July 19, 2018

John Daly BSC is the recipient of the BSC ARRI JOHN ALCOTT MEMORIAL AWARD


We are delighted that John Daly BSC was the recipient of this year's 'BSC ARRI John Alcott Memorial Award.'

Working tirelessly for the society, John is greatly appreciated! The award was presented at the recent BSC Summer Luncheon held at the historic Pinewood Studios. 

Featured here with Milan Krsljanin from ARRI CT (LHS) who presented the award and Nigel Walters BSC Vice President (RHS) who read the citation. Well done John!

Citation for John Daly


I should like to begin by reading a message I received this week, not from Mrs Trellis of North Wales, but our Secretary Audra Marshall who said “ I can think of no-one more deserving to receive the BSC ARRI/John Alcott Memorial Award than BLEEP BLEEP.   You would not expect me to reveal the identity of BLEEP BLEEP --- apparently it is Croatian slang” for” Its Coming Home”. No more fake news.

In all seriousness it is worth reminding ourselves that this magnificent trophy given by ARRI is in memory of one of the BSC’s greatest cinematographers, John Alcott.  He collaborated with Stanley Kubrick on such films as A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Shining as well as receiving his Oscar for Barry Lyndon.  He died 32 years ago aged just 53.

This Award is at the discretion of ARRI.  For all aspects of the criteria laid down for services to the BSC todays recipient received the unanimous approval of the Board. He was born in London not far from the shadows of the Dorchester Hotel where his father was Head Waiter. Now at least he will realise who he is! He secured a clockwork film camera as a teenager and determined film was to be his career. He joined the BBC Film Library where he was introduced by a workmate to a girl with whom he fell in love. Now his wife, is still with him at this luncheon today. Unknown to him at the time, but by a fortunate co-incidence, she happened to be the daughter of a prominent BSC member, the most respected of the fifty plus cinematographers working in the seventies at BBC Ealing Studios.

Today’s recipient for this prestigious Award, was initially rejected by the BBC for the position of a  camera trainee. He persevered with determination and was eventually accepted. He embarked in a training opportunity, now destroyed by the same organisation who created it. The BBC Fim Unit opened up horizons for a young cinematographer It was the most exciting and vibrant Film Unit in the World, larger even than Mos films. The camera manager was Hugh Wilson and he  was joining an environment which included Dick Bush, Tubby Englander, Nat Crosby, Tony Imi, Brian Tufano, Ken Macmillan, Peter Bartlett, Peter Hall, John McGlashan and many others. His colleagues were assistants who were yet to make their future mark in the film industry including Phil Meheux, Remi Aderfarasin, and Tony Pierce-Roberts. Having served his apprenticeship and despite considerable competition he quickly made his mark shooting such memorable series as “Our Friends in the North. He became known as a young cinematographer who was going places, the one to watch. After cutting his teeth on the wide range of programmes serviced by the BBC Ealing Studios his first break came in 1990 when he was asked to shoot “Close Relations” a film directed by Adrian Shergold. His first BAFTA came after collaborating with Roger Michell on “Persuasion.” The second BAFTA was to follow his departure from the BBC in 1998. It was for the Granada’s film “Far from the Madding Crowd”, rated his best work to date by his father-in-law, the BSC’s very own Ken Westbury.

The ethics of public broadcasting stayed has remained with him throughout his freelance life as illustrated by his loyalty `to the BSC. The old family in Ealing became his new freelance family. He was elected a BSC member in 1995 and has served on the Board as a governor since 2008.

Many organisations are fortunate enough to have their quiet, unsung heroes. The men and women, devoted, reliable and selfless, who seem to turn up everywhere. The BSC has just a member and he is the man who is about to receive this Award. He has always been totally committed to every task he undertakes.  He worked tirelessly to represent the BSC in negotiations with BECTU, the GBCT and the Editors to establish Screen Craft Rights.  This collecting Society has in the last five years has collected almost 5 million pounds to distribute to film workers form German and Scandinavian sources.  As Chairman of the Board he has never missed a meeting except when abroad.

Those of you who have attended the popular Regent Street cinema presentations in co-operation with the BSC Club and Westminster University, will have noticed him unobtrusively lighting and directing the cameras. He has never missed one opportunity to be there. The successful BSC Expo show presentations have been co-ordinated under his careful supervision. He plays an active role on the BSC technical committee which is working with distributors to improve the quality of cinema projection. As a BSC representative in the Digital Cinema Conference in Oslo last year his report on the event showed diligence and conscientiousness in excess of the normal standards of the BSC Board and became an object lesson in excellence.

On a personal level it has been my pleasure to have known him since his early days in the BBC and to have sat through so many meetings of one kind and another with the BSC.  Sometimes excruciatingly boring especially when debating the preferred dessert to be offered at Operators Night, he remains calmness personified. I have never known him display anything other than the gentlest of manners and calmness of temperament. An eternally youthful looking grandfather and a wonderful team player in everything he does, he has truly earned this presentation.

Milan Krsljanin from ARRI CT was called upon to present the award. 


Photography by Richard Blanshard