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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Keith Spencer Waterhouse CBE (6 February 1929  – 4 September 2009)[1] was a novelist, newspaper columnist, and the writer of many television series.



Keith Waterhouse was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. He did two years of national service in the Royal Air Force.

His credits, many with life-long friend and collaborator Willis Hall, include satires such as That Was The Week That Was, BBC-3 and The Frost Report during the 1960s, the book for the 1975 musical The Card, Budgie, Worzel Gummidge, and Andy Capp (an adaptation of the comic strip).

His 1959 book Billy Liar was subsequently filmed by John Schlesinger with Tom Courtenay in the part of Billy. It was nominated in six categories of the 1964 BAFTA awards, including Best Screenplay, and was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1963; in the early 1970s a sitcom based on the character was quite popular and ran to 25 episodes—a respectable run for a British sitcom, although it has seldom been seen since.

Waterhouse's first screenplay was the film Whistle Down the Wind (1961). Without receiving screen credit, Waterhouse and Hall did extensive rewrites on the original script for Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain (1966). Waterhouse is also the author of the play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (1989; Old Vic premiere, 1999), based on the life of journalist Jeffrey Bernard.

His career began at the Yorkshire Evening Post and he also wrote regularly for Punch, the Daily Mirror, and for the Daily Mail. His extended style book for the Daily Mirror, Waterhouse On Newspaper Style,[2] is regarded as a classic textbook for modern journalism. This was followed by a pocket book on English usage intended for a wider audience entitled English Our English (And How To Sing It).

He fought long crusades to highlight what he perceived to be a decline in the standards of modern English; for example, he founded the Association for the Abolition of the Aberrant Apostrophe, whose members attempt to stem the tide of such solecisms as "pound's of apple's and orange's" in greengrocers' shops.[3]

In February 2004 he was voted Britain's most admired contemporary columnist by the British Journalism Review.

On 4 September 2009, a statement released by his family announced that Waterhouse had died quietly in his sleep at his home in London; he was 80.[1]


  • There Is a Happy Land (1957)
  • Billy Liar (novel) (1959)
  • Jubb (1963)
  • The Bucket Shop (1968)
  • Everything Must Go (1969)
  • Mondays, Thursdays (1976)
  • Office Life (1978)
  • Maggie Muggins (1981)
  • In the Mood (1983)
  • Mrs. Pooter's Diary (1983)
  • Thinks (1984)
  • The Collected Letters of a Nobody (1986)
  • Our Song (play) (1988)
  • Bimbo (1990)
  • Unsweet Charity (1992)
  • Soho (2001)
  • Palace Pier (2003)
  • Billy Liar on the Moon
  • City Lights: A Street Life
  • Good Grief
  • Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell
  • Life After City Lights
  • Streets Ahead
  • The Book of Useless Information
  • The Theory & Practice of Lunch
  • The Theory & Practice of Travel
  • Worzel Gummidge (with Willis Hall)


External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Keith Spencer Waterhouse (1929-02-062009-09-04) was an English novelist, playwright, screenwriter and journalist. His first novel, Billy Liar, has been adapted into a play, a musical, a film, and a television sitcom.


  • Lying in bed, I abandoned the facts again and was back in Ambrosia.
    • Billy Liar (1959), ch. 1
  • "I turn over a new leaf every day," I said. "But the blots show through."
    • Billy Liar, ch. 11
  • The 50s face was angry, the 60s face was well-fed, the 70s face was foxy. Perhaps it was the right expression: there was a lot to be wary about.
  • Should not the Society of Indexers be known as Indexers, Society of, The?
    • Bookends (1990), cited from Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell; Mr. And Mrs. Nobody; and, Bookends (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992) p. 135
  • Life is a campus: in a Greenwich Village bookstore, looking for a New Yorker collection, I asked of an earnest-looking assistant where I might find the humour section. Peering over her granny glasses, she enquired, "Humour studies would that be, sir?"

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Keith Waterhouse at IMDb


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