Fast Show scripts to join work by J.D. Salinger and Malcolm Bradbury in UEA archive

Charlie Higson back at UEA, where he started as a student in 1977. Photo: Bill Smith

Charlie Higson back at UEA, where he started as a student in 1977. Photo: Bill Smith

The University of East Anglia has announced that award-winning comedy writer Charlie Higson will be handing over his Fast Show manuscripts into their care.

The University of East Anglia (UEA), is set to take on ownership of one of Britain's most-loved sketch shows after a donation from one of its creators.

Charlie Higson, co-creator of the Fast Show, has agreed to donate his various scripts and memorabilia to the University's British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW).

Higson attended UEA from 1977, studying English and Film Studies, and it was there he met his comedy partner Paul Whitehouse.

The duo went on to write the rapid-fire show, which was watched by millions.


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Speaking of his decision to donate his work, Higson said: 'The more I spoke to UEA, the more I realised that there actually might be some worth in my old papers.

'People wouldn't necessarily want to study this material because they were obsessed with my obvious genius, but because I had lived and worked through 'interesting times'.'

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He added: 'So, perhaps my work throws at least a dim light onto the cultural life of the UK over the last three decades.

'It's not about blowing my own trumpet (which I did do a bit of when I was in my band, actually). It's about the academic interest of what I've accumulated.'

The 58-year-old's collection, which features unpublished sketches and projects, will be catalogued over the coming year by the university, whose storehouse initiative offers authors the opportunity to loan their literary material in order to raise author profiles and also provide resources for the research community.

Dr Brett Mills, senior lecturer in UEA's School of Art, Media and American Studies, said: 'The archive gives us invaluable insights into the work of a key player in British popular culture over the last 30 years.

'As a scholar of comedy I'm particularly interested in the scripts and other production material for The Fast Show, which help demonstrate the particular complexities of making a sketch show, which relies on multiple characters, short narratives, and a highly organised production process juggling all the elements.'

He added: 'Higson's archive is also interesting because of the multiple roles he has undertaken within the comedy programming he has been involved in; it's rare to come across someone who's a writer, performer and producer. The archive helps us explore the differences and similarities between these roles.'

Other additions to the archive include personal work by the Nobel Laureate, Doris Lessing, as well as literary material by The Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger.

• Charlie Higson on Bond will be taking place at the Thomas Paine Study Centre, UEA on Friday, September 16 at 6pm. Tickets cost £8.

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