Geoffrey Willans created Nigel Molesworth, a pupil at the prep school St Custard's, in an occasional series which was based on his experiences as a teacher and published in Punch during the 1940s. In 1951 (by then Willans was working as a journalist) he approached Ronald Searle, creator of the St Trinian's parodies, and asked him to collaborate on a book. This was published as Down with Skool! in 1953, followed by How to be Topp in 1954 and Whizz for Atoms in 1956 (Max Parrish, London). Willans died of a heart attack at the age of 47 in August 1958, but after his death The Compleet Molesworth (an anthology) and a new collection (Back in the Jug Agane) were published. As with many of the expressions created by Willans, "new bug" (from "How to Succeed as a New Bug", in How to be Topp, p12) was quickly absorbed into juvenile language of the time, and Sue Townsend's 1980s Adrian Mole books obviously owe more than a little to Molesworth.

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