If you know Lennon, you’re going to know McCartney, and if you don’t know Morecambe, it’s pretty much a given you won’t know Wise. There are precious few joint operations where, despite equal status on the playbill, one partner is a household name and the other an obscurity, especially when the work itself remains vital.
Willans falls into that category. The name alone draws a blank even from people who know and love his work. Understandable, if tragic.
For one thing, he died relatively young. For another, his partner was then young Ronald Searle; Searle who illustrated Willan’s greatest creation, Nigel Molesworth, the Curse of St. Custards. Continue reading