Craig Brown (satirist)
Life and career
Born in Wokingham, 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 is probably 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, Jackie Collins, Bill Clinton, Martin Amis, Harold Pinter (numerous times) and the publicist Max Clifford. 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 typical Eye Diary mocks 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? Why, indeed?"
Brown also writes comedy shows such as Norman Ormal for TV (in which he appeared as a returning officer), 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 BBC2'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 comic 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.
- 1984 - The Marsh-Marlowe Letters: The Correspondence of Gerald Marsh and Sir Harvey Marlowe: Volume One, 1983, "edited" by Craig Brown (Heinemann, ISBN 0-434-08885-4)
- 1993 - Craig Brown's Greatest Hits (Century, ISBN 0-7126-5783-5)
- 1994 - The Hounding of John Thomas, a sequel to Lady Chatterley's Lover (Century, ISBN 0-7126-5778-9)
- 1998 - Hug Me While I Weep for I Weep for the World, by "Bel Littlejohn" (Little, Brown, ISBN 0-316-64716-0)
- 1998 - The Little Book of Chaos (Time Warner, ISBN 0-7515-2657-6)
- 1999 - The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery by Kyril Bonfiglioli, completed by Craig Brown (Black Spring Press, ISBN 0-948238-24-0)
- 2003 - This Is Craig Brown (Ebury Press, ISBN 0-09-188807-7)
- 2004 - Craig Brown's 'Imaginary Friends': The Collected Parodies 2000-2004 (Private Eye, ISBN 1-901784-37-1)
- 2005 - 1966 and All That (Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-89711-2)
- 2006 - The Tony Years (Ebury Press, ISBN 0-09-190969-4, paperback ISBN 978-0-09-190970-3)
- 2010 - The Lost Diaries (Fourth Estate, ISBN 978-0-00-736060-4)
- Wokingham, me and a big day out with Spock http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2211381/Wokingham-big-day-Spock.html
- Craig Brown (II)
- Florence and the Machine interview: sound and vision The Telegraph 4 June, 2009