Tom Fleming (actor)

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Thomas Kelman Fleming, CVO OBE FRSAMD (29 June 1927 – 18 April 2010) was a Scottish actor, director, and poet, and a television and radio commentator for the BBC.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Fleming was born in Edinburgh and attended Daniel Stewart's College, where the performing arts centre was renamed in his honour shortly after his death.


Acting career[edit]

His acting career began in 1945. He co-founded the Gateway Theatre in Edinburgh in 1953 before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1962. That year he played the title role in William Gaskill's production of Cymbeline. In 1965, he founded a company at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. He also became the director of The Scottish Theatre Company for most of its years in the 1980s. On television, he played the title role in the 1956 BBC children's series Jesus of Nazareth. In 1983, he played the part of Lord Reith, the BBC's first Director General, in a two-part BBC production written by Roger Milner, entitled simply Reith.[3]

Presenting career[edit]

He was a commentator for the BBC telecast of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo from 1966 until 2008. He was the BBC commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest 1972 in Edinburgh.[4] He was a commentator on BBC television coverage of state events, such as the annual Remembrance Sunday service, royal weddings and ceremonial funerals.[citation needed]

Honours and awards[edit]

He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1980[5] and a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1998.[6]

Fleming also received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 1984 [7]

Personal life and Death[edit]

Fleming, who never married, was organist, lay preacher, secretary and reader at the Canonmills Baptist church in Edinburgh.[8] After a long illness he died in St Columba's Hospice in Edinburgh on the night of Sunday 18 April 2010.[9]


  1. ^ Obituary The Times, 21 April 2010.
  2. ^ Obituary London Guardian, 21 April 2010.
  3. ^ Lord John Reith biography,; accessed 10 July 2014.
  4. ^ "The Eurovision Song Contest (1972) (TV)". IMDb. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  5. ^ "No. 48059". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 January 1980. p. 291.
  6. ^ "No. 55155". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1998. p. 4.
  7. ^ "Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh: Honorary Graduates". Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  8. ^ Obituary The Daily Telegraph, 21 April 2010.
  9. ^ "'Voice' of Tattoo dies aged 82". BBC News. 19 April 2010.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Dave Lee Travis
Eurovision Song Contest UK Commentator
Succeeded by
Terry Wogan