Playwright, screenwriter and journalist Peter Nichols has died aged 92.
A statement from Nichols’ agent said the writer died peacefully on September 7.
The news comes ahead of the opening of Nichols’ play A Day in the Death of Joe Egg at Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End.
A statement from Nichols’ agent Alan Brodie, issued on behalf of the family, said: “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.”
Nichols was born in Bristol in 1927 and educated at the city’s grammar school before going on to train as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Across his career, Nichols wrote 32 stage plays, 25 television plays, 11 films and seven novels include the Olivier award-winning shows Privates on Parade, comedy musical play Poppy and an episode of Inspector Morse.
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, which has also been adapted for film, was his breakthrough play in 1967.
Starring Toby Stephens, Patricia Hodge and Claire Skinner, the revival runs from September 21 to November 30, with press night on October 2.
Producer of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Howard Panter, said: “On behalf of the cast and production team of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, we were all so saddened to hear about the passing of Peter Nichols. 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.”
Panter added: “We think it is real testament to the quality of Peter’s writing that he was always considered an actors’ playwright and we are proud of the great actors we have in this revival – Peter was also delighted with the cast.”