Craig Brown (satirist)

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Craig Edward Moncrieff Brown (born 23 May 1957) is an English critic and satirist, best known for his parodies in Private Eye.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Wokingham,[1] Berkshire, Brown was educated at Eton and Bristol University and then became a freelance journalist in London, contributing to The Tatler, The Spectator, The Times Literary Supplement, Literary Review, the Evening Standard (as a regular columnist), The Times (notably as parliamentary sketchwriter; these columns were compiled into a book called A Life Inside) and The Sunday Times (as TV and restaurant critic). He later continued his restaurant column in The Sunday Telegraph and has contributed a weekly book review to The Mail on Sunday.

He created the characters of 'Bel Littlejohn', an ultra-trendy New Labour type, in The Guardian, and 'Wallace Arnold', an extremely reactionary conservative, in The Independent on Sunday. In 2001, he took over Auberon Waugh's "Way of the World" in The Daily Telegraph following Waugh's death. He lost that column in December 2008. However, he may be best known for his Diary in the fortnightly satirical magazine Private Eye, in which he adopts the persona of a celebrity or other public figure. His targets have included the Queen, Bill Clinton, Jeffrey Archer and Martin Amis. Some individuals, such as Harold Pinter and Tony Benn he returned to on several occasions. A typical reference, characteristically combining viciousness and honesty, came in the purported entry for Mary Archer, married to convicted perjurer Jeffrey Archer: "I am the chairman of the Ethics Committee at Addenbrookes Hospital, and well used to coming down hard on those who lie incompetently." Another Eye Diary mocked Martin Amis's pretensions: "Why, pray, is it necessary to point out at this post-millennial juncture that Iosef Stalin is no mate of this 52-year-old novelist?"

Brown also writes comedy shows such as Norman Ormal for TV (in which he appeared as a returning officer)[2] and his radio show This Is Craig Brown was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2004. It featured comics Rory Bremner and Harry Enfield and other media personalities. He has appeared on television as a critic on BBC Two's Late Review as well as in documentaries such a Russell Davies's life of Ronald Searle.

His book 1966 and All That takes its title, and some other elements, from 1066 and All That, extending its history of Britain through to the beginning of the 21st century. A BBC Radio 4 adaptation followed in September 2006, in similar vein to This Is Craig Brown. The Tony Years is a comic overview of the years of Tony Blair's government, published in paperback by Ebury Press in June 2007.

Brown's wife's niece is Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine.[3] Brown also has a column in the Daily Mail.

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