Posted in Derren Brown News

Posted by Derren Brown News December 25, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Sad news for xmas day, but I’m sure you will have seen on the news that today we lost a great playwright and political activists. He was 78.

Harold Pinter, CH, CBE, Nobel Laureate (10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008), was a world-renowned English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, poet, political activist, and president of the Central School of Speech and Drama, a constituent college of the University of London. After publishing poetry as a teenager and acting in school plays, Pinter began his theatrical career in the mid-1950s as a rep actor using the stage name David Baron.

During a writing career spanning over half a century, beginning with his first play, The Room (1957), Pinter has written 29 stage plays; 26 screenplays; many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays; poetry; some short fiction; a novel; and essays, speeches, and letters. He is best known as a playwright and screenwriter, especially for The Birthday Party (1957), The Caretaker (1959), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), all of which he has adapted to film, and for his screenplay adaptations of others’ works, such as The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He has also directed almost 50 stage, TV, and film productions of his own and others’ works.

Despite frail health since 2001, he has continued to act on stage and screen, most recently in the October 2006 critically-acclaimed production of Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, during the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court. In addition to continuing to write (mostly poetry), to give interviews, to speak about political issues, and to attend theatrical and cinematic premieres of his own and others’ works, he accepted the presidency of the Central School of Speech and Drama in October 2008.

The above painting by Derren was done in 2003.


BBC News


December 25, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Great Portrait
RIP ol boy 😉 xXx

December 25, 2008 at 10:35 pm
Lolly says:

Don’t suppose you’ve got a portrait of Eartha Kitt kicking around the loft, have you?

December 26, 2008 at 1:44 am
Sabina says:

A sad loss.

Awesome playwright. Equally awesome painting…

December 26, 2008 at 10:46 am
Emilie says:

Such sad news; it’s not often someone is so well respected in their own lifetime. He was clearly something special.

(By the way, Merry Christmas to everyone! And to everyone on the team at the Derren Brown Blog. I hope you all had a great day)

December 26, 2008 at 11:57 am
crae says:

The following is an expert from From his Nobel acceptance speech:

What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days – conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what’s called the ‘international community’. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be ‘the leader of the free world’. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them? They pop up occasionally – a small item on page six. They have been consigned to a no man’s land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticise our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You’re either with us or against us. So Blair shuts up.

The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading – as a last resort – all other justifications having failed to justify themselves – as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’.

How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought….

When we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror – for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us.

I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.

If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us – the dignity of man.

The entire acceptance speech can be viewed here:

December 26, 2008 at 3:15 pm
BellaFiga says:

Poor old Harold. And bloody Eartha Kitt too. Yet Noel Edmonds still walks the earth…

December 26, 2008 at 3:34 pm
Kim says:

Sad news. He will be missed.

Excellent portrait, by the way – a great tribute to a great man.

December 28, 2008 at 9:24 am
Steph says:

He was such a talent, I remember having to write an essay for GCSE eng lit on ‘A kind of Alaska” and getting in trouble for writing 12 pages of what was supposed to be a short essay, there’s so much content in his writing it was a crime to ignore it.