John Chapman

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BIOGRAPHY FILM RIGHTS LTD in association with LAURENCE FITCH LTD
John Chapman trained initially trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After three years on stage, he decided to turn his skills away from the spoken word and towards the text itself. His first play "Dry Rot" opened at the Whitehall Theatre, London in 1954. It proved to be a resounding success and ran for three and a half years, a total of 1,475 performances. As a result he decided to concentrate on his playwriting. His next play "Simple Spymen" also ran for over three years and was followed by "The Brides of March", Diplomatic Baggage" and "Oh Clarence".

John is well known for his collaborations with Carla Lane on "The Liver Birds" and Ray Cooney in the ever popular comedies, "Move Over Mrs Markham", "My Giddy Aunt", "Not Now Darling" and "There Goes the Bride."

The early sixties witnessed the beginning of a long relationship between Chapman and the BBC. He has written over two hundred TV comedies including "Blandings Castle" for Sir Ralph Richardson , "Happy Ever After" (co-written with Eric Merriman) which starred June Whitfield and Terry Scott, as well as 26 episodes of a highly successful Thames Television series "Fresh Fields", with Julia McKenzie and Anton Rogers, which won the EMMY Award in the US for the most popular comedy.

John Chapman is married to Actress Betty Impey, and they have four sons.

JOHN CHAPMAN
THE BRIDES OF MARCH (F) 6M 8F
DIPLOMATIC BAGGAGE (F) 5M 5F
DRY ROT (F) 6M 4F
SIMPLE SPYMEN (F) 11M 1F
NIL BY MOUTH (C) 6M 7F
BEST BEFORE (BC) 5M 4F
THE BALCONY SCENE
KINDLY LEAVE THE STAGE (C) 3M 5F

JOHN CHAPMAN
(Adapted from Blandings Castle (C) 8M 6F and other Lord Emsworth stories by PG Wodehouse)
OH, CLARENCE (C) 8M 3F

JOHN CHAPMAN AND RAY COONEY
THERE GOES THE BRIDE (F) 4M 4F
NOT NOW DARLING (F) 5M 6F
MOVE OVER MRS MARKHAM (F) 4M 5F
MY GIDDY AUNT (Comedy/Thriller) 5M 3F

JOHN CHAPMAN AND IAN DAVIDSON
LATE FLOWERING (C) 4F 1M 

JOHN CHAPMAN AND DAVE FREEMAN
KEY FOR TWO (C) 3M 4F


JOHN CHAPMAN AND JEREMY LLOYD
KEEPING DOWN WITH THE JONESES 5M 4F
LOVE ON ALL FLOORS
CROOKS TOUR
KEPT
BUSINESS AFFAIRS
WIMBLEDON

JOHN CHAPMAN & ANTHONY MARRIOTT
ANYTHING YOU SAY
SHUT YOUR EYES AND THINK OF ENGLAND (C) 6M 3F

 

JOHN CHAPMAN AND MICHAEL PERTWEE
HOLIDAY SNAP
LOOK NO HANS

JOHN CHAPMAN AND PETER VINCENT
IT TAKES AN ANGEL

Play Synopses

SIMPLE SPYMEN by John Chapman

Farce llM lF

Two street musicians are dragged into the War Office for causing a disturbance of the peace in Whitehall. Unwittingly they utter a phrase which is the secret password for the day, and are mistaken for M15 agents in disguise. They are immediately signed up for a hazardous mission to intercept an atomic scientist when he arrives in Dover. Thereafter, they make endless attempts as different characters to gain access to the scientist's hotel and secure the formula for the British Government. They display courage, ingenuity, and more than lint of lunacy.

NIL BY MOUTH by John Chapman

Farce 7M 6F.

The North London hospital of St. Christopher's is normally run on well oiled wheels, but this particular weekend due to understaffing and a minor mistake a remarkable chain of events is set in motion. Trolleys are going through the ward like buses. Everyone finally gets treated - but not for what they came in for. A Government Inspector arrives at the height of the confusion to check on the hospital's viability. An extra pair of hands is just what's needed and he soon finds he's having better success with the patients than the staff are. He rounds off his visit with a resuscitation and a resurrection.

THE BRIDES OF MARCH by John Chapman

Farce 6M 8F l set.

A young member of the Foreign Office living in Finchley is bequeathed five beautiful women by a sheik who life he once saved. They are 'delivered' when his wife happens to be away, but when she returns, the sparks begin to fly. A hilarious and inventive farce from the author of DRY ROT

DIPLOMATIC BAGGAGE by John Chapman

Farce 5M 5F 2 sets.

One of JOHN CHAPMAN'S most enjoyable farces in which he weaves a hilarious plot around BARRY LAYTON who, due to the indisposition of his senior, has to step into his shoes at a minute's notice and deal with the signing of an Anglo-French treaty. This involves a trip to Paris and as well as having to cope with the French minister, he finds he has a bevy of beautiful secretaries and chambermaids on his hands. The arrival of his wife and uncle, an aged rogue, do nothing to ease the situation and the fun runs fast and furious from beginning to end.

DRY ROT by John Chapman

Farce 6M 4F l set.

One of the most successful farces that has appeared in London. It deals with a crazy but very likeable gang of bookies who, in order to be near the racecourse, are staying at a country hotel run by a retired colonel and his wife and daughter. Secret rooms, sliding panels, mistaken identity and a nice little bit of romance are some of the main ingredients of this very racy and slick farce, which never lets up for a moment and provides some of the best possible entertainment around.

KEY FOR TWO by John Chapman and Dave Freeman

Comedy 3M 4F

In this wickedly amusing play, by two master craftsmen of comedy, Harriet, a divorcee living in an elegant flat in Brighton, solves her financial problems by entertaining two married gentlemen callers on different days of the week. The scheme faces collapse when her friend Anne, whose marriage is tottering, arrives at the flat hotly pursued by her husband. One of Harriet’s lovers is confined to her bed with a sprained ankle and the second lover turns up unexpectedly, closely followed by two irate wives in search of their itinerant husbands. The indescribable confusion that ensues builds to a rich complexity of mistaken identity, splendidly farcical situations and a climax of comic wizardry.

KEEPING DOWN WITH THE JONESES by John Chapman and Jeremy Lloyd

Comedy. M5 F4 An underground atomic shelter.

DEIDRE JONES: sensible, smartly dressed: 30. JOE: good-looking; young. GEOFFREY: earnest, over-efficient: 30s. GRINDLE: beautiful, Scandinavian au pair; young. MRS WAYNEFLETE: autocratic; elderly. CLIVE PATEL: an Indian milkman. RAYMOND BLAKE: flashy; 30s. SONIA BLAKE: glamorous; 20s. P.C. BOBBY SMITH

M.P. and architect, GEOFFREY JONES, is convinced that the Russians are about to launch a nuclear strike. So, in the back garden of his Northolt home, he builds a shelter equipped with everything he, and his wife and his eccentric mother-in-law will need. They plan to try the shelter out for a three week experiment when, inadvertently, they are trapped inside with their family, the telephone engineer and the milkman. Trying to make the best of the situation they are surprised by the arrival, through the side hatch, of their next door neighbours who, ever striving to keep up with the Joneses have now kept down with them by building their own shelter next door. By a strange coincidence the neighbours are also trapped but neither neighbour wants to admit to the other that they are stuck. Hilarious complications ensue until everyone is finally rescued.

BUSINESS AFFAIRS by John Chapman and Jeremy Lloyd

Two northern businessmen book a London hotel suite, hoping to sell their trucking firm to foreign buyers for two million pounds. To help the deal along they book two ladies of the night to keep the buyers happy. When their wives pop in to wish them luck, they find out about the girls and are outraged – even more so when the foreign visitors mistake them for call girls, but, with so much at stake, they play along to help secure the deal without giving away their true identity – or anything else!

DEADLIER THAN THE MALE by John Chapman and Jeremy Lloyd

Three elegant ladies of a certain age meet each year for a reunion in Paris. They are rich enough to afford gentlemen companions, slightly younger than themselves, who are charming and expensively tailored as one would expect kept men to be. Things suddenly start to fall apart when one of the men finds to his horror that he is to be pensioned off with a gold cigarette case after years of devoted service. This imminent change of fortune causes sides to be taken and cracks appear in the veneer of this witty, sophisticated group. Can a lady like Madelaine survive without having a man dangling from her purse strings, and will this be the last reunion?

LOOK NO HANS by John Chapman and Michael Pertwee

Comedy. M2 lM voice only, lM optional F4. An office/living room.

FISHER: pleasant, willing, cheerful, not too bright: 30-40. KURT: voice only, strong German accent. HEIDI: attractive, glamorous, German; 20s. MONICA: well brought-up, sometimes naive, sometimes over-effusive, "a good sort"; 30s. CADWALLADER: military bearing, every inch an English gentleman; middle-aged. MITZI: gorgeous, Juno-esque, not too bright; 20s. TREGUNTER-JONES: a tweedy lady of uncertain age; unquestionably British to the core. FOOT: (optional character), his legs make a brief appearance at the end.

LOOK NO HANS! is a fast-paced, fun-filled farce by those two masters of the genre, JOHN CHAPMAN and MICHAEL PERTWEE. The play enjoyed a successful run at London's Strand Theatre, starring DAVID JASON as the hapless FISHER, Manager of the West Berlin office of a British car company. With his wife MONICA due to fly home to England for a short break, FISHER is planning to spend his birthday quietly, but when MONICA'S plan is delayed, she returns home, followed in rapid succession by HEIDI, FISHER'S mistress; MITZI, a voluptuous singing telegram girl; CADWALLADER from British Security of Industry, who is awaiting the arrival from the East of Hans, a top industrial spy; and TREGUNTER-JONES, a rather butch rep. from Midland Motors. Amid a great many comings and goings and considerable confusion, the elusive HANS does finally make a brief, if somewhat unusual appearance, dangling from a helicopter!

HOLIDAY SNAP by Michael Pertwee and John Chapman

Comedy M4 F3 l extra F. The living room of a villa.

COMMANDER CHITTENDEN: good-hearted, none-too-bright; 50s. LESLIE: nervous; 30s. EVE: pretty, self-assured: 20s. HENRY: pompous, upper-crust: 40s. MARY: good-looking; 30s. CELIA: elegant; 70s. PERKY (SIR PIERS): roving eye; 40s. KIT: Henry's wife.

This tale of comic predicament and mistaken identity unfolds with real wit and style. A Portuguese time-share villa has been double-booked, unknown to the company Rep, the myopic tippler COMMANDER "CHITTO" CHITTENDEN. When MARY and HENRY arrive shortly after EVE and LESLIE, CHITTO manages to remain unaware that there is more than one couple on the scene. The confusion is compounded when each couple mistakes the other for the servants. HENRY seems to have the upper hand as he discovers that EVE is married, but not to LESLIE, when his mother-in-law arrives and he has to bribe the other couple to impersonate his alibi, SIR PIERS and LADY MARCHBANKS. HENRY'S girlfriend, has to play the servant, much to her annoyance but it looks as though things might work out until the real SIR PIERS arrives, followed by HENRY'S wife. However, the final, hilarious disguises donned by MARY, PERK,EVE and LESLIE might just save the day!

MY GIDDY AUNT  by Ray Cooney and John Chapman

Comedy Thriller. 5M 3F. l set.

Set in LADY EPPINGHAM'S house in India, this play has all the superb comedy that one would expect from the masters of farce, plus a good measure of thrills. The eccentric but aristocratic LADY EPPINGHAM lives in a world of fantasy and past glory of the Empire, while the running of her tea estate is left in the hands of her unscrupulous nephews. But when BEATRICE HORROCKS, LADY EPPINGHAM'S half-sister of decidedly lowly birth arrives to claim her right to manage the estate, the situation changes and in a series of hilariously funny scenes, she slowly but surely sorts everything out and unmasks the schemes of her nephews.

MOVE OVER MRS MARKHAM by Ray Cooney and John Chapman

Farce. M4 F5 l set.

PHILIP MARKHAM, a publisher of children's books, is asked by his business partner, HENRY LODGE, if he can borrow the flat for the evening to gallivant with his latest girlfriend. As PHILIP and his wife will be out, he reluctantly agrees. At the same time, JOANNA MARKHAM is being persuaded by LINDA LODGE, to let her borrow the empty flat in order to entertain her lover. With some misgivings, JOANNA agrees. What nobody knows is that the interior designer who has been decorating the flat for the past three months has decided that this is the night that he and the au pair girl will try out the new oval bed. When the MARKHAM'S evening out is cancelled, it is too late to let any of the parties know and three sets of hopeful lovers all converge on the bedroom at the same time. The situation is further complicated by the arrival of OLIVE HARRIET SMYTHE, a straightlaced authoress of children's books. The frantic efforts of the MARKHAMS to hide the amorous goings-on and, at the same time sign up MISS SMYTHE, lead to a hectic and hilarious evening.

NOT NOW DARLING by Ray Cooney and John Chapman

Farce 5M 6F l set.

The tremendously successful West End hit set in the elegant fur salon BODLEY, BODLEY & CROUCH. GILBERT BODLEY, a flamboyant extrovert, is scheming to seduce a beautiful stripper, JANIE, with the aid of a 5,000 mink. Unfortunately, she is married and her husband HARRY, would notice such an acquisition. So GILBERT reduces the mink to 500 and JANIE tries to get HARRY to buy the coat for her, GILBERT paying the difference. HARRY realises a bargain when he sees one and buys it instead for his own curvaceous little secretary, SUE. GILBERT is quite demented by this turn of events and both he and his dithering assistant, ARNOLD CROUCH, are further embarrassed when JANIE strips and refuses to leave the salon without the mink. Their frenzied attempts to retrieve the coat from and hide the naked JANIE are further complicated by the unexpected arrival of GILBERT'S wife, MAUD. Meanwhile, ARNOLD'S method of hiding any discarded ladies underwear is to throw them out of the window and it is left to MISS TIPDALE, the firm's spinster secretary, to retrieve the garments and the situation whenever necessary. The hilarious permutations reach a point of hysteria before everyone gets their just deserts.

THERE GOES THE BRIDE by Ray Cooney and John Chapman

Farce 4M 4F l set.

Getting a bride ready is always a trying time but when the bride's mother is 'helped' by interfering relatives, and the bride's father is in the process of falling in love with a seductive girl that only he can see, and more ........you can guarantee that

COONEY and CHAPMAN make sure that a good time is had by all. 'This farce has pace, precision and wit.....gets madder and funnier as it goes along." Daily Mirror.

OH CLARENCE by John Chapman, adapted from BLANDINGS CASTLE and other Lord Emsworth stories by P.G. WODEHOUSE

Comedy 8M 3F l set

A hilarious comedy based on one of P.G. WODEHOUSE'S most famous characters, Lord Emsworth, the dreamy peer of Blandings Castle. The delightful earl, as vague as ever, wants nothing more than to be allowed to potter around Blandings, tending his roses and prize pig, the Empress. But his sister Lady Constance, has other ideas and arranges a house party into which bursts Dame Daphne Winkworth, whom the Earl is urged, much against his will, to marry. He is further plagued by his vacuous son Freddie Threepwood, Rupert Bingham, a clumsy love-lorn curate and his arch enemy Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe from whom Lord Emsworth unwittingly steals a pricelesss Egyptian scarab.

SHUT YOUR EYES AND THINK OF ENGLAND by John Chapman and Anthony Marriott

Comedy M6 F3. A Penthouse Apartment.

SIR JUSTIN HOLBROOK: well-preserved, good looking; early 50s. STELLA RICHARDS: elegant, sexy, young.ARTHUR PULLEN: punctilious; late 40s. LADY VALERIE HOLBROOK: smart, sophisticated; early middle age. SIR FREDERICK GOUDHURST: imposing; 50s. SHEIK MARAMI: flamboyant, masterful, tall; 40s. MRS PULLEN: plump, pretty; about 40. MR RUBENSTEIN: a smartly-dressed lawyer; middle-aged. DR. CORNISH: good-looking; early middle age.

When MR PULLEN comes to the office on a Saturday to finish the books for audit he is astonished to find his employer, SIR JUSTIN HOLBROOK, in the penthouse flat with a call-girl. LADY HOLBROOK arrives unexpectedly, and HOLBROOK passes the girl off as "the second MRS PULLEN". A rich Arab sheik is expected, and the entire fate of England depends on HOLBROOK signing a certain agreement with him: HOLBROOK, however, suddenly collapses and PULLEN has to impersonate him. The arrival of the real MRS PULLEN and others leads to an impenetrable maze of confused identities, resulting eventually in MRS PULLEN going off with the sheik, and PULLEN installed -presumably permanently - as SIR JUSTIN, with all that entails, including his highly attractive lady.

THE LIVER BIRDS by Carla Lane and John Chapman

Comedy 5M 4F l set

When two girls with romantic ideas share a flat, their best friends are certainly not their mothers! This is especially true when one is a very religious minded person and hails from the Emerald Isle and the other is a social climber with a husband problem of her own. Add to this a regular boyfriend plus a handsome young curate and a much put-upon caretaker of the block of flats, and you have a really strong comedy which could take place in any part of England.

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