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.

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: . You can read about Peter’s place in the founding of the BPG in 1974 here:


Herbert Kretzmer 1925-2020

Herbert Kretzmer died on October 14th at the age of 95. This is his obituary from the Guardian:

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.