David Attwood

‘Keep Smiling’, photo by James French

From Heather Storr, Diana Coxon and Jenny Brewer

It is with great sadness that we pass on the news of the death of David Attwood. David had not been well for the last few years and he died on 21st March 2024. Many of you will remember him from his days in English Regions Drama at Pebble Mill.

Here are some memories from both Heather and Diana. This list of shows that David worked on is not exhaustive but is truly representative of his skills and expertise as a Director.

David joined the Drama Department as an AFM in 1976. He came down from BBC Scotland where he had worked with Alastair Reid. Heather worked with him on OUR FLESH AND BLOOD in 1976 and the next year they both worked on the GANGSTERS series.

A few years later he became a Production Assistant and then Production Manager and worked on OUT OF TOWN BOYS (1978) and KEEP SMILING (1979) before THE BLACK STUFF (1980) and THE MUSCLE MARKET (1981). Then the series BOYS FROM THE BLACK STUFF (1982) and we think DEAD HEAD (1986) as well.

In 1984 he undertook the BBC Directors course and started what was to be his main career as a Drama Director at Pebble Mill. His shows included ALL TOGETHER NOW (1986), a comedy set around a brass band; AIRBASE (1988) which aroused controversy for its unflattering portrayal of life on an American airbase in Britain; and by the time he became freelance KILLING TIME (1990) a dark tale of a killer who befriends a teenager and murders him.

Heather worked with him on the following films between 1992 and 2007.

WILD WEST (1992), SHOT THROUGH THE HEART (1998), SUMMER IN THE SUBURBS (2000), FIDEL (2002), STUART A LIFE BACKWARDS (2007)

His other films/dramas during this time are:

THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS (1996) THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (2002) MAY 33RD (2004) TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH (2005) BLOOD AND OIL (2010)

HIs nominations and awards include :

TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH

BAFTA Awards / 2006 Nominee / Best Drama Serial

Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming / 2006 Nominee / TV Series and Serials

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART

San Francisco International Film Festival / 1999 Winner / Television Drama Feature

BLOOD AND OIL

Geneva International Fim Festival / 2009 Winner / Drama Series

Gangsters Series, Episode 3, 1976

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

This photo is from episode 3 of Gangsters series 1. It features Maurice Colbourne as John Kline and Saeed Jaffrey as Rafiq. Gangsters series 1 was a 6 part crime serial set in the Midlands underworld. It was shown on BBC1 on Thursday Sept 23 1976.

Here is the entry from the Radio Times:

“A series of six programmes by PHILIP MARTIN with Ahmed Khalil , Elizabeth Cassidy, Paul Antrim, Paul Barber,¬†Alibe Parsons, Saeed Jaffrey and Maurice Colbourne as John Kline. Incident 3 –
A missing consignment of heroin, an abandoned railway station. Surveying the scene are Rafiq, the sophisticated gangster, and Khan, the double agent. How will Kline escape the factions ranged against him at the Battle of Snow Hill?
Music composed and directed by DAVE GREENSLADE
Script editor PETER ANSORGE Designer IAN ASHURST Producer DAVID ROSE
Director ALASTAIR REID. BBC Birmingham”

Roger Slater was a boom operator on the series, with John Gilbert the recordist. Murray Laidla was part of the audio crew in Studio A when the barge was built in the studio.

Joyce Hawkins was the costume designer.

The Rum Runner nightclub was taken over by Gangsters and turned into a strip club.

Gangsters series in Pakistan

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

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This photograph is of the arrival of the cast and crew of the drama series Gangsters, when the end of the series was filmed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Included in the photograph are Andy Meikle (production co-ordinator, far left, beard), Heather Storr, Ann Arnold (costume designer 3rd from the left next to Heather), David Rose (producer – centre front row, black top and sunglasses), Arthur Heywood (sparks, back row, to the right of David), Saeed Jaffrey (actor, next to David), Richard Ganniclift (camera asst/operator to the right of Saeed Jaffrey), Alex Christison (sound recordist, last but one on right, with beard and sun glasses), far right Ken Morgan ( lighting cameraman). Also there, but not included in the shot were: Alastair Reid, director; Philip Martin, writer.

Thanks to Jane Mclean, Steve Saunderson, Janice Rider, Susan Astle, Janet Collins, and Bill Bohanna for helping identify people.

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Artemis 81

Jenny Brewer on Artemis 81 from pebblemill on Vimeo.

 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

In this specially recorded video, Jenny Brewer, who worked as a production assistant in the 1970s and early 1980s, talks about some of the challenges of making the three hour, epic drama, by David Rudkin: Artemis 81.

The film was transmitted on 29th December 1981. The BBC genome project (digitised historic Radio Times entries), provides the following information about Rudkin’s drama:

A film by DAVID RUDKIN with Hywel Bennett
Dinah Stabb , Dan O’Herlihy featuring Sting and Anthony Steel, Margaret Whiting Roland Curram , Ingrid Pitt
A Danish museum case shattered, the pieces of a pagan statue hidden in cars on a North Sea ferry, the subsequent deaths of ferry passengers, an old musician terrified that a curse upon him will cause the devastation of the Earth.
Gideon Harlax, a successful young novelist of ‘ the paranormal and unexplained ‘, thinks he has found the material for a new book. But as Gideon coldly exploits human tragedies, angry powers from Man’s ancient past are gathering. Alien Planet Danish ferry Oxford library
Original music by DAVE GREENSLADE Passacaglia by GORDON CROSSE
Film cameraman DAVID JACKSON Film editor MIKE HALL Designer GAVIN DAVIES
Script editor ROGER GREGORY Producer DAVID ROSE
Director ALASTAIR REID

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/e4712cf3ce794d8d9c47c637bf8dbadd

Jenny Brewer

 

 

 

The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Stuart Gandy: ‘I remember working on this in the dubbing theatre. Dave Baumber did a wonderful mix. It needed a lot of post-sync recording. A very interesting film, would love to see it again. I don’t think it was ever repeated.’

 

David Rudkin talking about the origins of Artemis 81


Origins of Artemis 81 from pebblemill on Vimeo.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Specially recorded interview with writer David Rudkin talking about how the drama ‘Artemis 81’ came about. ‘Artemis 81’ was transmitted in 1981, when producer David Rose still headed up the English Regions Drama Department. The drama was a three hour epic about the battle of good and evil, starring Hywell Bennett and Sting. Alastair Reid was the director, Dawn Robertson the associate producer, Jenny Brewer the PA, Roger Gregory the script editor, Ian Churchill the camera operator, Bob Jacobs and William Hartley were the production managers, and Mick Murphy was the AFM.