Cast & Crew

Here you will see brief biographies of some of the staff members of British Transport and some of the actors who loaned their voices to various productions.

Edgar Anstey - Producer

Tasked with the formation of British Transport Films in 1948 by the newly nationalised British Transport Commission and was its chief and Producer from 1949 until retirement in 1975 and his position was filled by John W. Shepherd.

Anstey played a short cameo role after retirement in the 1977 production 'Age of Invention'.

(b. 16th February 1907, Watford, Hertfordshire. d. 26 September 1987.)

John W. Shepherd - Executive Producer.

Took over from Edgar Anstey in 1974 until the film unit's closure in 1982.

John Legard - Editor, Producer.

Formerly with the Crown Film Unit and ultimately became Editor in Chief at BTF.

Paul le Saux - Writer

Pictured without his trademark cigarette, BTF's resident wordsmith died tragically young from cancer.

James Muir Mathieson - Composer, Conductor

Not a full-time BTF employee of course but involved in so many productions as conductor. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music, he enjoyed a long and distinguished career as one of the most distinguished composers and musical directors in British cinema.

(b. 24th January 1911, Stirling, Scotland. d. 2nd August 1975.)

Rod K. Neilson-Baxter - Writer, Director, Narrator

Rod's distinctive voice added texture to many a BTF production where he seemed to specialise with waterways and civil engineering films.

(b. 1909.)

Ron Craigen - Cameraman

Ron had been with BTF from day one with Edgar Anstey and never left until retirement was due in 1978 - even then they asked him back to do Robbie in 79. Ron was responsible for training many cameramen throughout the industry. He was a very popular member of the unit and looked upon with great affection..

(b. 1915 d. 2006)

Stewart McAllister - Editor, Producer, Narrator

A highly adaptable member of BTF staff from the early days and who could be relied upon to offer a film his distinctively melancholic Scottish accent where it was so required.

Most noticeably narrated Land of Robert Burns and I Am A Litter Basket and provided occasional voices on other titles such as Dodging the Column.

(b. 27th December 1914, Scotland. d. 27th November 1962, Lanark, Scotland (cancer of the liver)

David Watkin - Cameraman

Born into an illustrious railway family, he began work with the Southern Region Film Unit of British Railways in the late 40's. In 1950 he became a messenger boy and assistant cameraman at British Transport Films. Wrote the book 'Why Is There Only One Word for Thesaurus?' and achieved numerous film industry awards for his work after BTF.

(b. 23rd March 1925, Margate, Kent. d. 19th February 2008)

David's tribute website contains several references to his time at British Transport Films:-

Billy Williams - Cameraman

Born as William D. Williams, son of documentary and newsreel cameraman Billy Williams Sr. [1895-1966].
Williams joined his father as an apprentice cameraman, remaining with him for four years. Later he served in the RAF as a photographer. On leaving the RAF he obtained a job with British Transport Films before a distuinguished career in feature films.

Billy reprised his footplate filming experience for Elizabethan Express as part of the 2008 BBC Documentary on British Transport Films.

(b. 3rd June 1929, Walthamstow, London).

Further information :-


To be continued...