John Chapman (English writer)
Initially a stage manager and understudy at the Whitehall Theatre for the first two years of Reluctant Heroes, the first Whitehall farce, he subsequently spent a few years in weekly rep before returning to Brian Rix's company with his first play. Dry Rot (1954), which is about dishonest bookmakers, had a four-year run with 1,475 performances. Ray Cooney joined the cast in 1956 and first met the author at this time. Chapman followed Dry Rot with Simple Spymen (1958), which was staged 1,404 times over a three-year run.
Before the production of Simple Spymen closed, Chapman and Cooney had begun their collaboration. Together they wrote Not Now, Darling (1967, which Chapman adapted for the film version), Move Over Mrs. Markham (1968), My Giddy Aunt (1968) and There Goes the Bride (1973). Meanwhile, he also wrote extensively for television including episodes of the sitcoms Hugh and I (1962-5) and Happy Ever After (1974-77), both of which were BBC vehicles for Terry Scott. Fresh Fields (1984–86), for Thames Television, featured Anton Rodgers and Julia McKenzie in the leads.
Chapman was married to actress Betty Impey, from Whitehall and they had four children, Mark, Adam, Justin and Guy (who died when he was young). Chapman died in Périgueux, France on 3 September 2001, aged 74.
- Dry Rot, directed by Maurice Elvey (1956, based on the play Dry Rot)
- Not Now, Darling, directed by Ray Cooney and David Croft (1973, based on the play Not Now, Darling)
- There Goes the Bride, directed by Terry Marcel (1980, based on the play There Goes the Bride)
- Sé infiel y no mires con quién, directed by Fernando Trueba (Spain, 1985, based on the play Move Over Mrs. Markham)