Belfast Telegraph

Playwright Peter Nichols dies aged 92

A production of A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg is opening in London next week.

Playwright Peter Nichols has died (John Stillwell/PA)
Playwright Peter Nichols has died (John Stillwell/PA)

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Celebrated playwright Peter Nichols has died at the age of 92, his agent has said.

Nichols was best known for plays like A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg and Privates On Parade.

His agent, Alan Brodie, issued a statement on behalf of the writer’s family, saying: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of one of Britain’s foremost playwrights, Peter Nichols.

“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.”

A production of A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg is about to open in London starring Toby Stephens, Patricia Hodge and Claire Skinner.

The play centres around a couple who are struggling to save their marriage while trying to raise their young child (nicknamed Joe Egg) who has cerebral palsy.

It was inspired by Nichols’ own experience of bringing up his disabled daughter.

Bristol-born Nichols’ scripts and adaptations have also appeared on TV, film and radio.

Peter was the true master of wit and pathos Sir Howard Panter

His other plays include The National Health, Forget-Me-Not Lane and The Freeway.

Small and big-screen versions of some of his stage plays include A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg and Privates On Parade.

Nichols, who was awarded a CBE for services to drama in 2018, was previously an actor in repertory theatre and TV for five years and a teacher.

Sir Howard Panter, who is producing A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg at Trafalgar Studios, said: “Peter was one of British theatre’s greatest writers of the last 60 years.

“As the company rehearse Joe Egg – his funny, moving and perhaps greatest masterpiece – ahead of its West End opening next week, Peter to his very last was emailing notes and involved in the production as he had always done.

“We are so pleased we have been in rehearsals for long enough for the company to hear from Peter his experience of bringing up his daughter and how that informed Joe Egg. Bringing the authenticity that was a hallmark of Peter’s work….

“He suffered both great joy and tragedy in his life and from these experiences he could create the vivid relationships we see in his work. Peter was the true master of wit and pathos. Finally, speaking of the joy in his life, our thoughts are with his wife Thelma and their family.”

PA

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