Moray Watson

Old Etonian actor and good egg, Moray Watson, died earlier this month aged eighty-eight. He was an excellent supporting actor, often stealing the show. As he got older parts weren’t so easy to come by and he started doing one-man shows.

His obituary in The Times mentions The Incomparable Max based on Max Beerbohm’s essays and Looking Back and Dropping Names about his own career which he published as a memoir last year. It failed to mention his portrayal of James Lees-Milne in a one-manner written by Hugh Massingber; Ancestral Voices. It was first performed at the Savile in 2002 although Act I is set in the library of my club. It was put on at the Jermyn Street Theatre and in country houses. I saw it in Jermyn Street and again at Buscot Park where Lord Faringdon has a small theatre (62 seats).

Theatre at Buscot Park

It was an amusing evening. First, looking for the loo, I burst in on Moray Watson rehearsing his lines, then Lord F took our numbered tickets at the door. Wielding a Biro he moved everyone one place because it transpired that somebody sitting in the back row needed to be in the front row because of mobility issues. After the show we had a Glyndebourne-style picnic in the garden. As we left in the gloaming a table of picnickers rose to their feet to applaud us. Ian was perplexed until I told him they thought he was Moray Watson. He was a bit disgruntled as Moray is eighteen years his senior but I re-assured him it was bad light.

I thought of writing to The Times with this anecdote but I’d rather share it with you. Incidentally, Moray had a small part in The Avengers.

One thought on “Moray”

  1. Moray was indeed the best of eggs, a man of legendary charm and courtesy. Odd that The Times should fail to mention ANCESTRAL VOICES – it was the ideal part for his old age, which he played more than 100 times in his late 70s. A small stroke prior to the final outing at Barrington Court, Somerset on his 79th birthday in 2007, did not stop him, and he gave the performance of his life. He strongly identified with James Lees-Milne, down to the waspishness and bisexuality.

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