Category Archives: People

Ian Smith RIP

I have just seen a post on Facebook by Peter Cleaver reporting the death of Ian Smith.

“He was a true gentleman producer who was very caring of his craft, his programmes and specially the people with whom he worked. BBC Events were richer because of him. It was a real pleasure to have known and worked with him.”

More information when I get it.

Tom Corcoran RIP

Please could you let everyone know that very sadly the wonderful Tom Corcoran who directed Late Night Line-Up, The Old Grey Whistle Test, The Live Aid concert in 1985, Wogan and Eight Days A Week amongst many other BBC studio and OB programmes, died last Thursday 23rd October after a short illness.

His sister Cathy is arranging for the funeral to be held at Mortlake Crematorium so that as many Beeb people as possible can attend, on 12th November.

More details see here:-Funeral of Tom Corcoran

Christmas is Coming!

Apologies for the absence of updates, but Mrs C J and I have just finished writing a book about the Great War which went to the printers yesterday afternoon. A 2½ year project it has taken up a lot of my time – I’m publishing it – but now I can return to the Oldboys website once more.

Nick Martin has just sent me the details of the Surbiton Christmas Lunch; Thursday December 4th is the date for your diaries, and you will find full details, and, in due course, a Menu at

Additionally, Richard Cox’s photographs of the last Oldboys Lunch at “The Black Horse” will be on the web in a couple of days.

Alan Watkins RIP

I’ve just received the following email from Michael Watkins, Alan’s son:-

I’m very sorry to report the death of my father, Alan Watkins on Sunday 27th July 2014 after a short illness. My sister and I were at his bedside as he passed away peacefully.
I wonder if you would be happy to post a notice on your site and invite comments/memories from anyone who remembers working with him in the late 50’s/early 60s? I will try to include as many recollections as possible at the service.

Dad was a TV fan through and through, working for the BBC for 25 years until 1980, when he moved to help set up and run the National Film Archive’s brand new television recording unit, which I’m delighted to say has now recorded around 900,000 programmes for the nation.
He and I spoke numerous times about his work editing programmes for the BBC and he would often remark that this period, – especially after the move into the newly opened TV Centre – was the most fun of his career. He told me he edited Kiss Me Kate, the very first programme to be broadcast on BBC2 in 1964, along with numerous episodes of classics such as Dr Who, Play School and others.
Dad was a lover of television through and through. He had a lifelong passion for the craft, the production process and had within him a natural gift for what looked right – and wrong – on screen, along with a flair for precision, timing and the creation of the seamless edits nobody is supposed to consciously notice.
He was much loved and will be sorely missed

VT Tea

Peter Neill has just sent the following:-

Dear VT Old Boys,
A few of you will remember me – most won’t know me from Adam, but I worked in the VT Library as Mike Scott’s assistant for 6 months in 1964/65.
I then moved to tech ops and then the South East region where, 49 years later I still do the odd shift!
But VT was my first job and I always remember those few months with fondness.
A while ago a friend suggested the idea of a VT Tea mug and, after a couple of false starts I’ve found a supplier who can do a reasonable representation of the paper cup. It was intended as a one-off for myself, but a few people have expressed interest, so I thought I’d see how many were interested before placing a proper order.
They’re a bit bigger than the old paper cups, and I’m going to tweak the artwork so it fits better – and round the ornery of the BBC logo. Made of china and double-walled (so they can be held quite comfortably even with very hot contents) they come with a black (or possibly white) rubber lid and will work out at about £6 each (I don’t plan to make a profit on them).
If anyone is interested, please e-mail me at
Peter Neill (120454N)