Playwright Peter Nichols dies at 92. | Creator of Private On Parade and   A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg © BBC

Playwright Peter Nichols dies at 92.

Creator of Private On Parade and A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg

Comic playwright Peter Nichols has died at the age of 92.

The writer was best known for A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg,The National Health and and Privates On Parade, which was also made into a play starring John Cleese.

His agent, Alan Brodie, issued a statement, saying: 'It is with great sadness to announce the death of one of Britain's foremost playwrights Peter Nichols.

'Peter 92, passed away peacefully on Saturday morning in Oxford. Our thoughts and well wishes go out to his family and loved ones throughout this difficult time.'

Nichols was known for mixing serious topics with comedy. A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg, which premiered in at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre in 1967, follows two parents who struggle to care for their daughter suffering from cerebral palsy .

A new production of the play is about to open in London starring Toby Stephens, Patricia Hodge and Claire Skinner; while Eddie Izzard starred in a later version in the West End and on Broadway.

Sir Howard Panter, who is producing the new revival at Trafalgar Studios, said: '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.'

The National Health, which was first staged at London's Old Vic in 1969, looked at the appalling conditions in an under-funded NHS hospital but had the tone of a Carry On film. A 1973 movie version starred Jim Dale, Bob Hoskins and Lynn Redgrave.

Privates On Parade, a 1977 farce first staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, was based on Nicholas's experiences entertaining the troops with Combined Services Entertainment.

Among those paying tribute today were fellow writer Stephen Unwin who called him 'an utterly remarkable, provocative, searingly honest and surprisingly heartbreaking playwright,' adding: 'He will be much missed.'

Nichols was appointed a CBE in the 2018 New Year Honour list for services to drama.

He is survived by his wife Thelma and three children.

• Hear Nichols on Desert Island Discs in 2000 here.

Published: 9 Sep 2019

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