Miller (far left) with the Beyond the Fringe
Sir Jonathan Wolfe Miller, CBE (born July 21, 1934) is a British physician, theatre and opera director and television presenter.
Miller grew up in Hampstead in a well-connected Jewish family - his father Emanuel (1892-1970) was a psychiatrist specialising in child development, and his mother Betty (née Spiro) (1910-1965) was a novelist and biographer; his sister Sarah (d. 2006) worked in television for many years and retained an involvement with Judaism that her brother, a self-declared atheist (see below) eschewed.
He studied natural sciences and medicine at St John's College at the University of Cambridge and University College London, graduating in 1959 and worked as a hospital doctor for the next two years. He was, however, also involved in the university drama society and the Cambridge Footlights and in 1960 he helped write and produce 'Beyond the Fringe' at the Edinburgh Festival which launched the careers of Alan Bennett, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Miller quit the show shortly after its move to New York and took over as editor and presenter of the BBC's flagship arts programme Monitor. In 1966 he wrote, produced and directed a play of Alice in Wonderland for the BBC, and in 1968 Whistle and I'll Come to You, an adaptation of M. R. James' ghost story, "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad".
During the later 1960s, he had a major falling-out with the magazine Private Eye that he attributes to implicit anti-semitism. Since then Private Eye has occasionally lampooned him under the name 'Dr Jonathan', depicting him as a Dr Johnson-like self-important man of learning.
In the 1970s, he started directing and producing operas for the Kent Opera and Glyndebourne, with a new production of The Marriage of Figaro for English National Opera in 1978. He has now become one of the world's leading opera directors. At the same time he held a research fellowship in the history of medicine at University College, London.
Most of his work for television has been for the BBC, starting by producing a series of 12 Shakespeare plays between 1980-1982. He also wrote and presented several factual series drawing on his experience as a physician, for example The Body in Question (1978) (which caused some controversy for showing the dissection of a cadaver), States of Mind 1983, Who Cares and Born Talking.
In 2004, he wrote and presented a series on atheism, Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief (on-screen title; but more commonly referred to as Jonathan Miller's Brief History of Disbelief) for BBC Four TV, exploring the roots of his own atheism and investigating the history of atheism in the world. Individual conversations, debates and discussions for the series that could not be included, due to time constraints, were individually aired in a six-part series entitled The Atheism Tapes. He is also an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.
He is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1983), a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in London and Edinburgh, and a Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was knighted in 2002.
In the film for television Not Only But Always about the careers of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Jonathan Aris played Jonathan Miller as a young man.
Miller lives in Camden, North London.
Country of publication is the UK, unless stated otherwise
As writer, contributor or editor
- Jonathan Miller with Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, and Dudley Moore (1963). Beyond the Fringe. A Revue. Souvenir Press/Samuel French.
- Jonathan Miller (Ed) (1968). Harvey and the Circulation of Blood: A Collection of Contemporary Documents. Jackdaw Publications.
- Jonathan Miller with Margaret Drabble, Richard Hoggart, Adrian Mitchell, Mary Quant et al. (1969). The Permissive Society. Panther.
- Jonathan Miller (1970). McLuhan. Fontana Modern Masters series.
- Jonathan Miller (1971). Censorship and the Limits of Personal Freedom. Oxford University Press.
- Jonathan Miller (1972). Freud: The Man, His World and His Influence. Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
- Jonathan Miller (1974). The Uses of Pain (Conway memorial lecture). South Place Ethical Society.
- Jonathan Miller (1978). The Body in Question. Jonathan Cape.
- Jonathan Miller (1982). Darwin for Beginners. Writers and Readers Comic Book/2003 Pantheon Books (USA). ISBN 0375714588. (republished in 2000 as Introducing Darwin and Evolution Icon Books (Faber))
- Jonathan Miller (1983). The Human Body. Viking Press. (1994 Jonathan Cape [pop-up book])
- Jonathan Miller (1983). States of Mind. Conversations with Psychological Investigators. BBC/Random House. — participants include Jerome Bruner, Daniel Dennett, Brian Farrell, Jerry Fodor, Thomas Szasz
- Jonathan Miller (1984). The Facts of Life. Jonathan Cape. (pop-up book intended for children)
- Jonathan Miller (1986). Subsequent Performances. Faber.
- Jonathan Miller with Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, and Dudley Moore (1987). The Complete Beyond the Fringe. Methuen. ISBN 0413146707.
- Jonathan Miller & John Durrant (1989). Laughing Matters: A Serious Look at Humour. Longman.
- Jonathan Miller (1990). Acting in Opera. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. (The Applause Acting Series)
- Jonathan Miller (Ed) (1990). Don Giovanni Book. Myths of Seduction and Betrayal. Faber.
- Jonathan Miller (1992). The Afterlife of Plays. San Diego State Univ Press. (University Research Lecture Series No. 5)
- Robert B Silvers (Ed) (1997). Hidden Histories of Science. Granta Books. — Contributors Jonathan Miller with Stephen Jay Gould, Daniel J Kevles, RC Lewontin, Oliver Sacks
- Jonathan Miller (1998). Dimensional Man. Jonathan Cape. [kit / model book]
- Jonathan Miller (1998). On Reflection. National Gallery Publications/Yale University Press (USA). ISBN 0300077130.
- Jonathan Miller (1999). Nowhere in Particular. Mitchell Beasley. ISBN 184000150. [collection of his photographs]
- Robert B. Silvers (Ed) (2000). Doing It : Five Performing Arts. New York Review of Books (USA). ISBN 0940322757. — Essays by Jonathan Miller Geoffrey O'Brien, Charles Rosen, Tom Stoppard and Garry Wills
- BBC. Great Composers of the World. Jonathan Miller appears on the Puccini and Bach DVDs of this BBC series.
- PBS. Vermeer: Master of Light. Jonathan Miller appears in this one-hour program on the painter
- BBC. Alice in Wonderland DVD. Jonathan Miller has a director's commentary track.
Introduction or foreword contributed
- Robert Lowell (1966). Old Glory, The: Endecott and the Red Cross; My Kinsman, Major Molineux; and Benito Cereno. (directors note)
- Various (1999). More Viz Crap Jokes. John Brown Publishing. ISBN 1902212169. (introduction)
- Julian Rothenstein (2000). The Paradox Box: Optical Illusions, Puzzling Pictures, Verbal Diversions. Redstons Press /Shambhala Publications (USA).
- Linda Scotson (2000). Doran: Child of Courage. Macmillan.
Books about Miller
- Kate Bassett (2006 forthcoming). Jonathan Miller Biography (working title). Methuen.
- Ronald Bergan (1990). Beyond the Fringe...and Beyond: A Critical Biography of Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, Dudley Moore. Virgin Books. ISBN 1852271752.
- Michael Romain (Ed) (1992). A Profile of Jonathan Miller. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521409535.
Miller and the satire boom
- Humphrey Carpenter (2000). That Was Satire, That Was: Beyond the Fringe, the Establishment Club, "Private Eye" and "That Was the Week That Was". Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0575065885.
- Robert Hewison (1983). Footlights! - A Hundred Years of Cambridge Comedy. Methuen. ISBN 0413511502.
- Roger Wilmut (1980). From Fringe to Flying Cirus - Celebrating a Unique Generation of Comedy 1960-1980. Eyre Methuen. ISBN 0413469506.