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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (4) | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 7 May 1916Prestatyn, Denbighshire, Wales, UK
Date of Death 14 March 1986Richmond, Surrey, England, UK  (cancer)
Nickname Huge Welshman

Mini Bio (1)

Huw Wheldon was born in Prestatyn in North Wales in May 1916. After attending Friar's School, Bangor, he studied at the London School of Economics. In 1939, at the outbreak of war, he volunteered, eventually joining the Royal Ulster Rifles. He landed in Normandy by glider on D-Day and won the Military Cross on D Day + 1. He finished the war as a Major. After the war he taught philosophy and politics to soldiers at Mount Carmel in what was still Palestine. In 1947 he became Director of the Arts Council in Wales and in 1951 was awarded the O.B.E. for his work as the Arts Council officer for the Festival of Britain. He then joined the BBC. He moved rapidly from publicity into production, making programs with General Brian Horrocks, Professor Robert Mackenzie and Orson Welles, among others. He was personally thanked by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan for the guidance and advice offered to the Premier in his live addresses to the nation. In 1958 Wheldon became Editor (a designation chosen by himself) of the first arts magazine program on British television, 'Monitor'. Wheldon gathered about him an astonishing ray of talents, including John Schlesinger and Ken Russell. John Boorman, too, has remarked on Wheldon's influence. In a TV interview after Wheldon's death Russell described 'Monitor' as "the British Film School". In 1964 Wheldon left the program, having "interviewed everyone I wanted to" and began his distinguished career as a television administrator. As Controller and then Managing Director of BBC television he oversaw what has come to be recognized as the 'golden age' of BBC television, during which were produced such series as 'Civilization', 'America' and 'The Ascent of Man', much original drama, such as Ken Loach's 'Cathy Come Home' and situation comedy of lasting merit, such as 'Steptoe and Son' (turned into 'Sanford & Son' in the USA) and 'Till Death Us Do Part' (which in America became 'All in the Family'). Compulsory retirement in 1976 was followed by a return to program making, with the 13 hour 'Royal Heritage', a major documentary about the Library of Congress and 'Destination D-Day' about the brilliant deceptions visited upon German intelligence by the British secret service prior to the Normandy invasions. Wheldon was knighted in 1976, for services to television. A BAFTA Award bears his name and a Huw Wheldon lecture is given each year under the auspices of the Royal Television Society. Wheldon was a colossus of the industry and his influence continues. He claimed to be the inventor of the term "narrowcasting". He died in 1986. His memorial service was held in Westminster Abbey.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Wynn Wheldon

Trivia (4)

Television Publicity Officer
There is an RTS (Royal Television Society) Huw Wheldon Lecture held in his honour annually.
Served as a paratrooper in the British army during WWII and took part in the D-Day invasion in 1944. He was also in the unit that liberated the Nazi death camp at Belsen, a subject he never talked about.
Was cast in a major cameo in Chariots Of Fire but had to pull out because he did not have a Equity card.

Personal Quotes (4)

To the extent that programs are manufactured and not made, to the extent that programs are even under the risk of being manufactured and not made, and to the extent that the stereotype is only a manufacture in disguise, the industry has failed. The entire industry exists only to make hand-make programs. - Royal Television Society Convention, Cambridge, 1970
On public service broadcasting: To make the good popular, and the popular good.
The crime is not to avoid failure. The crime is not to give triumph a chance.
Ignore the obvious at your peril.

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