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Derek Nimmo
Born 19 September 1930(1930-09-19)
Liverpool, England
Died 24 February 1999 (aged 68)
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, England
Occupation Actor, Theatre manager

Derek Robert Nimmo (19 September 1930 – 24 February 1999) was an English character actor. He was particularly associated with upper-class "silly-ass" roles, and clerical roles. He married Patricia Brown in 1955; they had three children, Amanda, Timothy and Piers.



He was born in Liverpool and was educated at Quarry Bank High School and began his stage career at the Hippodrome Theatre in Bolton, Lancashire. It was during this time that he made a cameo appearance in The Beatles' movie, A Hard Day's Night (in which he appeared as "Leslie Jackson", a magician with doves).

He appeared in a number of British films and television series, as aristocrats, including starring roles in the television comedy series The World of Wooster (as "Bingo Little"), and in the comedy movie One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing (as "Lord Southmere"), as well as appearing in the James Bond spoof film Casino Royale.

Derek Nimmo made his name as the Reverend Mervyn Noote in the British sitcom All Gas and Gaiters (1966). At the time it was considered rather controversial because the main characters were senior churchmen (the Bishop, his chaplain Noote and the Archdeacon) who got into various scrapes as a result of their general incompetence. By the time the series finished, Nimmo was identified with the stereotype of a traditional British clergyman and he went on to play a bungling monk in another BBC clerical sitcom, Oh, Brother! and its sequel series "Oh, Father!". Another sitcom in which he appeared in a starring role as a clergyman, many years later, was Hell's Bells. He also appeared as the Reverend Jonathan Green in a television production of Cluedo. In 1966, he appeared in the second series of The Bed-Sit Girl

He became so well-known for his clerical parody that, in the The Goodies' episode "Wacky Wales", a "team of Derek Nimmos" played in a spoof "Ecclesiastical Rugby Sevens" competition.

Derek Nimmo appeared on stage in many West End plays and starred in the musical Charlie Girl, which contained a scene specially written to allow him to perform his party trick of wiggling his toes. He also became a regular panelist on the popular BBC radio show Just a Minute, and had a chat show on BBC Saturday night TV, If it's Saturday, it must be Nimmo, from 24 October to 19 December 1970, though it was felt that he seemed less at ease as a chat show host.

As a theatrical impresario, he took his own touring productions (with star casts) to 30 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and the UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) and so provided himself with material for many stories on Just a Minute.

Personal life and death

Derek Nimmo's grave

Away from the spotlight, he was an expert on wine and a keen gardener. He also wrote several books on his interests in wine and theatre. Another interest was after dinner speaking, for which he was always in demand.

He received many awards, including the 1990 Benedictine After Dinner Speaker of the Year. He was made a Freeman of the City of London, and the University of Leicester recognised his contribution to entertainment with an honorary Master of Arts degree in 1996.

In February 1999, a few weeks after a fall at home had left him in a coma, he died from pneumonia at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. He is buried in the churchyard at Easton Maudit, a small rural village in Northamptonshire where he owned a home.


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