Students Staff

12 January 2017

Professor Anthony King

Filed under: Latest news — Communications Office @ 12:02 pm
Professor Anthony King

Professor Anthony King

It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of our colleague Professor Anthony King.

Our Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “Professor Anthony King was a giant of political science and one of the University of Essex’s longest serving members of staff, joining us in 1966 just two years after the University opened.

“An inspirational teacher, a great political thinker and a brilliant writer, Professor King analysed politics in books and on television with incredible intelligence, insight and wit. Our thoughts are with his family and his friends, including his many, many former students.”

Close friend and colleague Professor David Sanders, Regius Professor in the Department of Government, said: “Tony was the intellectual heart of the Department of Government at Essex. He was the clearest and most compelling lecturer I have ever observed and the very best writer working in contemporary political science. His facility for making complex arguments accessible to audiences of all kinds was unparalleled. His personal kindness was immense. I will miss him more than I can say.”

Further tributes from David Dimbleby and John Bercow MP can be seen on our news page, alongside an obituary by the Political Studies Association.

If you would like to leave your own tribute please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. Please note comments will be moderated so there may be a delay in publication.


74 responses to “Professor Anthony King”

  1. When I arrived at Essex in 1998 to commence my PhD in politics, I was told that my supervisor would be Tony Barker with whom we later bonded throughout my studies until I completed my studies in 2002. However, it was not long before my arrival that I discovered that there was ‘another Tony”, who I later learned was Prof Anthony King. As everyone has said about him so far in this blog, Prof King was larger than life, approachable, inspiring, and possibly the main ‘spirit of the party’ in the Department of Government at Essex. For this, I join others in stating that we have truly lost an academic giant from whom I have learnt immensely. I particularly learnt from him that political scientists should equally engage in public debate even through the media inasmuch as they passionately devote their time to their students within the university. I convey my condolences to his dear family during this time of sorrow.

  2. Nasser Amin says:

    Very sad news. I will always remember Prof King’s inspirational Monday morning lectures that made think about politics in a fresh way. Despite his research responsibilities, he was never too busy to further discuss matters with students. He will be sorely missed.
    Nasser Amin

  3. Mark Hopwood says:

    I’m not an academic and I didn’t know Professor King as well as some who have written here. Yet, like many others his presence at Essex attracted me to the institution and his lectures stood out as the highlight of my undergraduate degree.

    He was hugely respected by students and the reputation of the government course at Essex was much enhanced by his presence. I suspected students of other disciplines were slightly envious the we had such a academically strong personality teaching us!

    Election nights are poorer for his absence.

    My condolences to his family.

  4. Li Moon nee Sorbie says:

    Social sciences common first year 1971. Tony King was always interesting to listen to in his lectures. because he was so enthusiastic about the subject,always looked out for him in the media.

  5. Justice Dr Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque says:

    We have lost someone whose loss can not be filled up. May the almighty rest his soul in peace.

  6. Gary Fuller says:

    I was taught by Professor King during Introduction to Politics in 1998/9. Although it wasn’t part of my main degree, completing that module (and reading On Liberty as a result) had a significant effect on my future. I’m now an active campaigner for a political party and a parish Councillor to boot. That despite the feedback I got from my first essay for Professor King, which was roughly “I like what you’re saying, but it’s patently clear you’ve not done any research”. Professor King will truly be missed. He was literally an inspiration.

  7. Artemis Hadjigeorgiou says:

    Professor King has always been an inspiration for me throughout my years in Essex and after. He was a great teacher, a true man, an incredible lecturer. My dear condolences to his family. Rest in peace.

  8. Colin Billett says:

    I’m afraid I’ve long forgotten any academic side, but Tony King was my personal tutor for two years in the early ’70s, and I shall always remember him with huge affection. Warm, sincere, ever supportive, and so fondly remembered.

  9. Valerie Schicker-Hill says:

    My 1985 MA course in Political Economy straddled both the Departments of Economics and Government and it was a great privilege to be able to listen in on one of Professor King’s lectures.

    As quoted by Terry Pratchett — ‘Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?’ I am sure Professor King’s name will continue to be spoken for generations to come.

    Condolences to his family and friends and all those colleagues and students whose lives he touched.

  10. Eric Finch says:

    He was my Tutor and pastoral adviser. A great man with great idears and a great compassion. He will be sadly missed.

  11. Nick Jones says:

    I was a second year undergrad in 74/75. I was in awe of Professor King and he offered a prize to his British Politics lecture population of. Bottle of champagnes for who was champagne for the person who came closest to predicted the general election result. By duke I won but he spent an individual half hour with me that I have treasured ever since!

  12. Keith Slater says:

    His gentle Canadian accent captivated you and his lectures left you enchanted and enlightened whatever the topic.

  13. Lauren says:

    Very saddened to hear the news of Professor King’s passing. I studied politics in my first year at Essex in 2007 and always found his lectures fascinating and completely engrossing. My thoughts go to his family and friends.

  14. Ian Shannon says:

    I studied Government at Essex from 1978 – 1981, Professor King was inspirational; his lectures were well prepared and compelling and his course on major writings in political science allowed students the opportunity to explore their own political ideas whilst being exposed to a diverse range of thought. He was also kind and thoughtful and prepared to give generously of his time to undergraduates. He will be missed.

  15. Justice Nwobike says:

    What a sad news. The University of Essex has lost a giant in the field of Politics with the death of Professor Anthony King. May his Soul Rest in Peace

  16. Paul Pinder says:

    I studied Government at Essex from 1980-83. Professor King was an inspiration to me. His love and passion for the British political scene rubbed off on me and I retain it to this day. Seeing him on Election Night was a source of pride to me and it was a privilege to have been taught by one of the Greats of his genre.
    He is sorely missed.

  17. Kevin Featherstone says:

    Tony was an inspiring teacher and I greatly appreciated his enthusiasm and support. He and his colleagues opened new doors for me and helped me achieve more than I could have dreamt of. Tony’s inimitable teaching style was also fun; while stimulating, lucid and accessible to all. Generations of students are not only in his debt, they will also look back with a smile and count themselves amongst the most fortunate of all. As his office door put it: ‘A. King’.
    Kevin Featherstone, Head, European Institute, LSE.

  18. David Grove says:

    I studied Government from 1980 to 1983 at Essex, Tony King was the best lecturer, I enjoyed listening to him and followed his career thereafter, he left a big impression on me. I remember bumping into him in London a year after I had left and he stopped to talk to me which I greatly appreciated. Thank you for making politics interesting.

  19. John Rabson says:

    One year in the early 1970s Tony King was, sadly, widowed and decided not to appear on BBC Election Night Special. Instead he kindly agreed to take part in a discussion programme on University Radio Essex, to people’s delight. At the midpoint of the programme he indicated he was thirsty and drinks were brought in. He pointed at one of the cups and politely asked “what is that liquid?” It was of course Coffee Bar Coffee. History does not record whether he drank it.
    John Rabson (Electrical Engineering 1970-3)

  20. Simba says:

    Sincerely saddened by the passing on of Professor K. He was truly a remarkable person especially when it came to his knowledge and understanding of politics, not to mention the way he disseminated it. He taught me just a couple of years before celebrating 40 years or his “Ruby anniversary” at the University of Essex.
    My fellow colleagues “class of 08” and I were always amazed by the way in which he delivered his lectures, he made us feel as though we were receiving a consultation; be it one in which you had to take notes on almost everything he said.
    He will without doubt be greatly missed at the university and in academia as a whole, let alone British politics. Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones.

  21. Richard Woollaston says:

    I was an undergraduate student in Government at Essex from 1972. Tony King was an inspiration to me – first in his introductory lectures, and subsequently involving me in a couple of research assignments. I can only echo the comments made above about his rigour, humanity, tolerance, humour and insight. The impact he made has remained an important part of my life and my only regret is never having found the words to thank him for this; there are only a very few people one meets in life able to make such a difference. British Politics is certainly the richer for his contribution, and the poorer for his departure. My condolences to his wife Jan, family and colleagues.

  22. Peter Hobbs says:

    Professor King was the reason I chose Essex for my postgraduate study in the 1970’s: he was simply the best. He was also a principal reason why I went on to work in The Cabinet Office. 40 years later, when I saw he had been awarded the Political Studies Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, I emailed him my congratulations, ending by briefly saying how much I had enjoyed reading ‘The Blunders of Our Governments.’ Typical of the man, his reply was prompt, modest (he did not mention his award) and made the recipient glad to have contacted him: Tony’s words say so much about the quality of the man it seems only right to quote them: “Many thanks for your kind remarks and taking the trouble to write. I’m glad you enjoyed Blunders. Funnily enough, they seem to be reading it in the Netherlands and I’ve been invited to spend a day talking to politicians and officials in the Dutch prime minister’s office! Will wonders never cease? Many thanks again. Tony”. Thank you Sir: you were an inspiration to so many of us.

  23. J Clements says:

    As with many other students, Professor Anthony King was a large part of the reason I decided to study at the University of Essex. When I first met him I was quite frankly over-awed at meeting the man himself but he quickly put me at my ease with his civility and charm. I used to attend the Tuesday evening seminars the department held each week with a guest speaker. Prof King always called on me to ask a question if one occurred to me and I remember him smiling encouragingly as I did so. That he was kind enough to allow me to join in alongside other members of the department has always stayed with me. I was genuinely saddened to hear of his passing. My thoughts are with his family.

  24. Barry Gilheany says:

    Although I was never directly taught by him, I did some work for him during my PhD years at Essex in the 90s marking essays and sat in on his wonderful lectures to first year students when working as a Teaching Assistant in the Government Department.

    I was very impressed by his kindness and unpretentious manner which betrayed his enormous intellect and erudition.

    A true academic giant. Will we ever see his like again?

  25. James Spence says:

    I was a postgraduate in political behaviour at Essex in 1967-8 and represented the politics graduate students in my year. Tony King was one of our interlocutors during troubled times. But he remained positive and upheld the University’s commitment to its graduate students with admirable equanimity, wisdom, and a sense of humour. He was a great political scientist of the modern generation whose example served to guide me in my early career as an opinion pollster and survey researcher; a sad loss. Condolences to his family and friends.

  26. Mihir Shah says:

    Anthony King was a highlight of my time at Essex in the early ’80s. His lectures and classes were always the best among his peers in a Department of Government of high distinction.
    By illuminating a subject with sincerity, profound wisdom and anecdotes he possessed a gift for imparting knowledge and skills that would last a lifetime.
    I was fortunate to have been at the Buxton Festival in 2015 to see him presenting to a captivated audience on “Who Governs Britain?”
    Fond memories and deep gratitude. Thank you.

  27. Jonathan Slater says:

    I was taught by Tony when I did seminar on comparative executives in my final year of my Politics degree from 97-98. In the same year he was my thesis adviser on when I looked at the relationship between the Labour Party and the Trade Union Movement.

    I found him to be a first class tutor who brought to his teaching decades of knowledge and experience of how politics and government functioned in the UK and in other Western democracies.

    One class I remember is when he invited his friend and fellow academic Richard Neustadt who talked about the powers of the US presidency. Seeing them both in action was a treat and an honour.

    Overall he was a brilliant teacher, academic and pundit, who know alot in his field, as well as famous political people who he would always drop into the conversation!

    RIP Tony.

  28. Ben Smith says:

    There are times in your life when someone leaves who you can genuinely say played a huge part in making you who you are. It was seeing, listening and reading Professor King that first made me apply to the University of Essex, his teaching much of what made the course some of the greatest years of my life, his brain an incredible mine of information about British politics and his analysis astute and dispassionate. I am sure I would not be in the place I am today without him. Goodbye, and thank you for everything.

  29. Todd Landman says:

    I first read Tony’s work as a graduate student in the US and was so pleased to join the Department of Government in 1993 and work alongside him. I will never forget his ‘Big Beast’ lecture on British politics, which was not only about UK politicians but it was also autobiographical in many ways. Tony was part of the original vision of political science at Essex: the use of evidence and sound argument, comparative government, and actual ethnographic knowledge of politics and politicians. He was equally comfortable with statistics and history, and he was a real stickler for the use of high quality writing. He was very supportive throughout my time at Essex, and he inspired so many staff and students to go on and do great things. Whenever traveling abroad and I mention Essex, I am frequently greeted with ‘ah, Essex, that’s where Anthony King is!’ He was a great figure, a great man, and he will be sorely missed.

  30. Pippa Norris says:

    One of the outstanding giants in political science, with a tremendous gift for communicating complex issues to a broader public audience, omnivorous intellectual interests in British and American politics, and a love of conversation and debate. A real loss to the academic world.

  31. Unlike many of the tributes and fine ones at that, I did not know Professor King personally. It is through his appearances on the BBC alongside David Dimbleby and others at General Elections and other polls which lead me here.

    Professor King was undoubtedly a shrewd political observer and if your party of choice was having a bad night at the polls, Professor King would explain and tell you a few home truths about why it happened.

    Thank you, Professor Anthony King for enriching my life and may your soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace, Amen.

  32. Linda Belgrove says:

    I joined Essex University in 2014. In my very first year I chose an additional module in politics – I was opinionated without knowledge. Prof Anthony King was my lecturer. As a mature student of 61yrs I was spellbound – the most complex political debates were unraveled and we poor students were made to think, to care, to take responsibility for our world.
    I asked Prof King if he would meet with some of us first year students – could hardly believe it when he agreed despite an enormous workload & commitments. I will cherish that one hour meeting. Prof Tony King was a giant in the field of political science, he changed the (my) world – he taught ‘enlightenment’ !
    Sincere condolences to his wife and family.

  33. Annie Jones says:

    Anthony King was the reason I chose to attend Essex – one of the best decisions of my life – and made an indelible impression on my time there.

    As an undergraduate, I read the book he and Ivor Crewe co-authored on the Social Democratic Party. The book was an instant favorite of mine, a mix of biography, psephology and history, a story told with humanity and humor. The book put the Government Department of the University of Essex on the map for me, and was a large part of why I attended their masters program two years later, one of the best years of my life.

    Once at Essex, he called me into his office to offer me a short-term position as a research assistant for his forthcoming book. Our conversation ranged from the foibles of government ministers to a discussion of my own background and family in Texas. He immediately sized me up, and knew exactly the right questions to take my measure. He had an instinctive grasp of human motivations, evident not only in his writing but also in his personal interactions.

    I was very honored to work for him. He was an exceptional man, and I extend my sympathies to his family.

  34. Chris Corner says:

    I was very sad to hear this news about the man who was by far the biggest influence on my university years, and therefore much of my life overall. Professor King was the reason I chose to study at Essex in the early 90s. As a tutor and subsequently a mentor, he was a constant source of encouragement, not only to my academic work but also my extra-curricular political activities. I hope that he realised how highly regarded he was by so very many people.

  35. Jeff King says:

    Some university lecturers give the impression that teaching and pesky undergraduates are inconveniences that get in the way of their true metier, writing and researching. Professor King was the polar opposite. His lectures were impeccably prepared and delivered with contagious enthusiasm, his classes were the highlight of the politics timetable, and the door to his office was always open. Where many lecturers fed you scrawls in the margin of your essays, Professor King gave you meticulously typed feedback. And he was scrupulously fair; I got a First in Government (1984) despite rudely questioning both his impartiality and the politics of the SDP in the letters pages of The Guardian! Essex University won’t be the same without him.

  36. Natasha Ezrow says:

    I met Tony in 2007 when I was just an adjunct professor. He was incredibly nice to me and helpful to me back them. After telling him that I was interested in Middle East Politics, he left me a wonderful book on the topic and helped me get in touch with a Middle East scholar, based at Oxford. He continued to take an interest in me and other staff members, while also remaining very passionate about the direction of the university, teaching etc. All the students who took one of his classes loved him, as did his colleagues. He was a great guy and will be greatly missed.

  37. Nick Allen says:

    Professor Anthony King, 1934-2017

    Tony King died yesterday. He was my PhD supervisor, mentor, occasional employer, co-author and friend. It’s almost impossible to accept the fact that someone so full of life and energy is no longer with us. His death has been all the more surreal for the publicity it has attracted, whether on the airwaves and on social media, or in the pages of newspapers. I wonder what he would have made of it?

    I owe Tony so much. It is difficult to exaggerate the influence he has had on my academic career. No one has come close to shaping it as much as he did. He was the master of his trade, and I have learnt more from him than anyone else, with the exception of my parents.

    Anyone wishing to be reminded of Tony’s great professional achievements has only to read his nomination for the PSA’s Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies, which he received in 2015. I don’t want or need to rehearse his academic accomplishments here. Instead I want to say a few things about Tony as I knew him.

    I was well aware of Tony and his work long before I arrived in Colchester in September 2002. I had read some of his books and essays as an undergraduate, I had watched him on television, and I had avidly read his columns in the Daily Telegraph. His reputation and stature preceded him.

    It was with some trepidation, then, that I had my first meeting with him three months later to discuss a possible PhD project. I was hugely nervous upon going into his office, a feeling that was only exacerbated by the awe-inspiring number of books on his shelves. Tony, of course, was engaging and supportive throughout the meeting. But I was still nervous when I left.

    Over the following months and years, Tony was a supervisor par excellence. He was always encouraging, always critical and always generous with his time. I was amazed at his ability to engage with the details in my work while simultaneously seeing the bigger picture. I was also amazed at the amount of feedback he offered. With his favourite brand of red felt-tip pen, he would comment on and edit my writing line by line. Sometimes so much red ink was spilt that it looked like an animal had been sacrificed.

    So many memories spring to mind when I think of Tony. There was the time when I helped him to spring clean his office, which involved a great deal of book-sorting and shelf-dusting (with an appropriately damp duster). There were the many hours I spent sorting through newspapers and cutting out articles for him on this or that subject. There were the many lunches I had with him, including one where we consumed two bottles of wine between us. Needless to say, he went back to work, whereas I had to go home and lie down on the sofa. Then there were the trips to his house and shared journeys on the train, where he would offer his thoughts on any number of subjects. And there were also his many notes and letters of encouragement, some of which I still carry in my briefcase to this day.

    Tony’s support did not end with my PhD. He continued to provide professional guidance and counsel when I left Essex, as well as comments on my work. I felt especially proud the day I was able to welcome him to Royal Holloway and introduce a talk on his then forthcoming book about American democracy.

    Tony’s understanding of politics was staggering. He knew so much. But he also knew a great deal about so many other things. He might as well have been a professor of music, viticulture, architecture, literature and history, as well as of government. He was a walking academy.

    Tony was also very human. He had enormous generosity of spirit and possessed a great capacity for kindness. He remembered the little things. At the same time, he never shied away from saying what he thought. Sometimes this tendency could be discomfiting; but it was always well meant. Above all, Tony had a sunny disposition. He was jolly. Time with him, like his ties, was never dull. He was a realist in life and in his politics, but he was a realist of the most optimistic kind.

    I shall greatly miss Tony’s jolliness, his energy, his intellect, his experience and knowledge, his waspish sense of humour and his infectious chuckle. I shall miss his anecdotes and insights, his turns of phrase, and his observations about the state of the world. I shall greatly miss him, my supervisor, my mentor, my friend.

  38. David Claydon says:

    I am so saddened to hear of the death of Prof King.

    When I arrived at Essex as an undergraduate (BA Govt) in 1991, I had no idea of the effect that Tony King would have on my life. The rigour, energy, insight and enthusiasm that he personified was a hallmark of my time in Colchester. As a lowly undergraduate, he always took time to talk inside and outside office hours. He inspired me to succeed, and was part of gaining confidence in myself which propelled me through a career inside and outside of government and business.

    I always read his comments, always followed his thoughts. If the BBC had him in the studio to talk, everything was silenced to listen.

    I offer my sincere condolence to his family, and warmest wishes to all of those feeling so sad at the loss of a great and generous man.

  39. Peter Blois says:

    I am saddened to hear of the passing of Professor Anthony King. He was one of the main reasons I undertook to study Government at Essex. His lectures were so wonderfully coherent and cogent, it was a privilege to hear his expositions. He was also very generous with his time always finding room in his schedule to discuss issues with an undergraduate like me. He even telephoned me at home to congratulate me on getting a First and when I told him he was the first to tell me the good news he was delighted. Farewell to a true giant in his field.
    Rest in peace, Professor King.

  40. Maria Stanford says:

    I am privileged to have been taught by Professor King. He was an outstanding academic, as we all know. What many people don’t know, is that he was also an outstanding teacher and this was in the days when many university lecturers saw teaching as a bit of a nuisance. He was engaging, interesting and challenging and clearly loved to share knowledge and help people to learn.
    I was then luckily to chat with him years later at an event at the House of Commons and I was still inspired.
    My sympathy to Tony’s family on their personal loss and my gratitude to him for truly making a difference to many, many lives.

  41. Aletta Norval says:

    Tony’s sharp intellect, combined with his exceptional civility, made him an outstanding colleague, who will be sorely missed. In Departmental matters he always emphasized our responsibilities as educators funded by public money. He was a truly inspirational figure. My thoughts are with his family.

  42. Chris Riley says:

    I was taught by Anthony King in my first term in the School of Comparative Studies in 1968. Terrified 18 year old girl from a very working class home and feeling I shouldn’t be at a university really. He told me that I SHOULD. He was a brilliant scholar and political analyst but above all a man who ‘understood’ people.

  43. David Goosey says:

    Tony wrote me a reference for my first job, post University in 1983. Brilliant lecturer and fascinating to listen to. He used to fill a massive blackboard with chalk writing, facts, figures, etc, before his lecture and refer to them all. A real giant of political science and a decent man, too.

  44. Craig Priddey says:

    Absolutely loved his lectures and time we got to spend with him – truly inspiring and still have an unopened bottle of champagne he gave me for coming closest with my forecast of the 1992 General Election – Rest in Peace

  45. Aletta Norval says:

    Tony’s sharp intellect, combined with his exceptional civility, made him an outstanding colleague, who will be sorely missed. In Departmental matters he always emphasized our responsibilities as educators funded by public money. He was a truly inspirational figure.

  46. Rachel Petty says:

    Very sad news. What an inspiration. What a privilege to have been taught by him.

  47. Peter Hollister says:

    I did some research work for Tony as an undergraduate and during my MA. I echo all the tributes here. As a young lad I thought he was the wittiest and most sophisticated man I’d ever met. Over 20 years later he still is. I remember being mesmerised by him as if it were yesterday and how charming he was with my parents when I graduated. Sincerest condolences to his wife and family. RIP Tony.

  48. Sheena Sinclair says:

    Professor King was my pastoral tutor in 1972 and,as such, almost solely responsible for encouraging me not to walk away from my course. I don’t think I ever thanked him.

    One day in early 1975 I was in a tutorial with Peter Frank when Tony popped his head round the door to say ‘ They’ve done it’
    He had just that minute fielded a call from a friend in Westminster to say that the Tories had elected Margaret Thatcher as leader. A moment not to forget – whatever your politics.

  49. Justin Fisher says:

    Tony King was a giant in the profession and a giant in public life more generally. I liked him enormously – he had fascinating insights and was always friendly. A real gentleman

  50. Ged Parker says:

    Tony King gave the first lecture I attended at Essex in October 1971, and the first assignment he set was on proper academic citation rules; which I have tried to follow every since!
    He was one of a number of academic superstars in the Social Studies faculty; Jean Blondel in Government, Pete Townsend (and occasionally E P Thompson) in Sociology, and Richard Lipsey and Tony Atkinson in Economics- who of course has just died as well.
    They were turbulent years but we were well taught!

  51. Richard Stock says:

    I was lucky enough to be in a seminar run by Professor King as a final year undergraduate in the 1990s. He was inspirational throughout. His contribution to the study and understanding of political science cannot be underestimated.

  52. My first scribbles in the field of Politics were based on a piece of Anthony King’s analysis of the electoral standing of the then Liberals back in the early 1980s. I had the privileged many years later of seeing him in action and meeting him in person at a conference and finding him a very warm and approachable man despite his immense reputation. One of a small number of scholars who defined the field of political science in the UK and who is responsible for the area being so strong now. The field owes him a great debt and its strength is a tribute to him. His work was crucial for my degree and his books are still on the shelf in my office. As great a man as he was an intellectual.

  53. Tony Cox says:

    I still remember his Saturday morning summaries of the political scene which must go back to the 70’s on the BBC. I had the privilege of being taught by him on an MA course in the early 1980’s. A great teacher and stimulating debater. My thoughts are with his friends and family.

  54. Words alone cannot convey my deep feelings of sorrow and distress at the passing of a true intellectual giant.

    Few figures, if any, have played such a substantial role in the history and development of this university. Like generations of other Essex graduates in government, I owe him a debt that can never be repaid.

    Tony was instrumental in convincing me to choose Essex as a place of learning. I shall be forever grateful to him for doing so, and for the help and support he provided in enabling me to graduate.

    Insightful, inspirational and occasionally challenging, he had a range of gifts that would have stood him good stead in many other fields beyond academia – TV and elected political office spring immediately to mind.

    It is to the fortune and enormous benefit of the university that he chose to make Essex the focus of his work for so long. I hope and trust that the powers-that-be will find a means of commemorating that work that will do it justice.

    Deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

  55. Matt Murray says:

    I feel privileged to have been taught by Anthony King. He was and will remain an inspiration to me. I have fond memories of his GV100 lectures, which were gripping, inspirational and full of detail and interest, all delivered without the need for PowerPoint or notes. It showed what an intellectual powerhouse he was. My sympathies are with his family during this difficult time.

  56. Paul Wainwright says:

    I remember Professor King’s lectures well. He was an inspiration to many students.
    We regularly watched him on national television whilst studying at Essex in the late ’80s/early 90’s, sharing his views on politics as well as promoting the good name of Essex University.
    The fact that we all still continued to follow his views on politics after graduating tells you something about the impact of him and his work.
    RIP Professor King … your teaching, your views, your inspiration, your passion for politics … they will all live on.

  57. Nick Randall says:

    Very sad news about Professor King.

    I have very fond memories of taking his Advanced Seminar in British Politics as a Masters Student at Essex. I particularly remember him setting an assessment on what the Scott Report revealed about the British civil service, requiring us to read all 1806 pages. A challenging but very rewarding exercise which taught me a lot about my abilities.

    Like Kevin Bramley I too received a letter of congratulation on my results which I have kept to this day. Also, like Adam Wright, he was a referee for me early in my career. The recipient of that reference later told me of the very generous assessment he made of my abilities. I was touched and inspired. I hope that such thoughtfulness still finds a place in British academia.

    My deepest sympathies to his family and friends and I hope that the Essex can find a suitable way of commemorating his enormous contribution to the discipline and the university.

  58. Ruairi says:

    Professor King was one of my first lecturers – he taught me GV100 and its twin GV101 – I still have the syllabi for both – back in my first year, in 2013. He had a particular “old fashioned” style about him – apparently, he always taught in the same lecture theatre (LTB6), at the same time (Wednesdays at 10am) – and his lectures were the classic “pontificating” lectures. Professor King would stand at the front of the hall for 50 minutes, lecturing on some obscure topic of politics or democracy (he really was unique in what he taught us), not really using much in the way of technology.

    I also remember his study group, which I joined at the beginning of my second year. Unfortunately, he went on research leave at the end of my second year, so the Study Group closed down (without him, it wouldn’t exist). The debates we had were fascinating – I still remember having to research the Global Happiness Index as an alternative to measuring a country’s output by GDP.

    I think I can finish by saying this. In the syllabi for GV100 and GV101, he warned us that those modules were unique. You couldn’t get their content anywhere else, apart from in his lectures. I would suggest that this describes him too – he is unique, and his approach and knowledge could not come from anywhere but him.

    Goodbye Tony. If Heaven exists, I wouldn’t be surprised if you started exploring its politics now.

  59. Becky Fray says:

    Tony King was the first professor I really encountered during my time at Essex. He always brought light into the room and was a brilliant, well-respected and well-liked gentleman; working with him was a joy and he will be sorely missed by all of those whose lives he touched.

  60. John Allan says:

    He was the sole reason I went to Essex. I loved his lectures, they made early Monday starts enjoyable. Thank you Anthony.

  61. Edward Funnell says:

    So sorry to hear of the passing of Professor King – simply a giant of the political science world, and a great ambassador for the University of Essex and its Department of Government over many years. I hugely enjoyed his incisive and crystal clear analysis, often in the thick of BBC Election Specials. As someone who studied politics at university (sadly not at Essex) and now works in public affairs, I found his powers of insight and analysis brilliant. He will be greatly missed not just at Wivenhoe but by anyone interested in the workings of British politics. May he rest in peace.

  62. Hasan says:

    Could write a so much om how much he influenced us here but will reserve that for the card to Jan. V v sad. Lost the best teacher and critic I had. Condolences to all. Will always be indebted. His legacy of making power work for the people will live on through us. Long may the Kings men and women do good.

  63. David Rose says:

    Tony King was the first Chair of the Committee on Advanced Research at Essex (CARE) whose work was to lead to the foundation of what is now ISER. He ensured that CARE got off to a good start both through his shrewd advice and by bringing us into contact and discussions with many influential figures from outside the University. I shall always be grateful to him for his enthusiastic support. He was generous in other ways, too. I still have the warm letter of congratulation he sent me when we received funding from ESRC to establish the British Household Panel Study. His service to the University and to political science, as well as to the public understanding of politics, were all outstanding.

  64. Charles Pattie says:

    I’m saddened almost beyond words by this news. Tony was one of the jewels in the crown of British electoral studies – erudite, informed and (as others have rightly said) an absolutely brilliant communicator – who can forget, for instance, his election night comparison of New Labour’s 1997 landslide to an asteroid wiping out the dinosaurs? He was also a kind, supportive and inspiring colleague, not only to his colleagues and students at Essex but to those of us in the wider political science community. We’ll miss him.

  65. John Oram says:

    In 2004 I was completing my PhD and diagnosed with cancer. Tony phoned and wrote regularly to see how I was and was an enormous support in getting the thing finished between operations and treatment. His accomplishments and intellect were formidable but his humanity and kindness were the main things that made an impact on me. Thank you.

  66. Dave Lee says:

    Can only add my voice to those describing Prof King as a “legend” and “giant”. His contribution to Essex and to his field : undoubtedly indelible. His contribution to my education : extraordinary. So many good memories. My thoughts are with his family and friends right now. Maybe time for his contribution to the University to be more visibly commemorated? RIP

  67. Adam Wright says:

    Professor King is the reason I am where I am now, working on the coal face of public policy. If it wasn’t for his encouragement and challenge, I wouldn’t have done a PhD.

    Tony gave me a reference for a PhD scholarship. I was told his only condition was not to open or look at it when he handed it. I didn’t. But through an administrative error, the scanned reference was sent to my email. I was so proud of it that I put it on my wall above my desk to inspire me.

    My most memorable moments were in his study group, where we discussed and debated, often furiously, on political topics. I remember that after giving a scathing critique of “The Clash of Civilizations” by Samuel Huntington, a few days later Tony stopped me in the corridor and quietly told me how he was so moved by my presentation that he went home and actually threw away his (signed) copy of the book. It taught me that excellent teaching and learning is a two-way process, and that students and their teachers learn from and are deeply influenced by each other.

    I feel that I have lost an important mentor, someone who saw potential in me that I never knew I had. Thank you Professor for all you help and support.

    • Dan says:

      Much like you Adam, I was in his study group. That, but specifically he, gave me similar confidence to apply for PhD scholarships at the very top places – and ultimately to reject them. We even spoke explicitly about confidence issues in academia.

      Seeing weekly his explosive passion for all topics in politics and his ability to be critical and reflective was inspiring. There are few people in Universities or elsewhere that can display such quantities of passion, intelligence, wit and being just a nice person with time for anyone – even when I knocked on his door in first year with a presumably silly question about GV100!

  68. Kevin Bramley says:

    I took Politics as a subject to fill up my timetable. I really enjoyed it and received a letter at the end of the year from Professor King congratulating me on my exam results a lovely touch from a brilliant lecturer. Maybe I should have take his advice and continued in politics rather than Accountacy!

  69. Ian Britton says:

    In part, it was watching Tony King’s enthusiasm and passion for the democratic process on the BBC in the 1990s and early 2000’s that first sparked my interest in politics. For student’s of the ‘art of the possible’ Prof King was a giant, the likes of which we are unlikely to see again.

  70. Hamza Kazmi says:

    Professor Anthony King was an incredible lecturer who empowered me & all students with his knowledge who took GV100 – Introduction to Politics in our first year!
    He was incredible & will be dearly missed! It was a shock when I first read a tweet from the Vice Chancellor & did not believe in that moment until I saw another tweet on his profile confirming it’s our beloved first year prof!
    Professor King gave my Essex journey a bang & made me 100% certain I chose the perfect university to attend! I will always be proud of being his student ❤❤❤❤ R.I.P sir, it was fantastic to speak to you while doing your course!

  71. Camilla Thomsen says:

    Professor King was an inspirational lecturer and I will remember him fondly. I am honoured to have had the privilege of being taught by him and feel sad that no other generations will now have the same benefit. Professor King was key to my experience as a student at Essex and will be sadly missed. My deepest sympathies to his loved ones.

  72. Shamit Saggar says:

    An intellectually curious giant. Anthony was a remarkable figure throughout my education and academic career. He first taught me as an undergraduate thirty-six years ago and framed much of my basic thinking about continuity and change in British politics and society.

    He represented a core value in political science which is to search for an overarching characterisation. And his use of anecdote was unequalled.


  73. Paul Whiteley says:

    I knew Tony for nearly 50 years having met him first when I was a graduate student in the department. He made some major contributions to the discipline and was a brilliant political communicator. He will be sorely missed

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