In my youth I was an avid film fan with a hobby in photography so to work behind a film camera seemed a perfect career choice. After National Service I managed to get a job withNettleford Studios as a clapper/loader (and maker of tea!) and I started to learn my craft.
After 3 years of working on over 20 episodes of “Robin Hood’ and other films I was lucky enough to get a job on a Lewis GIlbert film “The Admirable Chricton” and my first foreign location in Bermuda. The DOP was Wilkie Cooper. Followed by an Otto Preminger film “St Joan” (DOP Georges Perrinal BSC) then a 3 month location shoot in India working and living in the jungle on the film “Harry Black and the Tiger”with John Wilcox BSC
John’s next film was “Carve her Name with Pride” a Lewis Gilbert film (and I was thrilled to work on what remains one of my all-time favourite films) I carried on working as a focus puller for John for over 7 years working on 14 films including “The Guns of Navarone”, “Summer Holiday”, “633 Squadron” and 4 films with Peter Sellers.
Whilst working with David Watkin I was asked if I would like to work on the 2nd Unit of “Charge of the Light Brigade” with Peter Suschitzky as DOP. The following March Peter Suschitzky asked me to work on “Lock up Your Daughters in Ireland”
1968 was to be a very busy year for me, spending 10 months of the year overseas. In 1969 I made the decision to become a Camera Operator and my first film was “Husbands” directed by John Cassevettis with Victor Kemper ASC as DOP.
The early 1970s were very bad years for film production in the UK as most American companies pulled out. I survived on documentaries, commercial and golf shoots. In 1976 I had a call from Robert Watts asking me to work as 2nd Camera Operator on “Star Wars” with Gil Taylor BSC as DOP, followed by “Superman” and “A Bridge too Far” with Richard Attenborough. In 1979 Gil invited me to operate on the film “Meetings with Remarkable Men” with Director Peter Brook. It was a 7 week location in Afghanistan in over 50 degree heat and we got out just before the Russians invaded.
I was then asked to be 2nd Unit DOP by Robert Watts on “The Empire Strikes Back” shot in Norway with Peter MacDonald directing. Working in minus 20 was a huge test!
In 1990 I was invited to become an associate member of the BSC, a very great honour.
The last 10 years of my career saw me on films across Ireland, the UK and Canada. My final job was a children’s live and animation blue screen called “Blues Clues” the only digital work I ever did.
In the late 70s Operator Mike Fox, Camera Assistant Terry Cole, John Deaton and myself created the GBCT, The Guild of British Camera Technicians, the aim was to create a professional, non-political organisation that could better the aims of the camera department.Look at it now – a great achievement.