Musical producer

Denis Moriarty – Mayor of Henley and BBC TV producer

DENIS MORIARTY, who died on August 15, aged 87, was mayor of Henley for the civic year 1975-76.

BBC TV producer, he and his wife Tessa had moved from Hampstead to a house in Ancastle Green in 1967.

The couple, who married in 1964, had son Edmund in 1972 and daughter Eleanor in 1975.

In 1968 Denis became independent on Henley Borough Council. He was re-elected in 1971 as union councilor and became chairman of the finance committee.

He stood for Labor as the parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Abingdon in both general elections in 1974, finishing second each time.

Denis was able to use his year as mayor to spread his enthusiasm for the war poet Wilfred Owen whose memorial stone at All Saints Church in Dunsden was unveiled three years later.

In 1977 the family moved from Ancastle Green to Rotherfield Grays and two years later moved back to west London.

Denis Edmund Hugh Moriarty was born in West Wickham, Kent, on July 27, 1935, but his family soon moved to Reading and Denis grew up in Tilehurst. He attended Reading School where he became a school captain and leader of the school’s Dramatic and Lyrical Societies and Debating Society.

He won a scholarship to read history at St John’s College, Oxford, but postponed it to undertake his national service, which was spent with the Royal Berkshire Regiment as a junior, much of it at Goslar, in Germany, along with a number of other old school boys. He took his place at St John’s in 1956, becoming President of the Junior Common Room, acting with the University Dramatic Society and earning his MA (Class II Modern History).

In 1959, he joined the BBC, where he spent 32 years. Among the programs for which he was responsible as television producer were a series on English towns with Alec Clifton Taylor, Face the music with Joseph Cooper, One Hundred Great Paintings, Master Architect Edwin Lutyens and The Triumph of the West.

His life at the Beeb revolved around music and the arts, which were his lifelong interests. For a few years he sang with the Philharmonia Chorus.

He married a second time in 1979 to Brigid Beattie, née Green, whose maternal grandmother had owned the Three Horseshoes in Henley. They had a son.

Brigid had achieved national fame as a pioneering pedagogue for which she was appointed CBE. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 61.

At the end of his career at the BBC, Denis began conducting study courses at music festivals at home and abroad. He has lectured extensively for the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies for 37 years beginning in 1985 and has led architectural and historical tours around the world.

He was also a published author and a past president of the Old Redingensians Association, reflecting his lifelong loyalty to Reading School.

In 2014 he married Jinnie Chalton, who survives him with his children.

Ken Brown