Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge (24 March 1903 – 14 November 1990) was an English journalist and satirist. As a young man, Muggeridge was attracted to communism but he became a forceful anti-communist after travelling to the Soviet Union. During the Second World War he worked for the British government as a soldier and a spy. He converted to Christianity and helped bring Mother Teresa to popular attention in the West. He was also a critic of the sexual revolution and drug use. He wrote and published two volumes of an acclaimed autobiography Chronicles of Wasted Time.
Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge
24 March 1903
|Died||14 November 1990 (aged 87)|
|Alma mater||Selwyn College, Cambridge|
|Occupation||Journalist, author, satirist|
Muggeridge's father, Henry (known as H. T. Muggeridge) served as a Labour Party councillor in the local government of Croydon, South London, as a founder-member of the Fabian Society, and as a Labour Member of Parliament for Romford (1929–1931), during Ramsay MacDonald's second Labour government). Muggeridge's mother was Annie Booler.
The middle of five brothers, Muggeridge was born in Sanderstead, Surrey. He grew up in Croydon and attended Selhurst High School there, and then Selwyn College, Cambridge for four years. While still a student he had taught for brief periods in 1920, 1922 and 1924 at the John Ruskin Central School, Croydon, where his father was Chairman of the Governors. After graduating in 1924 with a pass degree in natural sciences he went to India for three years to teach English Literature at Union Christian College Aluva, Kerala. His writing career began during his time in Kerala, via an exchange of correspondence on war and peace with Mahatma Gandhi, with Muggeridge's article on the interactions being published in Young India, a local magazine.
Returning to Britain in 1927, he married Katherine "Kitty" Dobbs (1903–1994), the daughter of Rosalind Dobbs (a younger sister of Beatrice Webb). He worked as a supply teacher before moving to teach English Literature in Egypt six months later. Here he met Arthur Ransome, who was visiting Egypt as a journalist for the Manchester Guardian. Ransome recommended Muggeridge to the editors of the Guardian, who gave him his first job in journalism.
Initially attracted by Communism, Muggeridge and his wife travelled to Moscow in 1932, where he was to be a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, standing in for William Chamberlin, who was about to take a leave of absence. During Muggeridge's early time in Moscow, his main journalistic concentration was in completing a novel, Picture Palace, loosely based on his experiences and observations while at the Manchester Guardian. This was completed and submitted to publishers in January 1933, but there was concern by the publishers with potential libel claims and the published book was not distributed. Very few first edition copies exist today. This setback caused considerable financial difficulties for Muggeridge, who was not employed at the time, being paid only for articles which were accepted. Increasingly disillusioned by his close-up observation of communism in practice, Muggeridge decided to investigate reports of the famine in Ukraine, travelling there and to the Caucasus without first obtaining the permission of the Soviet authorities. The revealing reports he sent back to The Manchester Guardian in the diplomatic bag, thus evading censorship, were not fully printed and were not published under Muggeridge's name. At the same time, fellow journalist Gareth Jones, who had met Muggeridge in Moscow, published his own stories, the two accounts helping to confirm the extent of a forced famine which was politically motivated. Writing in The New York Times, Walter Duranty denied the existence of any famine, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Gareth Jones wrote letters to the Manchester Guardian in support of Muggeridge's articles about the famine.
Having come into conflict with British newspapers' editorial policy of not provoking the authorities in the Soviet Union, Muggeridge turned back to novel writing. He wrote Winter in Moscow (1934), which describes conditions in the "socialist utopia" and satirises Western journalists' uncritical view of the Soviet regime. He was later to call Duranty "the greatest liar I have met in journalism". Later, he began a writing partnership with Hugh Kingsmill. Muggeridge's politics changed from an independent socialist point of view to a right-wing religious stance that was no less critical of society. He wrote later:
I wrote in a mood of anger, which I find rather absurd now: not so much because the anger was, in itself, unjustified, as because getting angry about human affairs is as ridiculous as losing one's temper when an air flight is delayed.
After his time in Moscow, Muggeridge worked on other newspapers, including The Statesman in Calcutta, of which he was editor in 1934–1936. In this second stint in India, he lived by himself in Calcutta, having left behind his wife and children in London. (Between 1930 and 1936 the Muggeridges had three sons and a daughter.) His office was in the headquarters of the newspaper in Chowringhee.
When war was declared, Muggeridge went to Maidstone to join up but was sent away—"My generation felt they'd missed the First War, now was the time to make up." He was called into the Ministry of Information, which he called "a most appalling set-up", and then joined the army as a private. He joined the Corps of Military Police and was commissioned on the General List in May 1940. He transferred to the Intelligence Corps as a lieutenant in June 1942. Having spent two years as a Regimental Intelligence Officer in Britain, by 1942 he was in MI6, and had been posted to Lourenço Marques, capital of Mozambique, as a bogus vice-consul (called a Special Correspondent by London Controlling Section).
His mission was to prevent information about Allied convoys off the coast of Africa falling into enemy hands—he wrote later also that he attempted suicide at this time. After the Allied occupation of North Africa he was posted to Algiers as liaison officer with the French sécurité militaire. In this capacity he was sent to Paris at the time of the liberation, working alongside Charles de Gaulle's Free French Forces. He had a high regard for de Gaulle, and considered him a greater man than Churchill. He was warned to expect some anti-British feeling in Paris because of the attack on Mers-el-Kébir. In fact, Muggeridge (speaking on the BBC retrospective programme Muggeridge: Ancient & Modern) said that he encountered no such feeling—indeed he had been allowed, on occasion, to eat and drink for nothing at Maxim's. He was assigned to make an initial investigation into P. G. Wodehouse's five broadcasts from Berlin during the war. Though he was prepared to dislike Wodehouse, the interview became the start of a lifelong friendship and publishing relationship, as well as the subject for several plays. It was also during this period that he interviewed Coco Chanel in Paris, about the nature of her involvement with the Nazis in Vichy France during the war. Muggeridge ended the war as a Major, having received the Croix de Guerre from the French Government for undisclosed reasons.
He also wrote for the Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph, where he was appointed Deputy Editor in 1950. He was editor of Punch magazine from 1953 to 1957, a challenging appointment for one who claimed that "there is no occupation more wretched than trying to make the English laugh". One of his first acts was to sack the illustrator E. H. Shepard. In 1957 he received public and professional opprobrium for criticism of the British monarchy in a US magazine, The Saturday Evening Post. Given the title "Does England Really Need a Queen?", its publication was delayed by five months to coincide with the Royal State Visit to Washington, D.C. taking place later in the year. While the article was little more than a rehash of views expressed in a 1955 article "Royal Soap Opera", its timing caused outrage back in Britain, and he was sacked for a short period from the BBC, and a contract with Beaverbrook newspapers was cancelled. His notoriety propelled him into becoming a better-known broadcaster with a reputation as a tough interviewer.
He took to frequently denouncing the new sexual laxity of the 'swinging sixties' on radio and television. He particularly railed against "pills and pot"—birth control pills and cannabis. He was contemptuous of the Beatles.
His book Tread Softly for You Tread on My Jokes (1966), though acerbic in its wit, revealed a serious view of life. The title is an allusion to the last line of the poem Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by William Butler Yeats: "Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." In 1967, he preached at Great St Mary's, Cambridge, and again in 1970.
Having been elected rector of Edinburgh University, Muggeridge was goaded by the editor of The Student, Anna Coote, to support the call for contraceptive pills to be available at the University Health Centre. He used a sermon at St. Giles' Cathedral in January 1968, to resign the post in protest against the Student Representative Council's views on "pot and pills". This sermon was published under the title "Another King".
Muggeridge was also known for his wit and profound writings, often at odds with the opinions of the day: "Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream", he liked to quote. He wrote two volumes of an autobiography called Chronicles of Wasted Time (the title is a quotation from Shakespeare's sonnet 106). The first volume (1972) was The Green Stick. The second volume (1973) was The Infernal Grove. A projected third volume The Right Eye covering the post-war period was never completed.
An agnostic for most of his life, he became a Christian, publishing Jesus Rediscovered in 1969, a collection of essays, articles and sermons on faith. It became a best seller. Jesus: The Man Who Lives followed in 1976, a more substantial work describing the gospel in his own words. In A Third Testament, he profiles six spiritual thinkers, whom he called "God's Spies", who influenced his life: Augustine of Hippo, William Blake, Blaise Pascal, Leo Tolstoy, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Søren Kierkegaard. In this period he also produced several BBC religious documentaries, including In the Footsteps of St. Paul.
Muggeridge became a leading figure in the Nationwide Festival of Light in 1971, protesting against the commercial exploitation of sex and violence in Britain and advocating the teaching of Christ as the key to recovering moral stability in the nation. He said at the time: "The media today—press, television, and radio—are largely in the hands of those who favour the present Gadarene slide into decadence and Godlessness."
In 1979, along with Mervyn Stockwood, the Bishop of Southwark, he called John Cleese and Michael Palin "dishonest" during an edition of the chat show Friday Night, Saturday Morning. Muggeridge declared their film Life of Brian to be "buffoonery", "tenth-rate", "this miserable little film" and "this little squalid number". Muggeridge regarded the film as blasphemous, despite having arrived late for the showing, according to Palin, thus missing the two scenes in which Jesus and Brian were shown as different people. The comedians expressed disappointment in Muggeridge, whom all in Monty Python had previously respected as a satirist. Cleese said that his reputation had "plummeted" in his eyes, while Palin commented, "He was just being Muggeridge, preferring to have a very strong contrary opinion as opposed to none at all".
In 1982, aged 79, he was received into the Catholic Church along with his wife Kitty. This was largely under the influence of Mother Teresa, about whom he had written a book, Something Beautiful for God, setting out and interpreting her life. His last book Conversion (1988) describes his life as a 20th century pilgrimage, a spiritual journey.
In his book The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice and also in a 1994 documentary entitled Hell's Angel the journalist Christopher Hitchens derided Muggeridge as "that old fraud and mountebank". Hitchens dismissed as risible the account of a "divine light" miracle which Muggeridge said he had witnessed in Calcutta's House of the Dying. On viewing footage of the film Something Beautiful for God, Muggeridge attributed the clarity of the images to Teresa's "divine light". Although the more prosaic and realistic explanation was that the BBC cameraman had loaded a new faster film for some poorly lit indoor shots, Muggeridge promoted this "heavenly aura event" as a miracle narrative to the media. Hitchens considered that Muggeridge's subjective interpretation of the events he witnessed in Calcutta and the consequent publicity surrounding those events contributed to Mother Teresa's seraphic reputation.
An eponymous literary society was established on 24 March 2003, the occasion of his centenary, and it publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Gargoyle. The Malcolm Muggeridge Society, based in Britain, is progressively republishing his works. Muggeridge's papers are in the Special Collections at Wheaton College, Illinois.
In November 2008, on the 75th anniversary of the Ukraine famine, both Muggeridge and Jones were posthumously awarded the Ukrainian Order of Freedom to mark their exceptional services to the country and its people.
Malcolm Muggeridge's predatory behaviour towards women during his BBC years was brought to the attention of the public by a book about the recent history of the BBC. He is described as a "compulsive groper" reportedly being nicknamed "The Pouncer" and as "a man fully deserving of the acronym NSIT – not safe in taxis". While confirming the facts and the suffering inflicted on his family, his niece claimed that he changed his behaviour when he converted to Christianity in the 1960s.
| Deputy Editor of the Daily Telegraph
James Robertson Justice
| Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Alexander Roper "Alec" Vidler (1899 – July, 1991) was a noted English Anglican priest, theologian and church historian, who served as Dean of King's College, Cambridge for ten years from 1956 and then, following his retirement in 1966, as Mayor of Rye, Sussex.Alice in Wonderland (1966 TV play)
Alice in Wonderland (1966) is a BBC television play, shot on film, based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It was directed by Jonathan Miller, then best known for his appearance in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe.
Miller's production is unique among live-action Alice films in that he consciously avoided the standard Tenniel-inspired costume design and "florid" production values. Most of the Wonderland characters are played by actors in standard Victorian dress, with a real cat used to represent the Cheshire Cat. Miller justified his approach as an attempt to return to what he perceived as the essence of the story: "Once you take the animal heads off, you begin to see what it's all about. A small child, surrounded by hurrying, worried people, thinking 'Is that what being grown up is like?'"The play featured a number of prominent British actors including Michael Redgrave (as the Caterpillar), John Gielgud (as the Mock Turtle), and Peter Sellers (as the King of Hearts), as well as two of Miller's fellow cast members from Beyond the Fringe, Peter Cook and Alan Bennett as the Mad Hatter and the Mouse, respectively. The title role was played by Anne-Marie Mallik, the 13-year-old daughter of a Surrey barrister, this being her only known acting performance. Wilfrid Brambell played the White Rabbit, Michael Gough (who later appeared in Tim Burton's 2010 film adaptation) and Wilfrid Lawson were the March Hare and the Dormouse, Alison Leggatt was the Queen of Hearts, and Leo McKern did a drag turn as the Ugly Duchess. The journalist and broadcasting personality Malcolm Muggeridge was The Gryphon. John Bird played the Fish Footman. The play also featured a young Eric Idle, several years before Monty Python brought him notice, uncredited as a member of the Caucus Race. David Battley appears briefly as the Executioner.
Interior scenes were shot at Netley Hospital, a mid-19th-century building that was demolished not long after the film was made.The courtroom scene was shot at the BBC's Ealing Studios and involved the building of the largest set that Stage 2 at Ealing had ever seen.Ravi Shankar wrote the music for the production, which was first broadcast on 28 December 1966.Dick Bush
Richard Henry "Dick" Bush (24 June 1931 – 4 August 1997) was a prolific British cinematographer whose career spanned over thirty years. Among his films are Ken Russel's Savage Messiah, Mahler and Tommy, John Schlesinger's Yanks, and a number of films directed by Blake Edwards.After attending Plymouth Art College he was called up to serve in the Royal Military Police as an Officer after which he had various jobs, including working for Fry's Chocolate,and Clarks Shoes, where he began producing promotional films. This eventually landed him a job at the BBC in 1961, where he became part of the early outside broadcasting team and went with Malcolm Muggeridge to the film the Holy Land. While never leaving TV totally, he started working with feature films already in 1968.He won a BAFTA TV Award for Individual Honour in 1967, and in 1980 he was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Cinematography for Yanks. In 1982, he was nominated for a similar award by the British Society of Cinematographers for Victor Victoria. And in 1996, he was nominated for a Gemini Award for Best Photography in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series for The Man in the Attic.Friday Night, Saturday Morning
Friday Night, Saturday Morning was a television chat show with a revolving guest host. It ran on BBC2 from 28 September 1979 to 2 April 1982, broadcast live from the Greenwood Theatre, a part of Guy's Hospital. It was most notable for being the only television show to be hosted by a former British Prime Minister (Harold Wilson) and for an argument about the blasphemy claims surrounding the movie Monty Python's Life of Brian.
The programme was the idea of Iain Johnstone and Will Wyatt, who insisted on a changing presenter every fortnight. Another innovation was that the presenters chose the guests they were to interview.Heavens Above!
Heavens Above! is a 1963 British satirical comedy film starring Peter Sellers, directed by John and Roy Boulting, who also co-wrote along with Frank Harvey, from an idea by Malcolm Muggeridge. It is in much the same vein as the earlier collaboration between Sellers, Harvey and the Boultings, I'm All Right Jack.Hesketh Pearson
Edward Hesketh Gibbons Pearson (20 February 1887 – 9 April 1964) was a British actor, theatre director and writer. He is known mainly for his popular biographies; they made him the leading British biographer of his time, in terms of commercial success.Hugh Kingsmill
Hugh Kingsmill Lunn (21 November 1889 – 15 May 1949), who dropped his last name for professional purposes, was a versatile British writer and journalist. Writers Arnold Lunn and Brian Lunn were his brothers.Kitty Muggeridge
Kathleen Rosalind Dobbs Muggeridge (née Dobbs, born 8 December 1903 – 11 June 1994) was a British writer and translator.
She was born in Switzerland, where her parents, the former Rosalind Potter (Beatrice Webb's sister) and George Dobbs, were then living. Stafford Cripps was a cousin. The family returned to England when hostilities in the Great War began and she attended Bedales School, and briefly, in her early 20s, the London School of Economics. In 1927 she married the journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, and the couple eventually had three sons and a daughter.
With his wife, Muggeridge was posted to the Soviet Union in 1932 by the Manchester Guardian. Then admirers of the Bolsheviks, the couple described this as "a wondrous development", but quickly became completely disillusioned when they saw what was happening in the country. Kitty's aunt, Beatrice Webb, who with her husband Sidney Webb, 1st Baron Passfield had recently defended the Soviet Union in their book Soviet Communism: A New Civilization?, called Muggeridge's Manchester Guardian articles "an hysterical tirade", but was more restrained in her private communications with the couple.With Ruth Adam, she wrote Beatrice Webb: A Life 1858–1943 (1967), which although more a memoir than a scholarly book, was positively reviewed at the time. Her 1967 remark about the broadcaster David Frost - "he rose without trace" - has been much quoted over the years.Like her husband, she became an admirer of the Calcutta based nun Mother Teresa, about whom she wrote in a book entitled Bright Legacy (1983), a work published the year after the couple had become Catholics. In this period she translated two books by Jean Pierre de Caussade, the 18th century French Jesuit priest.
Following the death of her husband in 1990, Kitty Muggeridge lived with her son John and daughter-in-law in Welland, Ontario, Canada, where she died in June 1994.Malcolm Muggeridge Meets Australians
Malcolm Muggeridge Meets Australians is a short-lived Australian television series which aired in 1958, which featuring British interviewer Malcolm Muggeridge. The series was produced in Sydney and was also shown in Melbourne via telerecordings. In Sydney it aired on ATN-7, and in Melbourne it aired on GTV-9, as this was prior to the creation of the Seven Network and Nine Network. An episode may be held by National Film and Sound Archive.Marilyn Gillies Carr
Marilyn Gillies Carr (born 16 December 1941) is a Scottish woman from Dundee. She was born without arms or hands and uses her feet for all activities of daily living.She appeared with Douglas Bader in the documentary film Two of a Kind in 1971, which contrasted his life as a double-leg amputee with hers as a person with no arms. The programme showed many scenes of Marilyn going about her daily life; at home, at work and also driving her car with her feet. She also appeared on Grampian Television on the programme The Wednesday People in 1972.
She married Barry Carr, an R.A.F. pilot in 1973. Marilyn has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Douglas Bader Community Garden charity, based in Cupar, Fife. Marilyn was Chair of the charity for a period, but resigned for personal reasons.
She ran in the Croydon North West by-election in 1981 as an Independent Pro-Life candidate. She won 340 votes, 1% of the total votes. Malcolm Muggeridge was a friend during this time.Park Hill Recreation Ground
Park Hill Recreation Ground is a 15 acres (6.1 ha) park near the centre of Croydon, Greater London, managed by the London Borough of Croydon. It runs from Barclay Road to Coombe Road beside the railway line, with the main entrances on Water Tower Hill and Barclay Road. The nearest stations (equidistant to the park) are East Croydon to the north for Tramlink and National Rail services and South Croydon to the south for National Rail.
At the southern end, at the very top of the hill which forms the park, it joins the grounds of Coombe Cliff once the home of members of the Horniman Tea family. From there a steep drive winds down to Coombe Road where a footpath leads to South Croydon railway station for National Rail. The grounds now form part of the park and are open to the public, but the house itself, is not. As of October 2018, it is used for educational purposes. Where the drive meets Coombe Road there is a further entrance and a gatehouse, which is now privately owned for residential purposes.
Previously the site of a reservoir, the land became a public park in the 1880s. The park contains standard amenities, including refreshments and sports facilities, as well as a walled herb garden.In his memoirs, the Chronicles of Wasted Time (1973), Malcolm Muggeridge recalls the park as a childhood playgound where he and his father often walked together and discussed socialism and world affairs.Science and Conscience
Science and Conscience is a Canadian current affairs television miniseries which aired on CBC Television in 1968.Something Beautiful for God
Something Beautiful for God is a 1971 book by Malcolm Muggeridge on Mother Teresa. The book was based on a 1969 documentary on Mother Teresa (also entitled Something Beautiful for God) that Muggeridge had undertaken.In his book Muggeridge, a former left-wing radical who became a stridently religious anti-communist, described in glowing terms the work of Mother Teresa's order of nuns in Calcutta's House of the Dying.
The book was first published by Harper Collins (ISBN 978-0002157698).The American Spectator
The American Spectator is a conservative U.S. monthly magazine covering news and politics, edited by Emmett Tyrrell and published by the non-profit American Spectator Foundation.
From 1967 until the late 1980s, the magazine featured the writings of authors such as Thomas Sowell, Tom Wolfe, P.J. O'Rourke, George F. Will, Malcolm Gladwell, Patrick J. Buchanan, and Malcolm Muggeridge. During the 1990s, the magazine was better known for its reports on Bill Clinton and its "Arkansas Project," funded by businessman Richard Mellon Scaife and the Bradley Foundation. The American Spectator has carried articles by Thomas Sowell, a regular column by economist and celebrity Ben Stein, as well as former Reagan aide Jeffrey Lord, conservative health care consultant David Catron, and editorial director Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, as well as occasional articles by P.J. O'Rourke.The Swoop! and Other Stories
The Swoop! and Other Stories is a collection of early short stories and a novella by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the United States on April 11, 1979 by The Seabury Press, New York City, four years after Wodehouse's death.
The collection was edited and introduced by Wodehouse's biographer, David A. Jasen, and featured an "appreciation" by Malcolm Muggeridge. The Swoop! (a satirical spoof) was published as a book in the United Kingdom in 1909, and many of the stories had previously appeared in magazines. Two of them also featured in the UK collection Tales of St. Austin's (1903), and four in The Man Upstairs (1914).The Uncollected Wodehouse
The Uncollected Wodehouse is a collection of short stories by P. G. Wodehouse. First published in the United States on November 9, 1976 by Seabury Press, New York City, it contains 14 short stories, five of which had appeared in the United Kingdom in the 1914 collection The Man Upstairs. All had previously appeared in UK. periodicals between 1901 and 1915; some had also appeared in the U.S.
The collection was edited and introduced by David A. Jasen, and features a foreword by Malcolm Muggeridge.Things Past
Things Past may refer to:
Things Past (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), an episode of the television series
Things Past (Malcolm Muggeridge), a 1978 anthology by Malcolm Muggeridge
Things Past, a 1944 novel by Michael Sadleir
Things Past, a 1929 memoir by Vittoria Colonna, Duchess of SermonetaThings Past (Malcolm Muggeridge)
Things Past is a 1978 anthology of writings by Malcolm Muggeridge. The earliest entry is dated 1928, the last 1978, the year of publication. The range of subjects is largely autobiographical, including Muggeridge's encounters with Kim Philby and others of his generation.Whatlington
Whatlington is a village and civil parish in the Rother district of East Sussex, England. The village is located seven miles (11 km) north of Hastings, just off the A21 road.
The village is in two parts, one in the valley on the road from Battle, where the church and the parish hall lie on either side of the stream, and one a mile or so further on the main A21 to Hastings, with a triangular village green in front of the Royal Oak pub. Like most country pubs, the Royal Oak is now part restaurant. For many years, it underwent a one-night transformation when the entire London Philharmonic Orchestra would stop for a pint in evening dress on the way back from playing at Hastings.The Norman parish church is dedicated to St Mary Magdalene; the yew tree which stood there until 1987 was traditionally thought to be one thousand years old, and to have been used by William the Conqueror to hang members of King Harold's personal guard. Malcolm Muggeridge lived with his family in Whatlington; both he and his wife are buried in the churchyard.
A large, now disused, chapel is a prominent feature on the main road: it now serves as a commercial business.