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Peter Nichols


Peter Nichols

Peter Nichols was born in Bristol in 1927 and educated there 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, CHEZ NOUS, PRIVATES ON PARADE, BORN IN THE GARDENS, PASSION PLAY, POPPY, BLUE MURDER (later FIG-LEAVES), SO LONG LIFE, A PIECE OF MY MIND and LINGUA FRANCA. These have won four Evening Standard Awards, a Society of West End Theatres Award for Best Comedy (1978)  and Best Musical (1982) 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. Details of their first and later productions are in his Plays One and Two which are published by Methuen. Five novels and another ten or so stage plays remain unpublished.

Peter was resident playwright at the Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis where he co-directed THE NATIONAL HEALTH. He also directed revivals of A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG and FORGET-ME-NOT LANE at Greenwich and the first productions of BORN IN THE GARDENS and BLUE MURDER at Bristol.

In 2000 he wrote and directed NICHOLODEON, a miscellany of his scenes and songs for Show of Strength.

His original plays for television include an INSPECTOR MORSE, A WALK ON THE GRASS, PROMENADE, BEN SPRAY, THE HOODED TERROR, THE GORGE, HEARTS AND FLOWERS and THE COMMON. 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. Original screenplays included CATCH US IF YOU CAN and GEORGY GIRL (with Margaret Forster). 

Recent work for radio includes SOMETHING IN THE AIR and JAM YESTERDAY, both about the Nazi Swing Band. FEELING YOU'RE BEHIND (a memoir published by Weidenfeld) appeared in 1984 and in 2000 Peter edited DIARIES 1966-1977  selection from the diary he's kept on-and-off  since he first left England aged eighteen (published by Nick Hern Books)

Peter's novel LOVE 15 is set in Bristol during World War II and is published by Troubador. 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 whom he married in 1959, lived in Oxford, previously in Devon, Bristol, Shropshire and (mostly) London. They have three surviving children (Louise, Dan Catherine) and seven grandchildren (Molly, Vita, George, Robert, Joseph, Samuel and Wilfred) and two great grand children (Suki and Cassius). Their daughter Abigail died in 1971.

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