Thomas (Tom) Fleming

1927 - 2010

Commentator, actor and theatre director. Born in Edinburgh and educated at Daniel Stewart's College, Fleming is perhaps best known as the silky-smooth voice behind the BBC commentary on royal and state events. Since 1952, he has provided radio and television commentaries for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, royal weddings, funerals, the Queen's Silver Jubilee (1977) and the annual service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in London.

Fleming began his acting career in 1945, going on to co-found the Gateway Theatre (Edinburgh) in 1953. In 1962, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. Fleming became Director of the new Royal Lyceum Theatre (1965) and Director of the Scottish Theatre Company (1982-7). Film roles include Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), with Vanessa Redgrave, King Lear (1971) and Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979). His television work includes portrayals of Robert Burns and William Wallace.

He was commentator at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo from 1966 to 2009, and was a regular contributor to the Edinburgh Festival, including reviving Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis by David Lindsay (1486 - 1555) in 1984 and 1991.

Fleming read The Beginning of a New Song, by poet Iain Crichton Smith (1928-98) at the opening of the new Scottish Parliament (1999). Himself a poet, Fleming has published collections including So that was Spring (1954) and Sax Roses for a Luve Frae Hame (1961).

His awards include an OBE and an honorary doctorate from Heriot-Watt University. Fleming is also a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He spent his life in Edinburgh, where he also served as a lay preacher, and died in a hospice in the city.

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