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Of all the talented writers who have worked at The Argus over the years, perhaps the most brilliant was Jack Tinker.
He joined the paper in the 1960s after an apprenticeship on the Surrey Advertiser and quickly became the paper’s theatre critic.
Tinker established a reputation for incisive writing which went far beyond Brighton and attracted the attention of national newspapers.
In 1971 he moved to Fleet Street and for the last 25 years of his life he was theatre critic for the Dally Mail.
Although he became the foremost critic of his generation there, his best work was probably achieved on The Argus.
One reason is that the paper did not then produce its first edition until around noon, allowing plenty of time for Tinker to polish his prose, whereas in the West End he had to meet tight deadlines.
He was helped by the fact that at that time the Theatre Royal was used almost exclusively for shows on their way to the West End.
The great actor Sir Ralph Richardson once declared: “Go to Brighton and you will find a poet waiting to review you.”
Tinker was also the main interviewer for The Argus and editor Victor Gorringe insisted that these pieces appeared under the byline Luke Leavis to avoid the impression that the paper was a one-man show.
Flamboyantly gay at a time when there was still widespread prejudice against homosexuality, Tinker was an unmistakable figure in Brighton.
Only 5ft 2ins tall, he often wore brightly coloured garments but his conversation sparkled even more than his clothes.
He is still remembered by many regulars on the late night Brighton Belle service from Victoria, entertaining them with stories about shows he had just seen in London.
I remember him laughing uproariously at Alan Gale’s music hall entertainments on the old West Pier.
When he left The Argus, Alan Melville, president of the Brighton and Hove entertainment managers, presented him with a wooden spoon. He told Tinker, “You can stir things up in the West End as you have stirred them down here.”
He did, but Tinker was liked by the public and the performers for being fair, unlike some of his contemporaries who revelled in rancour. So when he gave a bad notice, a play was often doomed.
Always busy, he still found time for books, one on TV barons and the other on Coronation Street.
He also wrote two shows for the stage on Ethel Merman and his fellow Brighton resident, the playwright Sir Terence Rattigan.
But Tinker was perhaps unwise to cross the divide between the audience and actors when he appeared on stage in An Audience And A Critic, his own one-man show.
He was so much in love with the theatre that he wanted to be part of it as well as being its best-known critic.
Sadly he died suddenly in 1996 at the early age of 58. Many theatres dimmed their lights as a mark of respect, which had never been done for a critic before.
Performances of musicals such as Les Miserables were dedicated to his memory and a memorial service packed with stars was staged in his favourite venue, the Theatre Royal in New Road, Brighton.
A Brighton and Hove bus has been named after him and a bench is dedicated to his memory at St Nicholas Rest Garden.
Jack wrote his own epitaph many years earlier: “Loved the show, loathed the finale.”