In Loving Memory: Nick Keeping
Nick as Hotspur in Henry IV - Part
(Karen played Lady Percy in the same school production.)
When we started work on this "English As A Funny Language"
page, we hadn't seen Nick for a few years. We'd missed him.
For many years he had always come round on Christmas Day
with presents for all our kids, who always looked forward to
seeing "Uncle Nick". Often he joined us for Christmas lunch.
Somehow the years passed and we lost touch. You shouldn't,
but we did.
On Saturday (13th March), we started calling round to tell
all our old cast members about the page and that it was
about to go up on the site. Peter had bumped into Chris Owen
on the beach that morning who had said that Nick needed a
heart operation. We were so keen for Nick to see the old
pictures, to remember the great times.
On Monday morning the page was ready to go up when we heard
the news. Nick had died in Poland of a heart attack, age
Nick introduced us to each other.
Nick was Guys Best Man.
Nick was one of the witnesses at our wedding.
Nick was the first to arrive with presents and good cheer
when our kids were born.
Nick played Father Christmas for kids (brilliantly) at
our Christmas parties.
Nick was always the life and soul of the party.
If the cards had been dealt differently, Nick could have
become a great actor. His talent was extraordinary. Every
time we worked with him on stage we felt that charisma, that
star quality. Instead he became an inspirational teacher,
then turned his talents to marketing.
Peter still remembers a discussion with Nick sometime in
1971 about how to teach the first lesson with a class of
beginners. Nick said that he had the ultimate ice-breaking
activity. Naturally, Peter wanted to see it.
Youll have to pretend to be a student,
though, he said.
But theyll speak to me before the class.
Theyll find out Im English
No, they wont, said Nick, Just say
Albanian if anyone speaks to you.
So Peter joined the solemn group of beginners waiting for
their first lesson. A couple of friendly students addressed
him, one in German, another in Spanish. He just pointed to
his chest and said Albanian. It worked.
Nick came in and sat straight down and started calling the
register. As he was calling it he started leaning further
and further back in his chair. The chair was on two legs. A
few more names, a bit further. Then crash! Nick went
straight over backwards onto the floor. And lay there. He
groaned. The class looked at each other in consternation.
What were they supposed to do? The groan got louder, more
plaintive. Then students got up, moved forward, started
trying to speak in English, trying to help. Nick gave it 30
seconds then leapt to his feet, Good morning!
And the class was under way. Pure theatre from the first
minute. Next to our teachers room in the
beginners group we had a cupboard with wigs, costumes,
hats, telephones, realia, ironing boards, bunches of plastic
flowers. For Nick, every lesson was an event. That was
No one who met Nick will ever forget him.
Nick in 1973, singing My Way
on stage. It was always his favourite song.
Nick as Inspector Sniff in Murder
at Muldoon Manor
If any of Nicks many, many friends would like to
add messages, please e-mail us at email@example.com