from: Rebecca Wilmshurst
Production Executive, BBC Audio, All England Drama and Books
News reached me yesterday (Jan 27, 2021, IFC) that John Theocharis has died.
He was 88 and passed away peacefully in his sleep.
In his day, John was another `giant’ of Radio Drama and the former Features Unit, working alongside Piers Plowright and Ed Thomason.
He had a formidable list of production credits ranging from ancient and English classic texts (I especially remember his Paradise Lost with Ian McDiarmid as Satan) to dramatisations of contemporary works (again of note was his version of Colin Thubron’s A Cruel Madness).
In the 1990s he and Martin Jenkins were responsible for a series of plays that were effectively the reconstruction of famous trials – all given expansive air time, and meticulously researched and directed.
He retired (with huge reluctance) from the BBC in the mid-1990s.
I remember celebrating his farewell with a cake topped with the Oracle at Delphi modelled in sugar paste.
He will be remembered by those of us who knew him well with much affection and for all sorts of different reasons!
In company he had a wonderfully mischievous sense of humour and was a great raconteur.
A photo he gave me long ago reminds me that he also had the pleasure not only of directing a play by Karol Wojtyła – later Pope John Paul II – but also of presenting the Pope with a copy of the recording when he met him some years later:
from: Simon Elmes
Radio Documentarist and Creative Consultant
I’ve just heard about a sad death for the international feature community: John Theocharis.
Born in Alexandria and always a Mediterranean at heart.
Elegance was John’s hallmark, doffing his inevitable hat and gracious in his speech, John cut a somewhat eccentric figure in the BBC, but although he spent most of his life in Drama, he did make some beautiful, literary, sound-filled features which were a delight.
I remember seeing him last in the hall of the Haus des Rundfunks after he emerged, I think, from a listening session with the Radio Fiction jury and it was as if we were old, long-lost friends, although we only knew each other a little.
He was a character out of a novel by Laurence Durrell – never truly British, and with the most beautiful, sussurating accent I knew.