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Comment & Analysis: Obituary.

Byline: Michael Wharton

HIS domain was a theatre of the absurd inhabited by beings who sprang from the fertile reaches of his own imagination and became almost flesh in the stories which he wrote for 49 years, though in later life, when his bristling eyebrows were grizzling, he would lament that it had become impossible to lampoon the ways of the world. It did that for itself.

But whenever you had been wearied by the madness pouring forth from news broadcasts, you could retreat into his world of sanity. It seemed sane because you could laugh at characters whose development was never too far from those of the real world.

To an extent, Peter Simple was engaged in a doomed race to ensure that his parodies were always ahead of reality.

He was born Michael Bernard Nathan in Shipley, Yorkshire. From Bradford Grammar School he went to Lincoln College, Oxford, and learned to drink, quite copiously on occasions. On the outbreak of war, he joined the Royal Artillery, adopting his mother's maiden name of Wharton, which he continued to use.

After the war he fell in with the BBC, including among his drinking companions Dylan Thomas and Constantine Fitzgibbon. But, after a period of producing programmes, he fell out with his leftward-leaning colleagues who noted, disapprovingly, that news of Stalin's death had lifted his often melancholy spirits.

In 1957, his career on the Daily Telegraph began when he began writing the Way of the World column under the name of Peter Simple.

Comforted by sessions in The King and Keys, near the paper's offices, where he consumed brandy and corned beef sandwiches, Wharton peopled his column with such figures as Mrs Dutt-Pauker, the eminent Hampstead thinker' Julian Birdbath, unpublished biographer of Stephen Spender, who lives in the Deadwater Lead Mine with his toad Amiel' General Sir Frederick Nidg-ett, founder of the Royal Army Tailoring Corp' Dr Spacelly-Trellis, the go-ahead Bishop of Bevindon' and the psychiatrist Dr Heinz ("We are all guilty") Kiosk.

Wharton married three times and had two children.

Michael Wharton, writer'

born April 19, 1913, died January 23, 2006.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Jan 25, 2006
Words:351
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