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Playwright Peter Nichols dies aged 92

Published 9 September 2019

Britain’s foremost playwrights, Peter Nichols has passed away.

Peter, 92, died peacefully on Saturday morning in Oxford. His wife Thelma was at his bedside. The family would like to thank those who have sent messages for their kindness.

Peter Nichols was born in Bristol in 1927 and educated at Bristol Grammar School and Old Vic Theatre School. After National Service in India, Malaya and Hong Kong, he was an actor in repertory theatre and television for five years and then a teacher in London schools. His many original scripts and adaptations have appeared on television, film and radio.

His plays for theatre included: A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg, The National Health, Forget-Me-Not Lane, The Freeway, Privates On Parade, Born In The Gardens, Passion Play and Blue Murder.

He’s won four Evening Standard Awards, a Society of West End Theatres Award for Best Comedy and Best Musical and two Ivor Novello Best Musical Awards. The 1985 Broadway revival of A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg received a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. The show is about to be revived in a production opening at Trafalgar Studios on 21 September.

His original plays for television include an Inspector Morse, The Gorge and Hearts And Flowers.  Small and big-screen versions of some of his stage plays, adapted by Peter , include A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg, The National Health and Privates On Parade.

Feeing You’re Behind (a memoir published by Weidenfeld) appeared in 1984 and in 2000 Peter edited a selection from the diary he’s kept on-and-off  since he first left England aged eighteen (published by Nick Hern Books).

Peter’s ‘papers’ from 1945 to 2000 are now held in the British Library, He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a recipient of the 1967 John Whiting Award. Peter was awarded a CBE for services to drama in 2018. He and his wife, Thelma to whom he was married since 1960  lived in Oxford, previously in Devon, Bristol, Shropshire and (mostly) London. They have three surviving children and seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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