An incomplete history
I am a relatively busy freelance television lighting director, working mostly in London's television studios. I became interested in the history of some of those studios almost as soon as I left the BBC to become freelance in the summer of 2002. I found myself working in places with backgrounds that in several cases went beyond the old ITV company days to the early years of cinema.
In the spring of 2005 I began to ask a few colleagues with many years' experience what they remembered of the old times and found some fascinating stories. For my own benefit really, I started to note some of these down and explore further using the Internet and a number of out of print publications.
The resulting article was posted on my website, which I use as an on-line CV. This was not the best place for it but nevertheless it was discovered by a surprising number of people. Several of them wrote to me with corrections and more information. Thanks to them the article grew considerably and became more accurate by the week.
After a year I decided to give it a home of its own and create this website. It went live in April 2006. There are still gaps and no doubt a number of errors - although hopefully these will be relatively minor by now. I am still very much welcoming any comments and, of course, corrections and additions. Over 160 people have contributed so far and I am very much in their debt for taking the trouble to write or talk to me. In fact, I have received over 2,500 email messages in total - some with corrections or additional information, others simply saying thanks.
If you send me any photos I will assume that you consent to them being published here. Please go to the 'bibliography and links' page for a list of some of those who have provided information.
Incidentally, should you prefer to print the articles off and take them on holiday to read on the beach - (it takes all sorts) - the pages are formatted to print on A4 paper. Simply right click and select 'print.'
As to why on Earth I would want to spend so much time researching and writing all this stuff...that's quite another matter. Believe it or not, I do have a social life - of sorts. Mind you, it is a few years since I wore an anorak but perhaps I should pop down to Millett's now. (Do Millett's still exist?)
When I first published the site I wondered who could possibly be interested in reading it. It seems that there are more sad old gits like me out there than I realised, since it has had over 50,000 individual visitors, some of whom I gather have returned on more than one occasion. From the emails I receive, these naturally include many people who have retired from the industry and are glad that their experience is in some small way being recorded but I'm pleased to say that many people currently busy making television have also written and made contributions. Thanks to you all.
Important copyright information...
A little word of warning to students: the written material on this site is copyright. You may not copy it and use it as your own work! Please - if you are wishing to use any written material for publication in a book, TV or radio programme or on-line, feel free to ask and I shall be as helpful as possible.
Do not assume that any images are free to be copied or used elsewhere. Most have been sent to me with the intention of being used only on this website and I can't say it is OK to use them anywhere else. Some are personal photographs, others may have been copied from publications without my knowledge. Please don't write to me asking for permission to use the images. That permission is not mine to give. If you believe that you own the copyright to any image displayed here and wish it to be removed - or just perhaps given a credit if one is missing - I will of course be happy to oblige. Many of the illustrations are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders according to the original copyright or publication date as printed on the artwork or publication and are reproduced here for historical reference and research purposes.
Do contact me if you have any snippets of information to add. If you read something here you're sure isn't correct - PLEASE let me know! In my defence I would say that I have found many examples of contradictory information, dates etc but I have done my best to establish the most likely correct ones.
I would love to receive more info on the Disney Studios in Chiswick, the Princess Studio, the post LWT years at Wembley, the post BBC years at the Greenwood and especially the BSB studios at Marco Polo - but anything would be useful. I shall add your name to the list of credits - unless you wish to remain anonymous.
Please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org