In the early '60s I worked at BTF under John Legard who was then engaged on the editing of Wild Highlands and Robert Reid Reports on British Waterways, amongst others. Then after a short spell with Associated Rediffusion, as an assembly editor on the topical programme "This Week", produced by Cyril Bennett and Peter Morley, I came back to BTF to work with Ted Eggs, as my assistant, on a series of Railway Electrification and safety films. During that time we edited The Third Sam on which Stanley Holloway did the narration, with Ken Fairbain directing. Helped by the miles of out-takes from Terminus, we also edited, I am a litter basket, in which the basket tells the story.
Going freelance, I left BTF to edit a film for the opening of the ERNIE premium bond computer system. I took all the work I could find including medical films and commercials and hired a permanent cutting room in Meard Street. Financially the going was a bit tough and to obtain a mortgage, in those days, it was necessary to have a full time job. There was nothing for it but to join Visnews as a news editor. The pay was good and I obtained the mortgage I wanted. Better than that I was able to continue my medical, animation and commercial work during the day, mainly because of the generous shift pattern (mostly on nights) at Visnews. One day whilst working in a cutting room in Cinema House, Jim Godfrey, another BTF old timer, came to ask my boss if I could edit a news story for ABC (America). The boss agreed and I cut my first piece for them that evening. When Jim came again the boss would not agree so at the end of the day I took Jim round to my own cutting rooms in Heard Street, where we cut the story. That was at the end of 1967 and the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship. It should be mentioned that many of the assistant editors I trained up to help me speed through my shifts at Visnews, were also moonlighting for NBC and doing neg cutting and all sorts of other ~obs. One individual (not an editor) was actually involved in breaking sanctions to Rhodesia.
When the Vietnam Peace talks began in Paris I was able to negotiate a nine day break (due to the shift pattern) and put together a kit of portable editing equipment for shipment to Paris, I was to earn £20 per day, wow! I posted my resignation from Visnews from Heathrow airport, but had to return to work out my notice, booking Steven Cross to takeover in Paris. That first assignment was very exciting as the talks were overshadowed by the student riots. We were barricaded into the TV station by the CRS (riot police) as the building was a target for the students. After the success of this I continued to edit for ABC both in London and Paris, whilst somehow keeping the documentaries going at Meard Street. Once I travelled to Cairo, which was still in a "state of war" blackout, to show a film to the Arab league (35mm double headed) with David Taylor and producer Dr Wassef. In 1969 ABC took me to Rome and then Paris again. In Rome we worked in their temporary experimental colour transmission building. In Czechoslovakia I worked in their new satellite ground station - so new that there were duck boards over the wet cement. Back to Paris then Helsinki. 1970 saw me in Paris, a lot, Vienna, Wiesbaden, Rome, Madrid and of course London.
The stories went on, through train sieges, monetary crisis, wars, political crisis and so on. I travelled all over Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Iron Curtain countries. It is quite a story1 I am writing a book: would you like me to tell you about it?