Vale: Nicholas Hitchon

Vale: Nicholas Hitchon

Lifelong Seven Up participant Nicholas Hitchon, who first appeared in the UK documentary in 1964, has died, aged 65.

He died of throat cancer on July 23 according to The Times.

Hitchon was just six when he first appeared, a year younger than his fellow cast. Asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied “I’d like to find out about the moon and all that.”

Hitchon was one of ten boys and four girls from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds — rich, rural, urban, working-class — selected to join Seven Up!, which began as a one-off programme on the theme, “Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man.”

“It’s always very disturbing,” he said in an interview in 2012. “It’s the fact that they don’t show you the way you want to be shown but that’s not the main thing. They stick a camera under your nose and ask ‘Why did you choose your wife?’, and then it’s shown to gazillions of people. You’re asked to discuss every intimate part of your life. You feel like you’re just a specimen pinned on the board.”

He would later feature in 7 yearly instalments as a reserved teenage boarder at a grammar school, studying physics at Merton College in Oxford, working at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority in a lab that researched nuclear fusion, moving to the US to work as a researcher at the University of Wisconsin, marrying, divorcing, becoming a full-time professor of electrical engineering and, sadly, then being diagnosed with throat cancer.

Asked in 63 Up how he compared with the boy in the Wellington boots, he said: “I’m still the same little kid, really. Probably all of us are.”