We are sad not note the passing of comedian, and theatre director Sir Jonathan Miller. While he originally trained as a doctor at Cambridge University, Sir Jonathan Miller made his name as a comic wit starting off in the Beyond the Fringe satirical show which featured Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett. After transferring his skills with the rest of the team to television (see him in the famous “Futile Gesture” sketch here) and later to theatre and even to opera directing, Miller thus showed himself to be a true polymath. Jonathan Miller passed away at the age of 85 after suffering from Altzheimer’s syndrome which robbed this brilliant man of his skills and memory.

Peter Cooke as his RAF commanding officer (left) gives the bad news to RAF officer Jonathan Miller (Right). Courtesy: BBC

The world of wit and comedy also marked the passing of TV critic and comic presenter, poet and literary writer, Clive James, who has died at the age of 80 at the end of a nine year fight with terminal Leukemia.  James got most of his fame from his dry Australian humour and amusing observational style on his TV shows during the 1980s, but he was also a very accomplished writer.  Clive James’ memoirs with their fond observation punctuated by his humorous calling card style, became best sellers, while latterly, his poetry was published to critical acclaim.

Clive James during a BBC interview with Mary Beard. Courtesy: BBC

Finally, while Miller and James were in that traditional danger zone of being over 80 when they died, we also note the sudden death from complications due to a head injury of Michelin-star awarded TV cook Gary Rhodes at the age of only 59. He gained fame for both his spiky hair style but also his talent and showing the public how to cook well.

Gary Rhodes shows how to cook bacon. Courtesy: BBC

Finally. we note the passing of Lord Edwin Bramhall, a well known peacetime general, but one who had experienced violent war in the post D-Day fighting in Normandy as a young officer, being both wounded and winning the Military Cross.  While he was actually anti-war on the grounds that it often caused more problems than it solved, in a distinguished career, he rose to the level of Field Marshal (a five star general) in the British Army and Chief of the General Staff.  He was also one of the British military leaders who helped win back the Falklands from Argentine forces in 1982. Sadly, the happiness of his final years was wrecked by false allegations of child sexual abuse.  He was completely exonerated when the accuser of him and others was found to have been a complete fantasist who had managed to dupe the Metropolitan Police. We salute all four of these men and give our condolences to their families and friends.