Category Archives: People

Roger Smeathers RIP

I’ve just received this from Anthony Pugh:-

Thought I would let you know that Roger Smeathers passed away in hospital on Sunday 8th November 2015 following a short illness. He worked in VT at Alexandra Palace after training at Wood Norton in the mid 60’s, Roger went on to joined ATV/Central TV in Birmingham where he worked in the VTR Dept until 2003 when he retired. I expect that some of your VT old boys will remember him.

As yet no date set for Roger’s funeral.

Peter Massey RIP

From Neil Eccles,

Sadly, I have to tell you that Peter (Massey) died on Wednesday. I had the news from Bob Corps-Reader and phoned Shirley Massey in Scotland.
Peter was a lovely man and incredibly generous to all his colleagues.  He was a superb instinctive director and very popular with the crews and his lads and lasses (I was one). He will be sadly missed.

The following is from Shirley and Peters  daughter Caroline

Dear Neil
Thank you so much for your phone call and your very kind words about Daddy.
The funeral is taking place on Friday 25th September at 11am.  Location is Gatehouse Parish Church, Castramon Road, Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway.
I know it is short notice and quite a distance but if there are any of Daddy’s colleagues who would like to attend then do let me know at this email  Telephone is 01557 815088.

Any letters or cards can be sent to Mrs Shirley Massey and family, Lakeview, Cally Drive, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas, DG7 2DJ.

We will be sending donations to the RNLI and the Parkinsons UK charities.

Lawford Thomas RIP

From Verena Clark of the Chiltern Open Air Museum Museum where Lawford has been working recently.

Lawford died peacefully at 12.15am on 15th May 2015 at Buckingham House Nursing Home.  I am pleased to say that he did not suffer in his last days
and the staff at the home looked after him very well. He was pleased to be there and not at home alone.

His passing will be a big loss to us all as we all knew and respected Lawford for his immense talents and practical capabilities.

The funeral will be on Monday June 1st at 2.30pm  at Chilterns Crematorium, (Postcode HP7 OND), in the Milton Chapel.

Afterwards, everyone is invited back to the Chiltern Open Air Museum (post code HP8 4AB in Chalfont St Giles) for tea and the opportunity to see the place which Lawford loved and where he gave so much of his time.

Please pass this invitation on to as many people as you wish to who knew Lawford from his BBC days.  .

I would be grateful if you could reply to to let me know if you are coming to either the service and/or the tea as I am catering for the event.

Verena Clark

Before joining P&ID where he worked until his retirement 20 years ago, he had been in Telecine. His “Brief History of Telecine in the BBC”, written in 1993 in association with Geoff Rowlands, is reproduced in full under Telecine & FR on the main website.


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