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Obituaries

Hugh Whitemore (KES 51-55) Actor and Playwright

Hugh Whitemore was an only child who was born in Tunbridge Wells before his family moved to Southampton where he attended King Edward’s from 1951-1955. Whilst at School, Hugh was a Prepositor and Chief Editor of Sotoniensis and Secretary of the Dramatic Society. He also played Alonso in the school production of The Tempest. 

Upon leaving King Edward’s, Hugh studied at Rada, having begun his career with ambitions of becoming a performer. These ambitions changed, due perhaps, in no small part, to being told by one of his teachers at Rada, the actor Peter Barkworth, that he had the potential to make a great contribution to theatre – “though perhaps not as an actor”. By the 1960s he was busy in television, winning the first of his three Emmy awards in 1970, and establishing himself as a reliable adapter of popular classics. He moved into playwriting with works such as Stevie (1977), Pack of Lies (1983) and Breaking the Code (1986) working with the likes of Judi Dench and Derek Jacobi. Both Pack of Lies and Breaking the Code were subsequently developed for television. Further television dramas followed, as well as film scripts for films including David Jones’s 84 Charing Cross Road (1986, with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins) and Franco Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre (1996 with William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg). Later work included a Channel 4 version of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time (1997) and Richard Loncraine’s television film of My House in Umbria (2003), with an Emmy award-winning performance from Maggie Smith. Whitemore continued to write successfully and his last play was Sand in the Sandwiches (2016), a solo show for Edward Fox as John Betjeman.

Hugh Whitemore was a man of huge talent, also serving as a council member at Rada, and was made an honorary fellow of King’s College London in 2006. He is survived by his third wife, Rohan McCullogh and his son, Thomas, from his second marriage. Hugh died in July 2018 aged 82.

Rev Prof Dennis Eric Nineham (KES 1932-1939)

The Reverend Professor Dennis Nineham died in 2016 aged 94 and was one of the Church of England’s most distinguished scholars and teachers. Upon leaving King Edward’s he went to Queen’s College, Oxford, as a scholar, and took Firsts in Mods and Greats, followed by a First in Theology. He then went to Lincoln Theological College to prepare for ordination and straight back to Queen’s College in 1944 as assistant chaplain, becoming Chaplain and Fellow two years later. He remained in Oxford until 1954 and took the chair of Biblical and Historical Theology at King’s. When the Regius chair of Divinity at Cambridge became vacant in 1964 he was the obvious choice. In 1969, however, the early death of Austin Farrer left Keble College, Oxford, without a Warden and, since at that time tradition required the head of the college to be an ordained Anglican, Dennis was persuaded to take up this post. After 10 years, Nineham returned to teaching as Professor of Theology and head of the Department of Theology at Bristol; a post that left time for further writing, mainly essays in symposia on biblical interpretation and hermeneutics. He retired in 1986. His wife Ruth and a daughter predeceased him and he is survived by a daughter and two sons.

(Portrait of Dennis Nineham by Norman Blamey)