Peter Nichols (born 31 July 1927) is a British writer of stage plays, film and television.
Born in Bristol, England, Nichols was in the RAF for three years, and then studied acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He began to write televison plays, but wrote A Day in the Death of Joe Egg as his first stage play because he thought it would be unacceptable for television.
Nichols' plays are hard to categorize. He is quoted as saying 'Do any damn thing you have to do to keep the heart and soul alive'.
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg is a one-set drama in Music Hall style. The National Health is a fantasy farce, also interrupted by Vaudeville. Privates On Parade is a musical comedy. Poppy takes the form of a Christmas Pantomime.
Despite the comic style, Nichols' plays deal with the most serious of themes. In A Day in the Death of Joe Egg the burden of raising a hopelessly handicapped child shatters a couple's marriage. The patients of The National Health suffer and die, as do the singing soldiers of Privates On Parade. In Poppy Dick Whittington's sister becomes a drug addict. Passion Play focusses on adultery and betrayal.
Joe Egg is based on Nichols' own experiences of raising a handicapped child. The National Health draws on a hospital stay of his own, and Privates draws on his own military experiences.
His plays include
- So Long Life
- Born in the Garden
- Blue Murder
- A Piece of My Mind
- Poppy (1982)
- Privates on Parade (1977)
- Harding's Luck
- The Freeway
- Chez Nous (1974)
- The Hooded Terror
- Passion Play (1981)
- A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1967)
- The National Health (1969)
- Forget-Me-Not-Lane (1971)