The Golden Star award winners

The Golden Star award winners

Outstanding creative contributions to the TV programmes of Rediffusion, London during the last year have been recognised by the Board of Directors. Four £1,000 Golden Star Awards have been made for the first time following a secret ballot. The winners who contributed to programmes produced by the company during the year ended October 31 are: 

Sound recordists Basil Rootes and Freddie Slade jointly (they receive £500 each) for their work on the sound recording for the documentary ‘The Grafters’ which dealt with street traders; Programme director and producer Cyril Coke for his work on ‘Crime and Punishment’ and for his production of the ‘Four of Hearts’ drama series starring Patrick Wymark;

Writer Robert Kee for his script for the ‘Children of Revolution’ Intertel documentary about young people growing up in Czechoslovakia and for his script contributions to ‘This Week’; Actress Philippa Gail for her part in ‘Summertime Ends Tonight’, the last play in the ‘Four of Hearts’ series (she appeared as Lyn, a 19-year-old girl with whom Patrick Wymark as a Q.C. fell in love).

Each were presented with their cheque and their Golden Star trophies (based on the company’s symbol and trade mark) by the chairman of Rediffusion Television Ltd., Mr. John Spencer Wills, at the company’s annual general meeting at Wembley Studios on Tuesday, November 16.

The Board decided last year to introduce the awards scheme to recognise outstanding contributions to the company’s programmes, based on personal viewing observations and opinions of the directors of the company.

They were assisted by a preliminary selection committee which considered nominations for the awards by members of the staff of Rediffusion, London. The members of this committee were: Mr. B. C. Sendall, C.B.E., deputy director general (programme services) of the Independent Television Authority;
Mr. Leonard Marsland Gander, television editor of the ‘Daily Telegraph’;
Mr. Clifford Davis, television editor of the ‘Daily Mirror’;
Mr. Paul Adorian, managing director;
Mr. John McMillan, general manager.

The classes in which the four awards were made were:

— staff in the fields of camera operation, engineering, filming, graphics, lighting makeup, scenery, sound, wardrobe or any other fields in which the exercise of special skills contributed to the success of a programme;
— a producer or a director;
— an author or composer;
— an actor, actress or other performer.

Golden Star award

Philippa Gail

Robert Kee

Cyril Coke

Basil Rootes

Freddie Slade

Philippa Gail

Robert Kee

Cyril Coke

Philippa Gail starred with Patrick Wymark in ‘Summertime Ends Tonight’ in the ‘Four of Hearts’ series. Aged 23, went to the Webber Douglas Drama School at the age of 17. After two years, left to go into repertory at Chesterfield, Cheltenham and Guildford. Highlight was playing the lead in ‘Salad Days’ at Chesterfield. Three small parts in TV followed a year in repertory, then the film ‘This Is My Street’. Appeared in the ‘Triangle’ experimental TV drama series. Was in ‘Giants on Saturday’ and a ‘Riviera Police’ story for Rediffusion. Single, likes reading a lot. Lives in a Knightsbridge flat.

Robert Kee, writer. Born 1919. Served with Bomber Command as a Fit. Lt. during the war. Afterwards worked for the ‘Strand’ magazine and ‘Picture Post’. Started to freelance in 1951. Was ‘The Observer’s’ correspondent at the time of Suez. Also wrote feature articles for ‘The Sunday Times’. Became the literary editor of the ‘Spectator’ in 1957. Worked on feature programmes for BBC TV from 1958. Contributed first story to ‘This Week’ in November 1964. Also worked for Television Reporters International for two years on documentaries. Wrote and narrated script for Intertel documentary ‘Children of Revolution’ and has also visited Ethiopia, Vietnam, America. India and Rhodesia for ‘This Week’ during the past year.

Cyril Edward Rigby Coke, producer and director. Son of the late Edward Rigby, character actor, and Phyllis Austin, authoress. Served in Italy with Eighth Army during war. From 1946 to 1955 worked on films with Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat as assistant to the producers and casting director. Joined Rediffusion, London in April 1955. Has produced and directed more than 50 plays including ‘Dead on Nine’, ‘House of Lies’, ‘Darkness at Noon’, ‘Crime and Punishment’ and ‘Four of Hearts’. Married to Muriel Young, children’s programme presenter.

Basil Rootes

Freddie Slade

Basil Rootes, sound recordist. Born 1921. Served with Bomber Command during war as flight engineer. Went to Shepperton Studios in 1946 as a sound assistant. In 1950 became a freelance boom operator on feature films. Joined Rediffusion, London in 1956 as a sound recordist. Has travelled on documentary programmes all over the world. Notable programmes were ‘The Quiet War’ (Vietnam), ‘Living with a Giant’ (Canada), ‘America – on the edge of abundance’ and ‘America – the dollar poor’; the first two series of ‘Crane’ (Morocco) and ‘The Grafters’. Married with four children. Breeds pedigree dogs.

Freddie Slade, film dubbing mixer. Born 1919. Joined the Odeon cinema chain at the age of 15 as a page boy, then trainee projectionist. At 20 went to Denham film studios as a projectionist. When Denham closed down, he became a sound camera operator/recordist at Pinewood studios. Joined Rediffusion, London in February 1955, becoming an assistant dubbing mixer in 1956. Worked on dubbing the sound for such documentaries as ‘The Two Faces of Japan’ and ‘The Quiet War’. Has been responsible regularly for the sound dubbing on ‘This Week’ as well as ‘The Grafters’.

1964 – Rediffusion, London arrives

1964 – REDIFFUSION, LONDON ARRIVES

The new contracts with the ITA were made and it was decided to form a new company to take over the television assets of Associated-Rediffusion Ltd which was wound up. The new company was called Rediffusion Television Ltd. In this year – on April 6 – a new name for on-screen and publicity purposes was adopted – Rediffusion, London.

All this was swiftly followed by something new in educative programmes. ‘Towards 2000 – the Britain We Make’ traced scientific and technological progress from the age of Shakespeare, through the present and into the future.

A documentary, an entertainment show and a play followed to demonstrate the versatility of the staff of Rediffusion, London. The documentary was ‘Black Marries White’ and it took third place in TAM’s top 10 for the week, being seen in 7,606,000 homes on April 29. The entertainment show was ‘Around the Beatles’ on June 8. This programme helped the dollar reserves by being seen coast-to-coast in the United States in November. Then ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ on June 24 achieved the largest audience yet for a Shakespeare play on British television when it was seen in 3,855,000 homes. One critic described it as ‘the most profoundly satisfying dramatic experience given by television.’

To encourage these diverse talents shown by the staff, the Board set up a ‘Golden Star Awards’ scheme on November 1, under which the staff themselves could nominate for awards those who work on exceptional programmes.

To end the year, there were two more major programmes of contrast. Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ was transmitted on November 16, while Tommy Steele’s ‘Richard Whittington Esq’ went out over Christmas.

Above: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ – (left to right) Alfie Bass as Flute, Benny Hill as Bottom, Arthur Hewlett as Snug. Bill Shine as Starveling. Miles Malleson as Quince and Bernard Bresslaw as Snout. The play was the company’s contribution to Shakespeare’s quarter-centenary. Below: The Beatles appeared in this scene from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ when ‘Around the Beatles’ was screened.

1965 // FROM TRANSDIFFUSION