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Hugh Thornton Walters
02 March 1939 - 13 February 2015
Obituary 
It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Hugh Thornton Walters who passed away peacefully on 13 February 2015.



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London WC2N 6AD
Tel: 020 7836 6378
Condolences  (5 of 5)
Louise Greenberg (Friend)
London
Jeremy Conway suggested Hugh when I was casting a Radio 4 feature and had checked the availability of someone else; "He'll' come in and read for you." - not an opportunity talks producers were usually offered. I was captivated when I met Hugh; if a capacity for empathy is the foundation of artistic expression ihis understanding of and sympathy for others and of a text was so large that a convincing performance was always certainty. When I mentioned to whomever, probably someone from drama department, that I'd cast him they said, "He's very camp, you know." I only mention this because after working with Hugh several times he was one of a group of actors playing multiple roles in a six part drama-doc series about Winston Churchill. One of his characters had only a single lword, crikey, to express the shock of a General striker as he saw the troops coming in After one take (no time to rehearse and then tape) I told him just give me utter shock, no whiff of irony. The studio was told to stand by, Hugh lifted his script and muttered to himself, "Straighten it out, Hugh" - then the queue came he rendered it perfectly.

And anyone who saw him perform, worked with him or had a chance to spend time with him, new how phenomenal his comic timing was and how nuanced his delivry even in farce or pantomime - complete with the kind of apparent sotto voce which never allowed a syllable to sbe lost Hugh was, of course, also a director. When we started on the first long series we did together I had made a spectacular mistake in casting; the lynchpin of the series was a household name but not suited to the role assigned. Hugh had asked at the beginning whether he could sit at the back of the control room and watch instead of staying in the green room. Very tactfully and quietly he began to make the occasional, very brief, crucial suggestion. On a break he asked whether he was out of order. Knowing perfectly well what an amateur I was I told him to keep advising. He really performed a huge act of rescue.

I also remember walking down a corridor in Broadcasting House when we bumped into John Tidyman. Warm greetings between John and Hugh. Later John said to me, "I'm very impressed that you knew to cast Hugh!"

Hugh was a tremendous scholar and his erudition, though worn lightly certainly underpinned all his work (including in his own garden) even in a profession where everyone can quote the right verse from Shakespeare and much else. Hugh gave my children wonderful books for birthday presents and took my daughter to the Royal Ballet when he had a spare ticket. We once recorded a gardening series, which included a location chat at Rousham House in the company of the Augustan scholar and novelist, Rachel Trickett. AIt began with Rachel saying, "The declivities are very steep here." That threw me but of course not Hugh. And another recording with Robin Lane Fox took place while the May Ball band stands were being erected. Hugh managed to improvise a witty save, every time some scaffolding or percussion instrument crashed to the ground. And, of course, being an actor, one could ask him to re-take this or that phrase as many times as necessary. I have such a clear memory of standing in the middle of a wood, giving the note, the cue and Hugh just nodding, retaking, waiting for the next note, and on until it was all right. And telling me on the way back what music would fit.

And I haven't mentioned his cooking!
Paula Swift (Jacobs) (Friend)
London
Dearest Hugh

My lasting memory, and one of my fondest of you, is when we were doing "Love's Labour's" in Cambridge in 1958 and you were pinning up my skirt, on your knees at my hem with a mouthful of pins and your eyes twinkling mischievously. I can see you now as if it were yesterday. You are so missed.

Much, much love

Paula (Swift/Jacobs)
Bip Slater (Peters) (Friend)
East Grinstead
Dear 'twinkley' (as Brenda would say) Hugh, who totally 'got it' when I married late in life and having tried on many 'Mother of the Bride' type get-ups' bought, on a whim and in sale, a real 'romantic' oyster coloured full length Wedding dress....greeted me after the Ceremony with "love the costume darling"!!
What a hoot!
Thanks Hugh for your mischievous, perceptive, practical and welcome self in the few years I knew you.
Bip
Brenda Peters' Family (Friend)
Sussex
On behalf of all Brenda Peters' Family, a big thank you to lovely Hugh for being such a 'good chum' to her and a good friend, very great support and administrative help to us in handling her later care and affairs.
Nick, Chelsea and Kelcey (Friend)
United Kingdom
We were all very sad to learn of Hugh's passing and we extend our sincerest condolences to his family. Hugh was the freeholder of our building and was a lovely, witty man. We really enjoyed our time getting to know him in the garden or over cups of tea, although it was too short. He will be missed. With our love, Nick, Chelsea and Kelcey x
Life Stories  (1 of 1)
Louise Greenberg (Friend)
And Colleague!
Jeremy Conway suggested Hugh when I was casting a Radio 4 feature and had checked the availability of someone else; "He'll come in and read for you." - not an opportunity talks producers were usually offered. I was captivated when I met Hugh; if a capacity for empathy is the foundation of artistic expression his understanding of and sympathy for others and of a text was so large that a convincing performance was always certaint. When I mentioned to whomever that I'd cast him they said, "He's very camp, you know." I only mention this because he was aware of it. After working with Hugh several times he was one of a group of actors playing multiple roles in a six part drama-doc series about Winston Churchill. One of his characters had only a single word, crikey, to express the shock of a General striker seeing the troops arriving. After one take (no time to rehearse and then tape) I told him just give me utter shock, no whiff of irony. The studio was told to stand by, Hugh lifted his script and muttered to himself, "Straighten it out, Hugh" - then he rendered it perfectly.
And anyone who saw Hugh perform, worked with him or had a chance to spend time with him,knew how phenomenal his comic timing was and how nuanced his delivery even in farce or pantomime - complete with the kind of apparent sotto voce which never allowed a syllable to be lost.
Hugh was, of course, also a director. When we started on the first long series we did together I had made a spectacular mistake in casting; the lynchpin of the series was a household name but not suited to the role assigned. Hugh had asked at the beginning whether he could sit at the back of the control room and watch instead of staying in the green room. Very tactfully and quietly he began to make the occasional, very brief, crucial suggestion to me which I could pass on as if my own note. On a break Hugh asked whether he was out of order. Knowing perfectly well what an amateur I was I told him to keep advising. He really performed a huge act of rescue.

I also remember walking down a corridor in Broadcasting House when we bumped into John Tidyman. Warm greetings between John and Hugh. Later John said to me, "I'm very impressed that you knew to cast Hugh!"

Hugh was a tremendous scholar and his erudition, though worn lightly certainly underpinned all his work (including in his own garden) even in a profession where everyone can quote the right verse from Shakespeare and much else. Hugh gave my children wonderful books for birthday presents and took my daughter to the Royal Ballet when he had a spare ticket. We once recorded a gardening series, which included a location chat at Rousham House in the company of the Augustan scholar and novelist, Rachel Trickett. It began with Rachel saying "The declivities are very steep here." That threw me but of course not Hugh. And another recording with Robin Lane Fox took place while the May Ball band stands were being erected. Hugh managed to improvise a witty save, every time some scaffolding or percussion instrument crashed to the ground. And, of course, being so entirely professional, one could ask him to re-take this or that phrase as many times as necessary. I have such a clear memory of standing in the middle of a wood, giving the note, the cue and Hugh just nodding, retaking, waiting for the next note, and on until it was all right. And then telling me what background music to use.

And I haven't mentioned his cooking!
Photos  (1 of 1)

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