. I am a poet. Over the wall lives the Dean of Christ Church. We all have our parts to play. Alan Bennett's new play is as much about the theatre as it is about poetry or music. It looks at the unsettling desires of two difficult men, and at the ethics of biography. It reflects on growing old, on creativity and inspiration, and on persisting when all passion's spent: ultimately, on the habit of art. 'In the end,' said Auden, 'art is small beer. The really serious things in life are earning one's living and loving one's neighbour.'
    • £9.89
    • RRP £9.99
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  • People

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: BBLRG
    Paperback
    A sale? Why not? Release all your wonderful treasures onto the open market and they are there for everyone to enjoy. It's a kind of emancipation, a setting them free to range the world ...a sale room here, an exhibition there; art, Lady Stacpoole, is a rover. People spoil things; there are so many of them and the last thing one wants is them traipsing through one's house. But with the park a jungle and a bath on the billiard table, what is one to do? Dorothy wonders if an attic sale could be a solution.
    • £8.49
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  • The History Boys

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: AYJSG
    Paperback
    Designed to meet the requirements for students at GCSE and A level, this accessible educational edition offers the complete text of the History Boys with a comprehensive study guide. Highlights of Andrew Bruff's guide include: detailed analyses of character, theme and structure; a clear introduction to the context of the play and its author; and key quotations and activities both for the student working alone and in the classroom. An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university. A maverick English teacher at odds with the young and shrewd supply teacher. A headmaster obsessed with results; a history teacher who thinks he's a fool. In Alan Bennett's award-winning and hugely popular play, staffroom rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence provoke insistent questions about history and how you teach it, about education and its purpose.
    • £8.49
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  • Alan Bennett: Keeping on Keeping on

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: AWARN
    Audio
    Alan Bennett reads the latest instalment of his diaries, as heard on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week. Following on from Alan Bennett's bestselling, award-winning prose collections Writing Home and Untold Stories, Keeping On Keeping On is a third anthology featuring his unique observations, recollections and reminiscences. At its heart is his latest published collection of diaries. In these entries, covering the years 2005 to 2014, Bennett looks back on a packed decade that included writing four highly-acclaimed plays - The Habit of Art, People, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks, all of which premiered at the National Theatre - as well as the screenplays for the hit films of The History Boys and The Lady in the Van. In addition, he reflects on his 25 years of friendship and collaboration with director Nicholas Hytner, life with his partner Rupert Thomas and, radical views notwithstanding, his status as 'kindly, cosy and essentially harmless'. Packed with perceptive impressions of people and places, sharp social commentary, expressive description and delightful jokes, this irresistible record of life according to Alan Bennett is a treasury of wisdom and insight. Duration: 2 hours 20 mins approx.
    • £10.59
    • RRP £13.25
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  • Alan Bennett: Stories

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: AUTLH
    Audio
    A unique collection of eight Alan Bennett stories, read by the author. Alan Bennett is one of Britain's best-loved authors and an acclaimed storyteller. This exclusive compilation includes eight of his best tales, collected together for the first time. Here is his celebrated, iconic memoir The Lady in the Van; as well as two fascinating autobiographical accounts of his family and childhood. Uncle Clarence sees Bennett visiting the grave of a relative who died in Flanders in 1917; while in Hymn he joins forces with composer George Fenton and the Medici String Quartet to explore his musical memories. Bennett's incisive, acute observations shine through in his fiction too, with wry, moving and darkly humorous meditations on death (Father! Father! Burning Bright and The Laying On of Hands), sex (The Shielding of Mrs Forbes) and middle-age ennui (The Clothes They Stood Up In). His gift for affectionate satire reaches its pinnacle in The Uncommon Reader, a delightful tale in which the Queen discovers the pleasures of literature. Poignant, compassionate, wise and witty, the stories included are The Lady in the Van, Uncle Clarence, The Clothes They Stood Up In, Father! Father! Burning Bright, Hymn, The Laying On of Hands, The Uncommon Reader and The Shielding of Mrs Forbes. Duration: 13 hours approx.
    • £20.99
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  • Alan Bennett: Plays

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: AUJJU
    Audio
    A unique collection of twelve full-cast BBC Radio productions of plays by Alan Bennett. The titles are Forty Years On; A Visit from Miss Prothero; Say Something Happened; Kafka's Dick; Two in Torquay; The Madness of George III; The History Boys; An Englishman Abroad; A Question of Attribution; The Lady in the Van; Cocktail Sticks and The Last of the Sun. The cast includes John Gielgud, Patricia Routledge, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Judi Dench, Thora Hird, Alex Jennings and many more. Duration: 15 hours approx
    • £34.39
    • RRP £40.00
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  • The Lady in the Van

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: AQEGF
    Paperback
    In 1974, the homeless Miss Shepherd moved her broken down van into Alan Bennett's garden. Deeply eccentric and stubborn to her bones, Miss Shepherd was not an easy tenant. And Bennett, despite inviting her in the first place, was a reluctant landlord. And yet she lived there for fifteen years. This account of those years was first published in 1989 in the London Review of Books. The play premiered in 1999, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Dame Maggie Smith, who reprise their roles in this new film adaptation. Shot on location at Bennett's house, Alex Jennings plays the author, alongside household names including Frances de la Tour, Jim Broadbent and Dominic Cooper.
    • £5.89
    • RRP £6.99
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  • Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: APHHB
    Paperback
    Writers like to elude their public, lead them a bit of a dance. They take them down untrodden paths, land them in unknown country where they have to ask for directions. In this personal anthology, Alan Bennett has chosen over seventy poems by six well-loved poets, discussing the writers and their verse in his customary conversational style through anecdote, shrewd appraisal and spare but telling biographical detail. Ranging from hidden treasures to famous poems, this is a collection for the beginner and the expert alike. Speaking with candour about his own reactions to the work, Alan Bennett creates profound and witty portraits of Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, John Betjeman, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice and Philip Larkin, all the more enjoyable for being in his own particular voice. Anybody writing poetry in the thirties had somehow to come to terms with Auden. Auden, you see, had got a head start on the other poets. He'd got into the thirties first, like someone taking over the digs.
    • £8.29
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  • Writing Home

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: AKYCJ
    Paperback
    This book brings together his diaries for 1980-1995, with reminiscences and reviews, the diary he kept during the production of his very first play, Forty Years On, which starred John Gielgud, together with hilarious accounts of his many television plays, notably An Englishman Abroad and A Private Function. At the heart of the book is The Lady in the Van, the true account of Miss Mary Shepherd, a homeless tramp who took up residence in Bennett's garden and stayed for fifteen years. From his now-legendary address at Russell Harty's memorial service to recollections of growing up in Leeds, Writing Home gives us a unique and unforgettable portrait of one of England's leading playwrights.
    • £11.29
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  • Smut

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: ADTDE
    Paperback
    This title features unexpected tales from the master of short fiction. "The Shielding of Mrs Forbes". Graham Forbes is a disappointment to his mother, who thinks that if he must have a wife, he should have done better. Though her own husband isn't all that satisfactory either. Still, this is Alan Bennett, so what is happening in the bedroom (and in lots of other places too) is altogether more startling, perhaps shocking, and ultimately more true to people's predilections. "The Greening of Mrs Donaldson". Mrs. Donaldson is a conventional middle-class woman beached on the shores of widowhood after a marriage that had been much like many others: happy to begin with, then satisfactory and finally dull. But when she decides to take in two lodgers, her mundane life becomes much more stimulating...
    • £7.69
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  • Four Stories

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: AAMNP
    Paperback
    Here are Alan Bennett's four hugely admired, triumphantly reviewed and bestselling stories, brought together in one book for the first time. "Father! Father! Burning Bright" is the savage satire on a dying man's family reaction as he still asserts control over them from the hospital bed. Over 60,000 sold in small format. "The Clothes They Stood Up In" is the painful story of what happens to an elderly couple when their flat is stripped completely bare. Over 200,000 sold as a small novella. "The Laying on of Hands" is a memorial service for a masseur to the famous that goes horribly wrong. Over 100,000 copies sold as a novella. "The Lady in the Van" is the true story of the eccentric old lady and her van who are invited by a homeowner to live in his garden. The homeowner is Alan Bennett and she stays for 15 years. It became a West End hit, starring Maggie Smith. Like everything Bennett does, these stories are playful, witty and painfully observant of ordinary people's foibles. They all have brilliant twists, are immensely entertaining and highly moral. And all are modern classics.
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  • The Uncommon Reader

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: AALLN
    Paperback
    "The Uncommon Reader" is none other than HM the Queen who drifts accidentally into reading when her corgis stray into a mobile library parked at Buckingham Palace. She reads widely ( JR Ackerley, Jean Genet, Ivy Compton Burnett and the classics) and intelligently. Her reading naturally changes her world view and her relationship with people like the oleaginous prime minister and his repellent advisers. She comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with much that she has to do. In short, her reading is subversive. The consequence is, of course, surprising, mildly shocking and very funny.
    • £6.89
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  • Untold Stories

    Alan Bennett

    Product Code: AAGNN
    Paperback
    Being an award-winning dramatist and screenwriter, Alan Bennett certainly has plenty of interesting experiences to recount. Untold Stories is a collection of stories and diary entries that recall periods of the Leeds-born writer?s upbringing and professional life. Full of wonderful witty observations and insight, this book leaves no secrets unrevealed and contains all the droll, waspish and at times bitter humour that Bennett is known for. A vast and fascinating book, perfect for fans of the great man or his work.
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