News has come through today that David Rose has sadly died. His death was apparently very peaceful.
David had a long and distinguished television career. He flew in Lancaster bombers during the WWII, joining the BBC in the mid 1950s. In the 1960s he produced Z-Cars and the spin-off series, Softly, Softly.
In 1971 he was appointed by director of programming, David Attenborough, as Head of English Regions Drama at Pebble Mill. His remit was to produce dramas which depicted life outside London. The era at Pebble Mill was a rich and creative one. David proved himself to be an inspiring leader, with an impeccable knack of putting together talented and innovative teams. He took creative risks and was responsible for bringing many new writers and directors to the television screen. Pebble Mill was incredibly productive under his leadership, producing many Plays for Today, as well as anthology series like Second City Firsts. The talent he worked with included: Alan Bleasdale, Willy Russell, Alan Plater, David Hare, Mike Leigh, Stephen Frears, Peter Terson, David Rudkin, amongst many others, as well as the staff team including Michael Wearing, Peter Ansorge, Tara Prem, and Barry Hanson.
In 1981 David moved to the newly formed Channel 4, where he was made Commissioning Editor of Fiction by Jeremy Isaacs. He was responsible for the development of Film on Four. It was during his time at Channel 4 that he won the Roberto Rossellini award for services to cinema in 1987, an honour he was incredibly proud of.
David Rose’s legacy at Pebble Mill is still evident in the BBC Birmingham Drama Village today, in the shape of some members of staff, and also in the innovative production practices.
David will be much missed, and we are unlikely to see his like again.
I recorded this film in 2009, of David, Barry Hanson, Tara Prem and Peter Ansorge talking about English Regions Drama.