Cameraman, John Williams remembers John Kenyon

John Kenyon

Really sorry to hear of John’s death. He was one of the youngest Exec Producers in the BBC and ran the half-hour Sunday farming programmes 52 weeks of the year. He had a very small staff just two directors, I think 3 Pas, plus two well respected farming presenters, John Cherrington, later his son Dan, and David Richardson. Later, he was joined by Ken Pollock.

It was specifically aimed at farmers and took a look at food production across Britain and Europe including the Common Market. One crew a week would be allocated, which took us around the country and it opened my eyes to the wonders of food production from the abattoir, to growing watercress and our Christmas dinner, be that turkey or goose!

Later on in my career I would often talk with him about broadening the programme, but it never happened although in my mind his programme was the forerunner of the now very successful Countryfile programme that goes out Sunday nights.

John regularly gave me the chance to direct, by offering attachments; one I remember especially was on Dutch-Elm disease, a disease that has devastated the country of these fine trees. He was a good friend.

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

Andrew Thorman: ‘I never knew him but would like to think that those of us who followed in his path were walking a well trodden way.’

Top Gear Motorsport

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Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Thanks to Ian Collins for sharing this titles grab from Top Gear Motorsport, which was a spin off series from the popular BBC2 motoring magazine show, which focused on all types of motorsport and went out between 1995-8.

Here is the entry from the Radio Times for the first episode of the series from autumn 1995, courtesy of the BBC Genome project: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/83b5237bb8e8487ab2b57dbfb2035870

“In the first of a 17-part series, John Cleland , recently crowned British
Touring Car Champion, reviews his season. Plus, there’s a look at Alister McRae ‘s bid for glory in the Scottish round of the Top Gear British Rally Championship, and a review of the career of five times world champion
Juan Manuel Fangio , who died earlier this year. Presented by Tiff Needell , Tony Mason and Steve Berry.
Series producer Ken Pollock ; Executive producer
Dennis Adams”

 

Countryfile – Ken Pollock

 

Countryfile team

Countryfile team. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regarding Countryfile, it is fun to look at the photograph and recognise old friends/colleagues.
My involvement was to be a producer on Farming, with Martin Small, and Exec John Kenyon. We wanted to acknowledge the large “over the shoulder” audience we had on Farming, and hence wrote the brief for Countryfile. I remember it well, sitting in John Kenyon’s office sketching in the idea, and kicking around names. I came up with the Countryfile name, although we may have thought it should be two words…
Michael Grade, Controller BBC1 accepted the idea, the team went from 4 to 24, and the Countryfile bandwagon started rolling.
After poor Brain Strachan died, there was a vacancy on Top Gear, and John Kenyon told me to get some broader experience, before applying to run Countryfile. So I did, but they did not want me to run Countryfile, as I was supposedly too biased to the farming community and Mike Fitzgerald got the gig.
I stuck with Top Gear and the rest is history…

Ken Pollock

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Patrick Flavelle: ‘I started on a rolling weekly contract working with Fitz surfacing potential stories at the fag end of Farming…led to working on the show for its first 11 years. Happy days and incredibly boozy Xmas do’s…the one after this photo was very messy!’

Mick Murphy: ‘3rd from right, 2nd row – Sue Lloyd, Director. 1st on the left, front row – Barry Paine, former BBC producer / wildlife narrator, who used to voice over some of our films. Girl behind Fitz is called Sarah…? Great picture. ‘

Jane McLean: ‘John Clarke on the left .. who I went to Russia and Siberia with for Countryfile in 1989. Should try & find the Russian pix. Talk about an eye opener. The director was Dick Colthurst (what happened to him?) and the crew was Nigel Davey, Barrie Foster, Keith Rodgerson and Andy Frizzell. We were force-fed vodka shots 24/7 – honestly! ‘

Pam Relton: ‘Dick is very successful Jane – he went to BBC Bristol after CountryFile and is now MD at Tigress Productions.’

Jane McLean: ‘Good on him. Never heard of Tigress Prods – am SO out of the loop these days re anything telly!’

Viv Ellis: ‘I recognise Yasmine O’Grady looking glam – as ever. I worked on Farming for a few months’

Roy Thompson: ‘Spent a very happy attachment to Countryfile from Wood Norton even getting to direct a piece on arts in rural communities. Very supportive and friendly team.’

Andrea Buffery: ‘This picture would look amazing next to the Countryfile team today. It consists of 30 plus people.’

Steve Johnson: ‘I worked on Countryside for a short time in mid nineties, arranged the filming of the brand new RSPB reserve at Conwy.’

Pam Relton: ‘As a real City girl, CountryFile opened my eyes to so many things. I remember my first shoot – in a battery hen farm, a barn the size of a hanger filled with chickens in cages no bigger than themselves, floor to ceiling, the noise!! I’ve not knowingly eaten anything other than free range, outdoor-reared produce since. I learned so much about the pressures on farmers and producers to comply with the big supermarkets. This was the great thing about working on programmes like this – that open up the issues to do with farming and the countryside to everyone.’

Jane McLean: ‘I was country born & bred Pam – my brother was a pig farmer – and I know exactly what you’re talking about from the other side! ‘