Obituaries

Derek Lightbody 1922 ~ 2021

17 November 2021

We are sorry to report that STLD member Derek Lightbody, inventor of the award-winning Aurasoft light, has recently died peacefully aged 99.

His funeral was on 2nd December 2021.

Our deepest sympathies go to his family.

A full obituary will be featured in Set & Light Issue 134.


Chris Harris 1955 ~ 2020

9 April 2020

The STLD is very sad to report that Christopher John Harris passed away on Tuesday 7the April while in ICU being treated for Covid-19 and associated complications.  The committee would like to extend our deepest sympathy both to his family and all who knew him.

Chris’s funeral took place on the 27th April at 13:30.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions only the closest family attended, but there will be a celebration of his life when restrictions are lifted and there is a fundraising page for people to share donations in his memory - for another cause that was extremely close to his heart - The South Devon Railway.

https://www.facebook.com/donate/850570512113247/

Chris was a tireless member of our committee, giving untold hours of his time to us and travelling many miles for the STLD to arrange exhibitions promoting us.  And with the hours that he had left in the day he organised membership, took an interest in student matters and visited colleges.  The list goes on.

Chris will be a hard act to follow.


Eddie Fegan 1932 ~ 2020

4 April 2020

The STLD is sad to report that Eddie Fegan of Film and TV Services died a few days ago. The cancer he had been fighting for some time finally got to him. He was in nursing home as he needed much more care but, we are told, he retained every single one of his marbles until then very end.

There will, apparently, be some kind of a memorial or opportunity for a get together in lieu of a big funeral, once freedom returns.


Rick Dines 1943 ~ 2019

13 January 2019

We are sorry to report the passing of Richard Gordon Dines, an STLD committee member and well-known and well-respected member of our industry.  

Rick also served on the Showlight committee.

 A full obituary will appear in the next edition of Set & Light magazine.

There will be a service to celebrate his life on Thursday 14th February at 12:30 pm at Chelmsford Crematorium, Writtle Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 3BL, and after at the Blackwater Sailing Club, Basin Road, Heybridge, CM9 4SD.

If you wish to attend, details may be found here (PDF) - Please RSVP ASAP


Ian Dow 1941~2018

20 February 2018

Ian Dow's funeral took place at West Middlesex Crematorium on Tuesday 27th February 2018 and was followed by a service at St. Mary's Church, Sunbury.

Donations may still be made to Princess Alice Hospice, Esher, or The Royal Marsden Hospital. The Funeral Directors [Lodge Brothers, Sunbury] have set up an on-line donation scheme.

http://www.lodgebros.co.uk/funeral-directors/sunbury

A full obituary will appear in Issue 123 of Set & Light magazine.

In memoriam: Ian Dow


John Burgess ~ 2015

4 February 2016

The STLD is sorry to hear that John Burgess passed away in December.

John was not only an STLD committee member for many years, he is believed to be the first freelance LD in our industry, from a time when everyone else worked for broadcasting companies.

John was a character in an industry full of characters - often irascible, always pioneering, and deeply passionate about his craft.  Many committee meetings became extended as John debated the other view on a subject that seemed otherwise settled.  The world needs rebels like John, and sadly has now lost another.

Our sympathies go to his wife Rosie.


Bert Wilkins 1925 ~ 2016

28 January 2016

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Bert Wilkins just short of his 91st birthday.

Bert was a Lighting Director at London Weekend Television, rising to become Head of Lighting with the company, and was also a past Chairman of the STLD.

His funeral was held at Chichester Crematorium on Tuesday 9th February 2016.

A full obituary will appear in "Set & Light" magazine.


Warwick Fielding 1938 ~ 2015

3 May 2015

We are sorry to report the death of Warwick Fielding, a well known BBC and (from 1985) LWT lighting director - in later years he became a freelance.  His funeral took place on 18th May at 2pm at Randalls Park Crematorium, Leatherhead, Surrey.

Donations (no flowers please) to the Sam Beare Hospice may be made through the Funeral Directors web site - just enter the name Warwick Fielding to do this.

Thank you in anticipation.


Mario Desisti 1941 ~ 2014

1 November 2014

 

Nick Mobsby writes:

I am sorry to report the very sad news that Mario Desisti passed away yesterday morning in hospital in Rome from a brain haemorrhage last Sunday from which he did not wake up after surgery.
 
His two sons Fabio and Sergio have asked me to pass on the terribly sad news.
 
Fabio asked me to pass on his thanks to those special people throughout the UK who always welcomed Mario when he was in the UK. He had just finished a visit to PLASA 2014, Eastenders in Elstree, Coronation Street  and Dock 10 in Manchester as visited Scotland during Showlight 5 years ago.
 
Mario was known in the industry as “the godfather” and since starting Desisti Lighting in 1982 had been a world leader in lighting innovation and equipment. He was a natural lighting engineer happiest playing as we all saw at Dock 10 recently with a hoist in pieces getting rid of a squeak with him standing on a flight case! I for one will miss his incredible drive, enthusiasm and his great joy for life not least his skill of being Mr TV Lighting!

The Desisti website


Bill Lee 1921 ~ 2014

6 February 2014

It is with great sadness that we have to report that Bill Lee passed away last night.

He was a superb Lighting Director, a staunch supporter of the Society and a past Chairman of the STLD.

William Douglas Lee's funeral was held on Wednesday 26th February at Barham Crematorium, Nr. Canterbury, Kent, CT4 6QU


'It's so very sad to learn about the passing of Bill Lee. His name, and his tremendous talent, will , for me, always be associated with the definition of the word PROFESSIONAL.

His enthusiasm for creating a bespoke lighting design was totally consistent; no matter what  genre the content .

Bill earned the unquestionable respect, throughout his long and successful career, from Artiste's, Sparks , Management , Producers & Directors and every member of the innumerable Studio Crews he worked with.  Bill Lee also a great sense of humour.'

Royston Mayoh
Director (ex-Thames Television)


Here's Bill musing a few year's ago on his early days in ITV - A Second Channel

"If you think that the television job market is a tough one nowadays, just consider how much more difficult it was in early 1955. One broadcaster with a complete monopoly, whose single transmission covered a mere thirty-six per hour week.  It was of course the BBC, who later that year announced their plans to increase transmission hours to forty-nine per week.  Afternoon programs which commenced at 3.00pm were to be extended to 5.00pm (instead of 4.15) and evening programs were to start at 7.00pm (instead of 7.25).  The change was to take place on September 19th of that year.
 
On September 22nd. a new era began when Independent Television commenced transmission, offering an alternative program for the first time.  At last there were wider opportunities to obtain work in the industry. The first transmissions were in the London area, Associated Rediffusion had the weekday contract, ATV the weekends.

If ATV, led by Lew Grade, were very much the showbiz glamour outfit, we at Rediffusion were a rather motley crew, operating under the command of Captain Brownrigg late of the Royal Navy (motto-a happy ship is a well disciplined ship). 

No media courses in those far off days and our recruitment tended to be from those with some experience in film production, theatre journalism, radio or suchlike, plus a fair intake from the BBC. Just a mere sprinkling of really experienced Beeb folk and a number of junior staff who were suddenly promoted from being young assistants at the Beeb to quite senior positions at Rediffusion. 

Our training consisted of several weeks making pretend programs at The Granville, an
old variety theatre in Walham Green, also in a small adapted studio off High Street Kensington. We moved into our permanent home at Wembley as soon as the film studio conversion had been completed.   All of our video output was transmitted live apart from a couple of quiz shows which were to be recorded on telecine (sic) (with rather dire quality), No second chance or retakes. It went out as we shot it, absolutely on time. Regardless of the perils of boom shadows, camera shadows, badly exposed pictures, blown lights, miscuts, miscues, actors errors or whatever major or minor calamity occurred during the transmission period. I guess that our real training actually took place from the moment we commenced transmitting, one learns pretty rapidly in that sort of sink or swim situation.  
 
Surprisingly, in a remarkably short time we stopped being ultra cautious, becoming far more ambitious regardless of the difficulties involved. This was particularly true in drama where ambitious directors such as young Phillip Saville, Dick Lester and others, once given the opportunity, were boldly experimental, demanding increasingly complicated camera shots and lighting effects which were then assimilated into normal work patterns. Cameras were required to do the most elaborate tracking shots with tables, practicals, flowers etc. whipped into or out of the foreground by props as the camera passed by. Trapdoors, swinging flats, extra bits of set added, then dressed and perhaps later removed, any device to get the desired shot as a continuous part of the production.

The whole floor area was expected to kept completely clear of lighting equipment to allow for any form of camera movement, often very restricting for the lighting director (designated then as a Lighting Engineer and absorbed as part of the engineering section}.

Cameras were fitted with a four lens rotating turret and directors wanting the camera on a fairly wide angle lens for a complex tracking shot moving on into a close-up, would without compunction track to within two or three inches of the actors face, usually blocking any chance of getting light on the face?   Change the lens or shot?  "Certainly not - it's a lighting problem - not a director's problem!"       

The image orthicon cameras were capable of producing good black and white pictures, but only if carefully adjusted. The vision desk was crewed with two racks men controlling two cameras each, whilst a senior sat between them constantly selecting and  instructing them on matching the channels. Apart from variations in exposure, black level, gain etc., shading could be tricky and at times much of the day might be spent getting the video adjustments correct.  It was also not unknown for the electronics to malfunction. Somewhat embarrassing if it occurred during transmission.  The joke that a good engineer was one who knew which part of the camera casing to thump at such times may not have been entirely untrue? Known as "first line maintenance" I believe!

Our electrical department was staffed with very experienced production electricians for whom we had every reason to be grateful. I can only recall two suppliers of lighting equipment from those days, apart from the bulb makers.  Mole Richardson  were big time in film lighting, handling lamps, stands, scaffolding hoists etc., as well as hiring  out equipment. The other was Strand Electric whose main business had previously been theatrical lighting suppliers. They supplied us with dimmers, control gear (primitive by today's standard) and effect spots, including the ubiquitous pattern 23.

Strand Electric also held open meetings for both theatre and television folk three or four times a year. One met many colleagues from other companies for talks and discussion in congenial surroundings (food and drink provided). A great mix of engineers, including very senior ones, designers and lighting folk from theatre and TV. In many ways a forerunner of the STLD. 

Early O.B's were lit mainly with heavy cast iron lamps powered off film generators and clumsy, heavy connector boxes. No seven stone weakling need apply for a job to lug one of those 10K's up a ladder on scaffolding thirty feet high.  It was some time before camera equipment, lighting etc., was designed to be flexible enough for inserts to programs. Film inserts were normally used, a more costly process usually producing a pronounced shift in picture quality.

A brief word about the real pioneers of television in the early days - the actors and actresses. They had to provide the live performance regardless of the problems, tensions, strain and technical complexities of the production. Initially the majority came from the theatre where they were well experienced at busking through whatever crisis occurred during the run of a play.  Early on I lit "Frenzy", a play starring Swedish actress Mia Zeterling, during which she had to move from the main set through a French window to deliver some lines on the balcony outside. She arrived there to see the camera covers removed and a frantic engineer working on it. In complete control, she paused briefly, moved back into the main set, and approached the nearest camera to deliver her lines. Brilliant - it was as though the whole move had been part of the rehearsed program. Rather more dramatically at ABC later, during a live transmission they actually had an artist collapse and die about a third of the way through a play.  A tricky situation to say the least since the role was quite a major one. The other artistes had to maintain the story as best they could, no doubt with some rather hectic advice from the control room via the floor manager. Fortunately not an everyday occurrence although misplaced or forgotten lines, camera problems and suchlike was always a potential hazard.

Thee first months of transmission were incredibly exciting for all concerned.
We were all challenged, working long hours, learning new techniques and skills. Small groups in the canteen would animatedly discuss their latest trials and methods or details of a program they had watched the previous night.  Yes, we even watched transmitted television in those days - quite avidly in fact. We were also encouraged to plan meticulously, which allowed for ambitious techniques to be attempted. Complicated camera movements tended to become less fashionable since tape recording became the norm.  Ironic that shooting was much bolder when there was no retake safety net.

I've been parochial writing this and should stress that the standard we all sought to emulate in those early days was the quality of the best of the BBC output. They had experience from the earliest days of television transmission and at their best, great skill and talent within the organization."

Bill Lee - 15th Aug 2005

A full obituary will appear in the next issue of the STLD's magazine Set & Light.

Bill's credits go on and on ..... on the IMDb website


Ken MacGregor

21 January 2012

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Ken MacGregor.

His long career in television lighting, spanning over thirty years from Peer Gynt, Benny Hill and Doctor Who to the Black & White Minstrel Show, Van Doonican and Victoria Wood consisted of mainly light entertainment shows interspersed with BBC adaptations of classic literature - Moll Flanders and Jane Eyre - along with popular drama such as The Onedin Line.

Ken's use of colour in such shows as Rock Masters (Neil Young, Cat Stevens) in the 1970s are still a source of inspiration.

The funeral was at the East Chapel of Breakspear Crematorium, Ruislip February 2nd 2012.

His family suggested no flowers but donations to the British Heart Foundation - a collection for the BHF was taken on the day.


Enrico Caironi 1947 ~ 2011

12 December 2011

Memorial Service for Enrico on 12th June 2012

Enrico CaironiIt is with immense sadness that we report the death of Enrico Caironi of Clay Paky.

Davide Barbetta writes:

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Enrico Caironi, a man whose professionalism, integrity and humanity will be remembered by all Clay Paky work associates and friends. In the show-lighting industry, Enrico had for years been ambassador of Clay Paky and a model representative of Italian passion and quality.

Born in Bergamo in 1947, Enrico Caironi joined the Clay Paky team in 1995. As Commercial Director, he immediately became a key figure in Company business, always fighting at the forefront with relentless motivation.  With his reliability and charm, he earned to the Company the esteem of customers, Lighting Designers and competitors. His passion for the job never once abandoned him. Though officially retired, in the last years he dedicated much of his energy to Clay Paky, leading demanding projects such as the “Knight of Illumination” and the “Show Way” exhibition to success.

The last unforgettable memory he left us with was the incredible courage with which he faced the serious disease that afflicted him. His warm smile, generous hospitality, and thoroughness with which he carried out his every endeavour will remain for ever in the hearts of those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

'Enrico was a kind and lovely man who loved life. The world of lighting is a much poorer place without him.'

Bernie Davis

Our thoughts are with his family.

A tribute page for Enrico is available on the Clay Paky website


Graham Rimmington 1944 ~ 2010

19 November 2010

It is with immense sadness that we have to report that Graham passed away this morning.

A staunch supporter of the Society, a superb Lighting Director who always made it look so easy - even when it wasn't - and an entertaining and fun person to be with both in and out of the studio.  In 2008 he was made an Honorary Member of the STLD in recognition of all his hard work in the day-to-day running of the Society and the publication of its magazine.

His many and varied credits include:  As Time Goes By, Absolutely Fabulous, Victoria Wood, French and Saunders, The Fast Show, Brush Strokes, the list goes on and on..... 

A full obituary appears in issue 103 of Television Lighting and Design magazine.

Our sympathies go to Graham's family.

His funeral took place on Friday 26th November. 

Please consider making a donation to Graham's fund for the Ian Rennie nurses as his wife Anne would prefer people to send donations rather than flowers.

More about the Iain Rennie nurses - the charity which provided help and support to the Rimmington family during some very difficult times.

If you would like to leave a comment here then please contact us

Some of Graham's work on IMDb


Maurice Marshal 1934 ~ 2010

13 July 2010

It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of Maurice Marshal MBE co-founder of Stage Electrics, Chief Electrician at the Northcott Theatre Exeter and influential industry figure for many years. Maurice died Saturday 10th July at 1pm after a long battle with cancer. 

His funeral is arranged for Tuesday 20th July at St. Saviours House, St. Agnes Avenue, Knowle, Bristol, BS4 2DU.

A lifelong passion for the technical side of theatre saw Maurice pursue a dual career as a partner in Stage Electrics and also as chief electrician at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter, where he launched the careers of a number of the country’s top stage lighting designers and technicians. His services to drama and his commitment to training in theatre resulted in him being awarded an MBE in 2009.

Maurice co-founded Stage Electrics with David Whitehead in 1979, a company which has grown into an internationally trading business with a turnover of £27.5 million. Recently, with the onset of illness, Maurice has helped create the current management structure to ensure that the company continues to thrive without his guidance.


His long-time business partner David Whitehead said: “Maurice was a private man with strong beliefs and principles who stuck with them throughout his life. He had a talent for developing individuals and would go out of his way to help others.  He remained actively involved in Stage Electrics right up until the time of his death.”
 
Born on May 8th, 1934, Maurice grew up in Exmouth, attending Exmouth Grammar School. On completing his education and after a brief spell in farming, Maurice joined The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers where he qualified as a tank mechanic. Maurice left the army in 1955 and began working for an Exeter television and radio shop, before establishing his own business, M.M. Electrical Contracting. When local stage lighting enthusiast George Waldren retired he left Maurice his stage lanterns and MM Stage Lighting was formed. In 1967 Maurice joined the electrics department at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter as second electrician
.

In 1973 he was appointed as the theatre’s chief electrician, six years later in 1979 he started Stage Electrics with David Whitehead. Branches were quickly established in Exeter, Plymouth and Exmouth and originally equipment was moved between the towns on local buses.

Over the years, his philosophy of prioritising individual customer needs and responding to them has helped the company develop into a market leader.

Whilst at the Northcott Theatre, Maurice established a two-year apprenticeship scheme for theatre electricians, persuading the changing theatre management to stick with the scheme. 56 trainees went through the apprenticeship, and many becoming members of the media and entertainment Union BECTU they became affectionately known as the Northcott Bro’s. 

Many trainees went on to become leading figures in international and national theatre. They include:

 Jeremy Dunn, Head of Sound at the Royal Shakespeare Company; Sid Ellen, Head of Lighting at the Ballet Rambert; Martin Lilley, Director of Entertainment, Cunard Lines; and Simon Bowler, Head of Facilities at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Hugh Vanstone, Laurence Olivier Award winning lighting designer. Maurice himself was lighting designer on a number of Northcott productions which transferred to the West End, including Abelard and Heloise which starred Diana Rigg.

In addition to being the BECTU representative at the Northcott, Maurice was heavily committed to training and getting training recognised nationally. He worked for many years to develop course content for a nationally recognised NVQ in Theatre Lighting & Sound. Maurice also qualified as an NVQ assessor in order to facilitate the delivery of the qualification.

Maurice's dedication to the theatre industry was officially recognised in 1997 when he was named ABTT's Theatre Technician of the Year, and in 2006 when he was awarded a Fellowship for the Association of Lighting Designers. In 2009 he described himself as “overwhelmed” to receive an MBE for services to drama.
 
Throughout his life Maurice was a devout Catholic and a member of the Society of St Pius Xth. In 2006, at the age of 72, he embarked on yet another business venture, this time running Carmel Books, a company distributing publications for the Catholic Church.
 
Maurice eventually retired from the Northcott Theatre on a high in January 2009, having seen the theatre complete a multimillion pound refit and then taken it through its first new production, a Christmas pantomime. Maurice operated the lighting desk for his last show.
 
Maurice leaves behind a successful and vibrant business and a legacy of people he has trained and worked with in the Theatre Industry over the years. He will be missed by his colleagues at Stage Electrics, the Northcott Bro’s and the many people he helped, guided and mentored over the years.

For queries please contact: 

Adam Blaxill - Stage Electrics, Third Way, Avonmouth, Bristol, BS11 9YL 
Direct: 0117 937 9571  Mob: 07799 862 652
Tel: 0117 9827282  Fax: 0117 916 2825 
http://www.stage-electrics.co.uk

Donations: 

A request has been made that no flowers are sent. Instead please consider a donation to Hospiscare, Dryden Road, Exeter. Hospiscare have been of considerable support and comfort to Maurice in the past weeks. Cheques made payable to “Hospiscare” can be sent to the Funeral Directors:
Sillifant and Sons, 19-20 Holloway Street, Exeter, EX2 4JD
with a short note explaining that the donation is in memory of Maurice. There will also be a retiring collection for Hospiscare after the funeral.
http://www.hospiscare.co.uk/ 

Maurice Marshal MBE dies aged 76 (BECTU website)

Stage Electrics Website


James Campbell 1959 ~ 2010

4 April 2010

It is with shock and sadness that we report the death of James Campbell on Easter Sunday.

James Patrick Campbell 19 June 1959 ~ 4 April 2010
A well known LD and photographer, his credits ranged from Dick and Dom to Mastermind, and from A Question of Sport to The RTS Lectures.  When Later With Jools emerged as a spin-off from The Late Show in 1992 James became its first lighting director, and developed the unique lighting style for which the show became famous.

After graduating in 1981, James had joined BBC Scotland in Glasgow - moving to the Lighting Department of BBC Studios at TV Centre in London in 1985, first as a Lighting and Vision Assistant (Racks) and then as Vision Supervisor (Console).

Promoted to BBC staff Lighting Director in 1992, he went freelance in 2002 - finding time not only to light many television shows, but also to contribute to the STLD by doing much good work as a member of our Committee.

A full obituary will appear in issue 101 of Television Lighting and Design magazine.

  • 'I worked with James on the committee when he first became Treasurer. In fact it was more the “Treasury Team” as he only agreed to do it provided Fiona, his wife, was involved to assist him. The committee thought this would be perfect as it might keep us all in order. Indeed the “Treasury Team” proved to be very successful and set the standards for future Treasurers.

    James was the sort of committee member who would sit there quietly listening to the proceedings and would then step in with pearls of wisdom just at the right moment. You always knew when he was getting excited over a topic as he began to sound more like Mrs. Doubtfire by the minute!

    I also had the privilege to deputise for him on a couple of his shows and was always impressed at how detailed and meticulous his planning was – especially when it came to taking stills after recording a scene, something he was very good at, having started his career as a photographer.

    There was not a malicious or vindictive bone in James' body, he always spoke well of people and was a thoroughly “nice guy”!  He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and is a great loss to the Society.' 

Stuart Gain  Chairman STLD

James Campbell's funeral was held at Breakspear Crematorium on Thursday 15th April.
Donations should be made to Cancer Research UK or The Salvation Army.

Pictures of James Campbell's many, and various, shows

Some of James's work on IMDb


Howard King 1927 ~ 2010

12 February 2010

We are sad to break news of the death of Howard King who passed away yesterday and who is remembered with great fondness.

Winning two BAFTAs for his innovative drama lighting - Best Television Lighting in 1980 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Thérèse Raquin and Best Video Lighting in 1981 for Journal of Bridget Hitler & The Cherry Orchard;  he was nominated on three other occasions (1978, 1980 & 1983) and shared a further nomination with Colin Widgery for All Passion Spent in 1986.

A full obituary appears in issue 100 of Television Lighting magazine.

  • ' Many people will remember Howard as the true gentleman he certainly was, but he deserves to be recognised as the originator of naturalistic lighting for television.  Any LD who has ever used a bounce cloth or reflector should know that it was Howard who did it first.

In the days of relatively insensitive cameras it took an enormous amount of power to illuminate a large cyc cloth to the level required to produce a useful amount of soft light, and when it was a new idea it took a lot of nerve as well.

At the other end of the scale Howard had to endure many strange looks as he tacked various bits of white card and poly all around the set.  But the results were ground-breaking, and started TV drama lighting on the journey from two three-quarter backs and a row of soft to the high standard we take for granted today.

My time spent working as Howard's console operator was the most rewarding and educational of my BBC career, and I remember him with warmth and gratitude.' 
Geoff Beech

  • ' I first worked with Howard on an episode of Dr Who at Lime Grove studios.  Half way through the morning rehearsal he said ‘These pictures look terrible’.  I apologised; it was my first day on vision control.  ‘No, it’s not you’ he said, ‘It’s the lighting’.  We went to the bar for lunch and afterwards he did a quick tweak around the sets and then it all looked immaculate.

We worked together many times as I became a console operator and then a Technical Manager.  We met up again after I had transferred to Outside Broadcasts as an Engineering Manager.  He lit the studio sets for ‘All Passion Spent’ and I lit the locations.  We had a lighting liaison meeting over lunch in a Bayswater curry house and those lunches continued for several decades afterwards, usually followed by a visit to the latest exhibition at the Royal Academy.

I always enjoyed the entertaining conversations.  Howard had wide-ranging interests and views.  If I couldn’t answer some specific point I would have to have the answer by the next meeting.

Howard was one of those lighting directors who created an individual and identifiable lighting style.  It was a pleasure to have worked with him.

I shall greatly miss his company.'
Colin Widgery 

  • ' I remember Howard for letting me work alongside him during the making of Tartuffe in TC1 more years ago than I care to remember.  I learnt a huge amount during that short apprenticeship that helped me ever since.

The last time I saw him was in 2002 when he came to Wales to see one of his own lighting apprentices from the days of BBC lighting courses, ‘Teg’ Jones, who had sadly developed a serious illness that was to prove fatal.  On virtually all the STLD meetings at which I had met Howard, he had enquired after Teg and what he was up to so it was only right that I wanted Howard to know of his serious illness.

 It was a moment that I remember well; ‘is he dying?’ came the characteristically direct response from Howard.  I confirmed that that was the case.  ‘Right, I will come and see him’.

And so it was that I met Howard at Cardiff station and took him to see Teg in hospital after lunch in my local town of Cowbridge.  At lunch, Howard remarked with a smile, ‘I can ’t believe I’m in Wales!’.  We spent some time with Teg which I know both appreciated.  Teg’s face had lit up with genuine joy on seeing Howard and they chatted about things that real friends chat about.

Howard was one of Television Lightings ‘Greats’ and I feel privileged to have known him.' 
Mike Baker

  • Howard was a joy to work with and a leading-edge  - even before that term was coined -  proponent of his art.  He favoured soft shadows, indeed sometimes the only hard shadow you ever saw in his studio fell outside the set.

He will be greatly missed.
Ian Hillson  STLD Committee

Some of Howard's work on IMDb


John Treays 1928 ~ 2009

3 August 2009

We are sad to pass on the news of the death of John Treays

John was one of the foremost BBC drama lighting directors of the 1960s, 70s & 80s, who continued to inspire us all as a freelance LD into the 1990s. His career stretched from the first series of Doctor Who in 1963 through to Talking Heads 2 in 1998 with numerous high-profile BBC dramas represented in between, including several in the Play for Today strand with its often repeated Abigail's Party from 1977.

In the same year, John won a BAFTA for his lighting of Macbeth there was to be more Shakespeare, including Romeo and Juliet (1978), Othello (1981), The Merry Wives of Windsor and King Lear (1982) and in 1980 and 1985 he gained three more BAFTA nominations for The Taming of the Shrew, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Nativity.

In 1974 as one of a small group of Lighting Directors who founded the STLD he became the Society's first chairman and appropriately held the membership number "1".

His CV at the BBC reads like a history of studio-based drama (Thirty-Minute Theatre, Churchill's People, Play of the Week, Play of the Month, Playhouse, Play for Today) — and before all this John was involved in lighting early experimental colour television with Maureen Winslade as make-up designer. He was an advocate of using subtle colour in television drama and he became one of the first lighting directors to introduce coloured gel into his drama plots.

During the mid 1980s, he went on to become one of the first ex-BBC freelance lighting directors.

A fuller tribute appeared in issue 99 of Television Lighting magazine.

Our sympathies go to John's family.

John's funeral was held on Wednesday 19th August at:
The Church of  St Mary & St Julian,
Maker, Cornwall, PL10 1JB

Any donations should be sent via the undertaker:

Walter C. Parson, The Firs, 702 Budshead Rd, Craven Hill, Plymouth, PL6 5DY. Tel: 01752 767676.

It is hoped the beneficiary will be the Oncology Unit at Derriford Hospital who looked after John.

  • 'John must have been proud of all great productions he got to light. Great working with him'   Michael Du Boulay  Canada
  • 'It was as a result of John that I joined the STLD in 1977 - his enthusiasm back then helped sow the seeds for my subsequent career with BBC Studios in Lighting & Vision Control'   Ian Hillson  STLD Committee

Some of John's work on IMDb


Elemer Nyiry 1938 ~ 2009

29 March 2009

As you may, or may not know, Elemer Laszlo Attila Nyiry died earlier this year.

Elemer had been unwell for a short time, and suddenly on the afternoon of Sunday 29th March he collapsed and, despite an ambulance arriving within minutes, died on the way to hospital.

A website has been established in his name; here are just a few of the many comments:

  • 'Elemer was a man of integrity, of high ideals and of principles'  Lionel Friedberg  Los Angeles
  • 'Our industry lost a great man'  Marc Galerne  France
  • 'Elemer will continue to live in my memories as one of the kindest, most helpful and interesting people I ever knew'  Nico  England
  • 'Elemer is an inspiration to the many people who’s lives he touched'  Allan Fyfe  England
  • 'He will leave behind him a blazing trail of lighting, power and accessories, all of which have and will help the rest of us make great films and television; for a long, long time'  Brian Rose
  • 'His outstanding technical abilities were more than most could dream of, and the industry will be a smaller, sadder place without him'  Mike Perry  England
  • 'Over the years Elemer always took the time to explain the technology behind your new pieces of equipment, in words that a cameraman with little engineering background could understand, and was a joy to chat to and be with. I’ll miss him'  Dudley  England
  • 'Elemer [was] ready to show you the latest fabulous gadgets that he and his team had dreamed up ..... [he] was certainly one of this worlds nice blokes and a brilliant engineer who would listen with polite interest no matter how daft my ideas were.'  John Rossetti  London

Elemer Nyir Memorial Website


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