Kit's Head only1Kit Hesketh-Harvey

Kit was born in Nyasaland, where his father was District Commissioner. He was sent to England to be educated as a cathedral chorister at Canterbury, at Tonbridge, and at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was a Choral Scholar under John Rutter, and a member of the Footlights.

After producing arts documentaries at BBC TV Music and Arts, he left to write screenplays for Merchant Ivory, including Maurice. Subsequent screenwriting has included Full Throttle and The Vicar Of Dibley for Tiger-Aspect, Hans Christian Andersen for Hallmark, and The Lost Explorer for Tim Walker.

In 1982, he began working at the Comedy Store with Kit and the Widow, a two-man musical satire for which he wrote the songs. They were thrice nominated in the West End for Olivier Awards. Apart from their own series on BBC Radios 3 and 4, and two specials on C4 TV, they starred in Y at the Piccadilly Theatre, Salad Days at the Vaudeville Theatre, and Tomfoolery and Cowardy Custard (national tours co-starring Dillie Keane) and in their guide to opera, The Fat Lady Sings. They were frequently seen on the West End and international circuits as paid escorts to Joan Rivers. In 2011, they co-starred at the Royal Albert Hall in the first ever BBC Comedy Prom: their final appearance on stage together.

As a librettist/lyricist, Kit won the Vivian Ellis award with James McConnel for Writing Orlando, and studied at Oxford under Stephen Sondheim, where they wrote Yusupov (Sydmonton Festival and Bridewell Theatre). His opera translations include The Daughter of the Regiment (ETO), The Turk In Italy and La Belle Helene (ENO), The Bartered Bride (ROH), and Die Fledermaus and The Magic Flute (Scottish Opera), The Marriage of Figaro (Armonico Consort), Veronique (Buxton), Le Roi Malgre Lui and Bluebeard (Grange Park), and The Merry Widow for Opera North and Australian Opera (currently in repertoire). His libretto for Varjak Paw, to music by Julian Philips, went to the Linbury, Covent Garden and the Aldeburgh Festival, and Monteverdi Dying is currently on tour with Armonico.

West End librettos include The Beautiful and the Damned (Queens) and Edna: The Spectacle (Haymarket). He produced The Caribbean Tempest, starring Kylie Minogue, in Barbados and Sydney, and directed, for Merry Opera, Troy Boy (his adaptation of La Belle Helene), and La Traviata (currently on tour). He presents TV and radio programmes on antiques, cabaret, chanson and domestic architecture, and is a regular panellist on Radio 4’s Just A Minute. Kit has sung to the British troops in Kabul, and for his column in Country Life was named Writer Of The Year.

Married to the actress, academic and Bond Girl Kate Rabett, they have two children, and divide their time between homes in Norfolk and Cornwall.

Kit’s hobbies include riding, mushrooming, surfing, and painting almost as badly as he plays the piano.