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Kevin Elyot: a tribute

The Agency is greatly saddened by the loss of Kevin Elyot, who died this weekend.

This year marks the twentieth since his landmark play ‘My Night With Reg’ opened at the Royal Court. It went on to win the 1994 Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Comedy and introduced audiences both at the Court and at its subsequent West End run to the wit, delicacy and unblinking honesty that became his trademark. It is a silver lining to know that these qualities will be revealed to a new audience when the Donmar revives the play this summer. Later stage work included ‘The Day I Stood Still’ at the National in 1998 and Mouth to Mouth at the Royal Court and Albery Theatres.

His talents soon spread from the theatre into TV, where he again addressed sensitive subjects with a rare combination of nuance and boldness. His subtle character portraits and bold voice both inspired and entertained, especially when speaking out against homophobia, a subject he returned to repeatedly over his career with work like ‘Christopher and His Kind’ for the BBC and ‘Clapham Junction’ for Channel 4. Throughout, he sought to challenge the passive acceptance of homophobia in British culture. The concerns of his recognizable, three-dimensional gay characters shattered stereotypes and galvanized gay and straight communities alike. He will be remembered here as a first-class writer who was as admired as he was respected.