A Genealogical Study


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Born London, July 18, 1913. Died Woking, Surrey, May 30, 2008, aged 94.


A band leader and clarinet virtuoso for over seven decades, Nat (Nathan) Temple was also a popular radio and TV entertainer.


Son of an East End tailor, he was brought up in a musical family and started playing saxophone and clarinet in his teens. After experience in dance bands in Dublin and Margate, he joined Sam Costa, and then Harry Roy.


He had played under Harry's brother, Syd Roy, at the 1930 opening of the RKO cinema in Leicester Square and stayed some time with that orchestra.


In the Second World War, a a member of the Grenadier Guards from 1940, he played in army bands in Britain, Italy and North Africa. On leave he played with Geraldo and Ambrose dance bands and created his own broadcasting band for Jewish charity functions.


After the war, he gave the title of his BBC series, It's A Pleasure, to the band used for numerous Jewish fundraising events, with tickets ranging from 7/6d (37.5p) to a guinea (£1.05p).


The popularity and respectability of ballroom dancing made his band perfectly acceptable for a 1949 fundraising ball for the Orthodox Kibbutz Lavi at the Savoy Hotel - with supervised kosher dinner and 2-guinea tickets.


His Cub Royal Orchestra played at Society and university balls, holiday camps and student hops, and included Christmas parties at Windsor Castle.


As well as promoting singers such as Frankie Vaughan, he was a brilliant clarinettist, playing Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue and recording his own composition, Nattering Around, in 1946. He provided the resident house band for Decca Records.


In Melody Maker's 1949 dance band poll, Nat Temple came second in the small band section and the clarinet section, beaten in both cases by other Jewish performers.


He forged a new entertainment persona after teaming up with Canadian comedian Bernard Braden as music director on the popular 1950 Breakfast With Braden radio series.


Used by Braden as a stooge answering to the catchline "Play, Nat!", he developed the hesitant character into a popular comic foil on other shows, especially children's TV programmes - always with a sure musical touch.


By 1985, with a resident quartet in a West End hotel, he concentrated on recalling the classics of the 1930s and 40s, a development which featured in many of his later programmes.


In 1993, he was awarded the Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. In 1995 he was nominated for an Emmy for the music he composed for the two TV moving documentaries on the Chernobyl disaster, produced by his daughter, Mandy. He retired on his 90th birthday in 2003.


His wife, Freda, whom he married in 1944, died in 2006. He is survived by four daughters - Lynda, Susan, Mandy and Nikki - and six grandchildren.

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