A British playwright and director, born in Yorkshire in 1934. His best-known plays include A Question of Attribution (1988) about the traitor and art historian Anthony Blunt; The Madness of George III (1991); and The Lady in the Van, starring Dame Maggie Smith, based on a real person who camped for years in Bennett's garden.

He came to attention in the 1960 satirical show Beyond the Fringe, in which he also acted, together with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, and Jonathan Miller.

His television scripts include the series Talking Heads, monologues by interesting characters. He is noted for his close, whimsical observation of everyday life.

Other plays include the comedy Forty Years On (1968); Getting On (1971); Habeas Corpus (1973); The Old Country (1977), which is about a British spy in the Soviet Union; An Englishman Abroad (1983) about the spy Guy Burgess; and Kafka's Dick (1998).

There is a portrait of him by Tom Wood in the National Portrait Gallery, London.