I first knew him from Beyond the Fringe which I knew as an LP in my desperate searches for more of that comedy I had been alerted to by Monty Python, The Goodies and I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again which were playing on my local public radio and television. Yes, of course, my adoration of Peter Cook is well known, but in some ways the impact of Miller was of another order all together.
There were all the funny bits I memorised from BTF, but Miller became a much more real person to me largely due to the week he spent on the Dick Cavett show. I had never known someone so effortlessly intellectual, curious and playful with his brain. I didn’t know that being smart didn’t have to always feel like a burden or a black mark.
He turned his hand to so many things: exploring science and philosophy, but also directing films, plays and operas — and operettas, too. His Alice in Wonderland was completely a one-off and so dreamy and potent. I don’t know if Lewis Carroll would approve, but I do.
I got to meet him and had him sign a Playbill of Beyond the Fringe. I never got to meet Pete or Dud. There’s still Alan Bennett around, but I suspect that’s not likely to happen. A life well lived, Mr Miller. You leave much of it behind you for our enjoyment.