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Obituary: Ewart Needham

Obituary: Ewart Needham
News
Dianne Nelmes
27 July 2012

Ewart Needham, award winning film cameraman and former managing director of Teddington Studios, has died aged 71.

Ewart died peacefully in the picturesque coastal hamlet of Southerndown in Wales where he and his wife, Jill James, moved eight years ago to establish a multi media creative conference centre.

Ewart was a well respected broadcasting and television executive who, during the 1980s and 1990s, led dramatic technological change at Thames Television where he was the head of the production and technology division.

Following the franchise auction of the early 1990s and the loss of the Thames television franchise, Ewart was appointed managing director of the newly established Teddington Studios and subsequently became chairman.

Ewart was educated at the Worcester Cathedral Kings School where he made his first “movie” at the age of 14. His burning ambition was to make films and very soon after joining the TV industry as a trainee, Ewart became the youngest ever cameraman to be appointed by the BBC.

Within two years, Ewart was attached to the prestigious BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol where he worked on a range of major BBC series with Peter Scott, David Attenborough, Gerald Durrell, and Desmond Morris.

Ewart went on to work on many major BBC Series: Tonight presented by Alan Whicker, Songs of Praise, Nationwide and Z Cars.

Ewart moved into senior production management at the BBC and soon after was offered a management role at Thames Television.

As director of production at Thames, Ewart oversaw major network series, including The Bill, The Des O’Connor Show and This Is Your Life.

Throughout his career, Ewart was committed to training, and particularly passionate about the need to support young people entering the industry and to encourage them to explore new ways of making television.

At Thames Television, he led the move into groundbreaking and controversial new technology that was to see film production replaced by tape, and revolutionise the news and television industry. He also led Thames in its first steps into digital broadcasting when the company won the sports contract to broadcast racing on C4.

Ewart’s ground breaking research into, and implementation of, new technology at Thames Television led The Royal Television Society to invite him to present a paper on the subject.

Throughout his career, Ewart sat on many bodies representing a range of industry issues. He was the Chairman of the British Board of Film Classification; co-founder of TAPS - the Television Arts Performance Showcase; an honorary fellow of the Royal Television Society; A founder member of Skillset; and a staunch supporter of BAFTA.


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