The semi-comical story is about Billy Fisher, a working-class 19-year-old living with his parents in the fictional town of Stradhoughton in Yorkshire. Bored by his job as a lowly clerk for an undertaker, Billy spends his time indulging in Walter Mitty-like fantasies and dreams of life in the big city as a comedy writer. However, with three girlfriends on the go, his tendency to overimagination comes at a cost.
In 1960, the novel's author,journalist Waterhouse, co-wrote a three-act stage version with Willis Hall. The action took place on a single set combining the living room, hallway and porch of the Fisher household. The first production opened in the West End of London with Albert Finney in the title role, and more recently by Nicholas D. Cooper. It has since been produced all over the world, and has become a favourite with amateur groups.
The play is set in one Saturday: Act 1 in the morning, Act 2 in the early evening and Act 3 at night.