Peter Fiddick and Herbert Kretzmer

We are sad to report the deaths this month of two of the founding members of the Broadcasting Press Guild: Peter Fiddick of the Guardian, who was the Guild’s first chairman, and Herbert Kretzmer who, as well as being an award-winning showbiz journalist and critic, became best-known for the writing the lyrics of Les Miserables and other musicals.

 

Peter Fiddick 1939-2020

Peter Fiddick, who has died at the age of 81, was a distinguished television columnist, with excellent contacts throughout the TV business, who later became the paper’s first media editor in 1984. On the 25th anniversary of the Guardian media pages, he wrote:

“The editor wants a proposal for a media page,” said the then features editor, Richard Gott. I had been writing a broadcasting column since 1971 and knocked out a one-page treatment, the editor, Peter Preston, put it to the board and a few weeks later, we were the first dedicated media section.

And me, for what it’s worth, the first ever media editor. “The title may help in the sectors I’m not yet known in,” I said to Preston. “OK,” he said, “so long as you don’t want the money.” We had a good line-up for the first page – Paul Fox, Derek Jameson, Nick Higham.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/may/18/peter-fiddick-25th-anniversary-media-guardian

Peter was the Guild’s first chairman and served for the first three years, followed by Martin Jackson who also did three years, after which the chairman’s term was changed to two years. Peter attended the Guild’s 40th birthday awards lunch in 2014, and brought Sir Paul Fox, of the BBC and Yorkshire Television, as his guest. He was photographed with previous chairs here: http://www.broadcastingpressguild.org/membership/list-of-past-bpg-chairs . You can read about Peter’s place in the founding of the BPG in 1974 here: http://www.broadcastingpressguild.org/2014/03/history-of-the-broadcasting-press-guild/

 

Herbert Kretzmer 1925-2020

Herbert Kretzmer died on October 14th at the age of 95. This is his obituary from the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/oct/14/herbert-kretzmer-obituary

Herbert had been a journalist on the the Sunday Express, Daily Sketch, Sunday Dispatch and Daily Express, when he  took up lyric-writing as a sideline, “a kitchen-table job”, he said. He wrote for the ground-breaking BBC satirical show  That WasThe Week That Was and his first musical, based on The Admirable Crichton, starred TW3’s  Millicent Martin. Herbert was the award-winning television critic of the Daily Mail when Cameron Mackintosh rang him “in a panic” to see if he would write the lyrics of Les Miserables, having concluded that the original lyrics, by the poet James Fenton, though brilliant and poetic, were unsingable in a popular show. 

Kretzmer wrote later: 

I was so keen to work on a big musical that I’d have accepted if it had been Three Blind Mice. At the time, I was a journalist on the Daily Mail. I begged extended leave, holed up in my house and barely emerged for five months. Lyrics and journalism are a good match: both are about manipulating language under constraint. Bars of music can’t be negotiated.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/feb/18/how-we-made-les-miserables

 

Brenda Maddox 1932 – 2019

Brenda Maddox was not only an outstandingly talented journalist, equally at home in the columns of the Economist and the Daily Telegraph, but an internationally recognised biographer. She specialised in revealing the little known lives of people, especially women, who had previously been overshadowed by their partners or colleagues. [Read more…]

Roy Addison 1944 – 2010

Some of you may already have heard the sad news that Roy Addison, a great friend and supporter of the Broadcasting Press Guild, has died at the age of 66. [Read more…]

Martin Jackson 1934-2009

Martin Jackson, a founder member of the BPG and twice the Guild’s chairman,  died on 28 December after a long illness. He went into hospital following a fall and was taken into intensive care on Christmas Eve. He was 75. [Read more…]

Martin Jackson Funeral Details

As you know, the sad news of Martin’s death was announced just after Christmas. There is a tribute on the BPG website and you are invited to submit your own recollections there.

Martin’s funeral will be on Thursday January 14, 2010, at 15.30, at Hastings Crematorium, The Ridge, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 2AE. And afterwards at Martin’s home at Hawkhurst, Kent.  More details are available from his daughter Rebekah by Email or on 01580 753624. If you can, please let Rebekah know if you are likely to attend afterwards.

Family flowers only please. Donations to Hospice in the Weald via KB

Sills funeral directors on 01580 712284.

Christopher Kenworthy, 1937- 2008

Chris Kenworthy, a member since the Guild’s inception, died in December aged 71. He had suffered from Leukaemia for about ten years. As many friends noted, he wore his illness so lightly, his famous sense of humour rarely deserting him, that few realised how serious his condition was. [Read more…]

Hugo Martin 1942 – 2006

Broadcasting Press Guild member Hugo Martin has died suddenly at the age of 64.

Hugo was formerly the editor of Digital News, published by the Digital TV Group (DTG), and previously worked for IPC Magazines. A journalist for all of his working life, Hugo began his career on The Brighton and Hove Herald, editing directly on the printblogs in the days when newspapers were still set in hot metal. [Read more…]

Keith Samuel 1939 – 2006

One of the BBC’s longest serving publicity officers, Keith Samuel, has died at the age of 66.

As head of BBC Television Press and Publicity for 13 years until his retirement in 1998, Keith was well known to a generation of BPG members. On his retirement, after promotion to Controller in charge of BBC publicity departments for TV, radio, regions and the new digital channels, the Guild organised a dinner in his honour – an accolade never offered to any other publicity chief. [Read more…]