John Antrobus

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This article is about the author. For the cricketer, see John Antrobus (cricketer).

John Antrobus (born 2 July 1933) is an English playwright[1] and script writer. He has written extensively for stage, screen, TV and radio, including the epic World War II play, Crete and Sergeant Pepper at the Royal Court. He authored the children's book series Ronnie, which includes Help! I am a Prisoner in a Toothpaste Factory[2]

Early life[edit]

John Antrobus was born in Aldershot, Hampshire. His father was a Regimental Sergeant-Major in the Royal Horse Artillery, and the family was stationed at the School of Artillery in Larkhill, on the edge of Salisbury Plain. Antrobus attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to finish his education, but rebelled and dropped out of the Army.[2][3][4]

Career[edit]

After leaving the Army, John Antrobus pursued a future writing comedy, and went to Associated London Scripts (ALS), the writers cooperative set up by Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes.[5] Antrobus states "I met Spike in 1954 or 55. I had sent a sample script to Galton and Simpson and they took me on at Associated London Scripts". Antrobus and Milligan "wrote a couple of Goon Shows together. I wish I had done more of them with him but I wanted to be a playwright. I didn't realise they were golden times and how they gave life".[6] The two shows were The Spon Plague, and The Great Statue Debate, both broadcast in March 1958.[7][8][9][10]

At ALS, Antrobus also worked with Johnny Speight on The Frankie Howerd Show in 1956,[5] After contributing material to the first Carry On movie, Carry On Sergeant (1958), he wrote his first movie screenplay: for Idle on Parade (1959), starring Anthony Newley.[5][11] During 1960 he worked with Milligan and Sykes in the second series of Sykes and A... (August- September 1960).[5] He was also a contributing writer to the television series The Army Game, in the 1958 and 1961 shows, along with Larry Stephens, Maurice Wiltshire, and Lew Schwarz in 1958, and Brad Ashton, Barry Took, Marty Feldman and Wilshire in 1961.[12] During the 1960s and 1970s, he provided scripts for television series as diverse as That Was the Week That Was,[3] Television Playhouse and Spike Milligan's Milligan in...[citation needed] Antrobus wrote for Milligan's last radio series, The Milligan Papers, a BBC Radio Collection released in 2002.[2] Milligan claimed he didn't actually like Antrobus.

Antrobus' plays include The Bed-Sitting Room (1963) (co-written with Milligan)[13] and a sequel from 1983; Cane of Honour (1965), Captain Oates' Left Sock (1969), An Apple A Day (1970) and City Delights (1978). In October 2005 Antrobus and Ray Galton (with whom he had collaborated on the 1986 sitcom Room at the Bottom and Get Well Soon from 1997) unveiled their play Steptoe and Son – Murder at Oil Drum Lane at the Theatre Royal, York. The Bed-Sitting Room was made into a film in 1969. In 2010 John Antrobus and Ray Galton's production of Not Tonight Caligula, originally written for Frankie Howerd, was recorded as a live radio play at The Leicester Square Theatre by The Wireless Theatre Company directed by John Antrobus and starring Clive Greenwood in Frankie Howerd's role. Although largely retired Antrobus still writes and is involved in fringe productions and talent scouting. He lives in Monaco.

John Antrobus married the former Margaret McCormick.[14]

Selected filmography[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Plays by John Antrobus
  2. ^ a b c Antrobus, John (2002). Surviving Spike Milligan: A Voyage Through the Mind & Mirth of the Master Goon. London: Robson Books. ISBN 0-246-12275-7. 
  3. ^ a b McCann, Graham (2006). Spike & Co. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-89809-7. 
  4. ^ Herbert (1981) page 21 also mentions Sandhurst
  5. ^ a b c d McCann (2006) p. 156
  6. ^ Ventham, Maxine (2002). Spike Milligan: His Part In Our Lives. London: Robson. ISBN 1-86105-530-7.  p.68
  7. ^ McCann (2006) pp367-368
  8. ^ Antrobus (2002) pp. 16, 32
  9. ^ The Spon Plague. Goon Show Series 8, No 23. Broadcast 3 March 1958
  10. ^ The Great Statue Debate. Goon Show series 8, No. 26 (broadcast on 24 March 1958
  11. ^ Antrobus (2002) pp.44
  12. ^ McCann (2006) pp. 350, 351. This article previously referred to him contributing to the spin-off show Bootsie and Snudge. However, McCann lists Antrobus amongst the writers for The Army Game, but not Bootsie and Snudge.
  13. ^ Milligan, Spike, & Antrobus, John (1973) The Bedsitting Room. Tandem: London. First published in Great Britain by Margaret & Jack Hobbs, 1970. Published by Universal-Tandem Publishing Co Ltd, 1972. © 1970, Spike Milligan and John Antrobus
  14. ^ Ian Herbert, ed. (1981). "ANTROBUS, John". Who's Who in the Theatre 1. Gale Research Company. p. 21. ISSN 0083-9833. 

Publications[edit]

  • Antrobus, John (1965). You'll Come To Love Your Sperm Test (Playscript) in 'New Writers 4' . London: Calder and Boyars.  First produced Edinburgh, 1964.
  • Antrobus, John (1969). Trixie and Baba (Playscript 22). London: Calder and Boyars. ISBN 978-0-7145-0058-4.  First produced Royal Court Theatre, London, 1968. Televised 1971.
  • Antrobus, John (1970). Why Bournemouth? and Other Plays (Playscripts). London: Calder Publications. ISBN 978-0-7145-0641-8.  First produced, Almost Free, London, 1968
  • Milligan, Spike; Antrobus, John (1973). The Bedsitting Room. London: Tandem.  First published in Great Britain by Margaret & Jack Hobbs, 1970. Published by Universal-Tandem Publishing Co Ltd, 1972. 1970 Spike Milligan and John Antrobus.
  • Antrobus, John (1974). Captain Oates' Left Sock (Playscript). London: Samuel French.  First produced Royal Court Theatre, 1969
  • Antrobus, John (1978). Help! I am a Prisoner in a Toothpaste Factory. London: Robson Books. ISBN 978-0-340-25359-5. 
  • Antrobus, John (1983). Hitler in Liverpool (Playscript). London: Calder and Boyars.  First produced Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, London, 1980
  • Antrobus, John (1983). One Orange for the Baby (Playscript). London: Calder and Boyars.  First produced Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, London, 1980
  • Antrobus, John (1983). Up in the Hide (Playscript). London: Calder and Boyars.  First produced Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, London, 1980
  • Antrobus, John (1988). When Did You Last See Your Trousers? (Playscript). London: Samuel French.  First produced, Mold, Clwyd, 1986.
  • Antrobus, John (1988). The Boy With Illuminated Measles. UK: Knight. ISBN 978-0-340-25360-1. 
  • Antrobus, John (1998). Ronnie and the High Rise. London: Robson. ISBN 978-0-86051-621-7. 
  • Antrobus, John (1999). Ronnie and the Flying Fitted Carpet. London: Robson. ISBN 978-0-86051-822-8. 
  • Antrobus, John (2002). Surviving Spike Milligan: A Voyage Through the Mind & Mirth of the Master Goon. London: Robson Books. ISBN 0-246-12275-7. 

External links[edit]