London, July 18, 1913. Died Woking, Surrey, May 30, 2008, aged
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
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
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).
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
His Cub Royal
Orchestra played at Society and university balls, holiday camps
and student hops, and included Christmas parties at Windsor
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.
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.
Freda, whom he married in 1944, died in 2006. He is survived by
four daughters - Lynda, Susan, Mandy and Nikki - and six