DIARY: Old-school copywriter heads off to dreaming spires for inspiration

Imagine David Abbott being sent back to school to bone up on his communication skills or John Webster returning to art school to get a few tips on making a good TV commercial.

Sounds about as daft as Tony Brignull, widely regarded as one of the greatest copywriters of his generation, going off to read for an English degree.

Astonishingly, this last story happens to be true. At the age of 64, the man who commanded the creative department at Collett Dickenson Pearce through some of its halcyon years will soon be taking briefs from the demanding tutors of St Edmund Hall, Oxford.

Brignull's cultured wit belies the fact that he left school at 16 with just five O-levels and a regret at having missed out on academia.

He'll be a bit long in the tooth for Oxford, where the maximum age for mature students is about 45, after which dementia beckons. "They know I'll work hard - but they wonder if I will remember anything, he jokes.


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