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Philip Percy Cooper Drabble OBE (13 May 191429 July 2007) was an Englishmarker countryman, author and television presenter. Raised in the Black Countrymarker, he later lived in – and wrote mostly about – the countryside of north Worcestershire and at Abbots Bromleymarker in south Staffordshire, where he created a nature reserve.


Early life

Drabble was an only child, whose mother died when he was young. His father was a GP and they lived in a terraced house in Bloxwichmarker. He began work as a factory lad and rose to the board of Salters and membership of the management board of the Midland Engineering Employers Association.

In 1947, he made his first radio broadcast, and in 1952 his first television appearance. At the age of 47 he became a full-time writer, and he and his wife Jess purchased a derelict folly-styled cottage and 90 acres (360,000 m²) of neglected ancient woodland in Abbots Bromleymarker, Staffordshire, a remnant of the Forest of Needwood.

One Man and His Dog and later life

Pub sign

Drabble was best known as presenter of the long-running TV series One Man and His Dog, in which he commentated on sheepdog trials for 17 years from 1976 to 1993. At its peak the BBC programme attracted more than 8 million viewers and even the Queen was a fan, asking Drabble for advice after her liberty budgies were attacked by hawks at Windsor. Declared Midlander of the Year in 1992, and made OBE in the year he retired from the programme, he announced in 1993 that it had become "a bit boring watching dogs chase stroppy sheep round a field."

A pub very near Drabble's former home in Bloxwich is named "One Man and His Dog" in his honour.

Later life

Drabble, who also wrote a newspaper column for the Express & Star, took few holidays, travelled abroad only a couple of times, and was proud to have never lived more than 20 miles from his place of birth.

He and his wife turned the woodland they had bought and lived next to into the Goat Lodge Reserve. After a fight with Center Parcs who wanted to build a centre just outside its borders, it became a recognised Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Predeceased eighteen months earlier by his wife, Drabble died at his home in Abbots Bromley on July 29, 2007. Having never had any children, he left the majority of his £1,013,523 estate to his PA of 25 years, Ruth Froggatt.


  • Staffordshire (1948) ISBN 7270004072
  • The Black Country (1952) ISBN 7240012352
  • A Weasel in My Meatsafe (1957) ISBN 0718116356
  • The Penguin Book of Pets (1964)
  • Badgers at My Window, Pelham Books, (1969) ISBN 0720702992
  • My Beloved Wilderness, Pelham Books, (1971) ISBN 0720705193
  • Phil Drabble's Country Scene, Pelham Books, (1974) ISBN 072070779X
  • Design for a Wilderness (1973) ISBN 0720707064
  • Pleasing Pets (1975) ISBN 0860020509
  • Book of Pets (1976)
  • Country Seasons (with a foreword by Johnny Morris) Michael Joseph (1976) ISBN 0718115481
  • One Man and His Dog Michael Joseph (1978) ISBN 0718116682
  • Of Pedigree Unknown: Sporting & Working Dogs (1976) ISBN 0718114477
  • No Badgers in My Wood Michael Joseph (1979) ISBN 0718118537
  • Country Wise (1980) ISBN 0718119525
  • In the Country (The book of the BBC TV series presented by Angela Rippon) by Angela Rippon, Phil Drabble, Bernard Price, and Ted Moult (1980)
  • Four Seasons: The Life of the English Countryside, by Sheila Mannes-Abbott and Phil Drabble (1981)
  • It's a Dog's Life, Michael Joseph (1983) ISBN 0-7181-2232-1
  • Country Moods, (A selection of his columns for The Birmingham Evening Mail) Michael Joseph (1985) ISBN 0718125908
  • What Price the Countryside?, Michael Joseph (1985) ISBN 071812345X
  • My Wilderness in Bloom, Michael Joseph (1986) ISBN 0718126912
  • Sport and the English Countryside: The World of John Moore, by Phil Drabble, John Moore, and Daphne Moore (1987)
  • A Voice in the Wilderness, Pelham Books, (1991) - Autobiography. ISBN 0720719089
  • One Man and His Dog (vol.2, 1989)
  • Walking - Britain's Most Beautiful Nature Trails (Activity Guides) (1992)
  • My Wilderness Reprieved (1993)


  1. It's a Dog's Life
  2. Drabble, Phil - One Man and his Conservation Area - 1992,

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