Buckeridge, Anthony (Malcolm) 1912-2004
BUCKERIDGE, Anthony (Malcolm) 1912-2004
See index for CA sketch: Born June 20, 1912, in London, England; died June 28, 2004, in Barcombe, East Sussex, England. Schoolmaster and author. Buckeridge gained an international audience with his series of humorous children's books about J. C. T. Jennings and his life in an English boarding school. Not the best of students, the author's childhood was clouded by the death of his father during World War I when Buckeridge was only five. Afterwards, he was sent to the Seaford College boarding school, an experience he did not enjoy for many reasons, including the lack of an education in the arts, especially the theater that he loved so well. Finishing school, in 1930 he found a job at the bank where his father once worked, but soon discovered a dislike for such employment. Buckeridge attended University College London from 1933 to 1935, but because his Latin was weak he did not complete a degree. Still, he managed to gain a position working at a prep school in 1936. With the onset of World War II, Buckeridge joined the Auxiliary Fire Service. The Fire Service, as it turned out, had a drama society that he joined and for which he wrote a play. It was never produced, however, because actors were scarce at the time. With the war over, he returned to his job as a schoolmaster, and for the next five years was senior master of St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate. During the late 1940s, he began writing plays for the British Broadcasting Corp. based on the exploits of a boy named Jennings about whom Buckeridge had heard from a former master at Seaford. The plays proved extremely popular, and Buckeridge eventually wrote over sixty plays from 1948 to 1974. This success allowed him to become a full-time writer in 1950, and beginning with Jennings Goes to School he published some two dozen stories about the eleven year old's comical exploits. Most of these works were published in the 1950s and 1960s, with a few releases in the 1970s, and the last, That's Jennings!, published in 1994. Several of the books were adapted as movies, a television series aired on the BBC in 1958 and again in 1966, and the books proved popular worldwide, finding audiences in England, Norway, China, and elsewhere. Buckeridge also wrote several plays, some of which were about Jennings, but others, such as The Cardboard Conspiracy (1985) and Scaling the Cock (1986), were stand-alone works. Always a fan of the stage, the author indulged his love of acting by taking on small roles at the theater in Glyndebourne. Also the author of the "Rex Milligan" series, Buckeridge was named to the Order of the British Empire in 2003 for his enduring literary contributions.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Daily Telegraph (London, England), June 29, 2004, p. 1.
Financial Times, June 29, 2004, p. 4.
Guardian (London, England), June 29, 2004, p. 23.
Independent (London, England), June 29, 2004, p. 34.
Times (London, England), June 29, 2004, p. 26.