BORN in Armley in 1934, author and dramatist Alan Bennett is one of a select band of people who enjoy genuine national treasure status.
He attended Leeds Modern School and won a scholarship to Oxford before shooting to fame in 1960 when he worked with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller on Beyond The Fringe, a comedy revue which is credited with revolutionising British satire. His writing CV includes A Private Function, An Englishman Abroad, A Question of Attribution, Me – I’m Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Talking Heads. His screenplay for The Madness of King George was nominated for an Oscar.
Awarded the freedom of Leeds in 2006, he said: “I am moved and humbled and touched by this honour, but I think I was given the freedom of the city more than 50 years ago. I was given a free education that set me up for life.”
Asked in the same year what it was like to be regarded as a living legend, he showed typical modesty by replying: “I’m not too sure about the legend part. I’m happy just to be living.”