September 6, 2022

Tony Spratling BSC - Memorial Day



On Saturday, August 27, 2022, the BSC held a memorial gathering in honour of past president and honorary member, Tony Spratling BSC.

Over 70 relatives, friends and colleagues joined Diana Spratling at North Lodge, Pinewood Studios to celebrate Tony’s life and to christen a beautiful wooden bench with thanks to Terry Ackland-Snow and Ray which sits in the garden.

On display was a book of stills encompassing Tony’s career put together by his family as a Christmas present and a book of remembrance for us all to sign together with an ample supply of excellent food and drink superbly organised by Helen in the BSC Office.

Harvey Harrison BSC reminisced and told some amusing stories of Tony. His son, Gary, thanked everyone for the celebration.

Tony sadly died last year after a lifetime in the British Film Industry which he loved. Born in 1930, Tony’s first job was as a third assistant director for Gainsborough Pictures at Shepherd’s Bush. Tony said, “I knew George Hill BSC, head of the camera department, and asked about working with cameras to which George told me ‘to start work on Monday as a clapper boy.’”

He served in the RAF during the Second World War as an aircrew photographer and then ended up at Gate Studios, Elstree where he met and worked with Alex Thomson BSC with whom he became great friends for the rest of his life. He claims it was Alex who taught him how to light for the cinema.

Tony’s first film as cinematographer was The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970 d: Basil Dearden) starring Roger Moore who became another good friend. Between 1971 and 1972, Tony shot all 24 episodes of television series, The Persuaders, starring Moore and Hollywood star, Tony Curtis, some of which Moore directed. “It took eight days to shoot each episode with a lot of day-for-night shooting.”

In his latter career Tony was in demand as a second unit cinematographer and worked on films such as The Krays (1990 d: Peter Medak), Alien 3 (1992 d: David Fincher), The Saint (1997 d: Philip Noyce) and Entrapment (1999 d: Jon Amiel).

As a member of the BSC, Tony served on the board of Governors from 1982 to 1990 and was President from 1988 to 1990. Tony’s son, Gary Spratling Associate BSC ACO is an accomplished camera operator.