Keith Barron (1934-2017) – The Nigel Barton Plays
Keith Barron played the character Nigel Barton in Dennis Potter’s acclaimed 1965 plays, Stand Up Nigel Barton and Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton. Barron starred as the son of a miner who goes to study at Oxford University. Jack Woolmer played his miner Dad. In the plays Nigel Barton’s academic political idealism sees him standing as a candidate for the Labour Party, initially in a General Election and then in a By-Election. However he soon becomes disillusioned with all the empty political rhetoric and eventually speaks his own mind.
At the start of the play Nigel Barton takes the mickey out of his Dad for honouring the age old miners tradition of walking in the middle of the road (there were fewer cars in those days!). When Barton returns home for the summer to Bestwood he finds himself a figure of suspicion from some members of the pit community, who believe he has betrayed his working class roots by taking a University scholarship. This leaves him confused and frustrated were his real allegiance lies.
Part of the plays were filmed at Bestwood Colliery village and broadcast on 8th and 15th December 1965 on BBC 1 as the Wednesday Play. Over 7 million people what the first play, Stand Up Nigel Barton, with almost 9 million watching the follow up play, Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton the following week.
Keith Barron was born in the South Yorkshire coalmining town of Mexborough and as a young actor was in the same amateur dramatic group as Brian Blessed of “Gordon’s Alive” fame!