Michael Billington, theatre critic for The Guardian for the last 48 years, has announced that he is stepping down from regular reviewing from the end of this year.
Certainly the most influential and extensively seasoned critic of our time, I have grown up reading his work, which always delivers; his succinct and incisive copy usually hits the critical nail on the head. His writing is the reason I started reading The Guardian, and all these decades later it is his work which has helped to keep me a loyal (paying) customer.
Sometimes I feel that more research has gone into his analysis than has gone into the actual production of some of the works he has sat through. His knowledge and experience is second to none, and I join the hundreds of thousands who have regularly enjoyed his work in saluting his contribution to the celebration of the English Theatre over the last half-century.
It is good to know that he will continue to write for the Guardian, but reviewing will miss his clarity.
Thank you, Mr Billington, from all those – including me- that you inspired to write, to work in theatre or just to go and see the show you wrote about.
Read the Guardian’s own tribute to Michael Billington here