A TV producer from Charmouth has received a £4,000 award to put together a tribute to the late broadcaster Peter Dimmock CVO CBE.
Nick Gilby was the recipient of this year’s Shiers Trust Award, a £4,000 prize granted for work on any aspect of television history, and awarded in memory of George Shiers, a distinguished US television historian.
Mr Gilby will use the funding to research and write a tribute to Peter Dimmock, the former BBC head of outside broadcasts who made his mark organising the coverage of the 1948 London Olympics, and went on to commentate on the Boat Race and present the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
Mr Gilby said that Peter had a “big influence” on his own life and career, and he now plans to expand his TV Outside Broadcast History website with a special section on Dimmock’s work at the BBC.
He explained: “Many people know Peter Dimmock from his role presenting BBC’s ‘Sportsview’ programme, but behind the scenes, Peter was head of probably the biggest department in the BBC during the 1950s and 60s.
“He was instrumental in bringing huge audiences to television, starting with the Coronation in 1953 and then securing the rights to televise the Grand National and many other popular sporting events.
“On a personal level, Peter Dimmock had a big influence on my life. Just after I left school in 1969 and with a desire to work in television, my father, who was chairman of the National Skating Association, arranged for me to see Peter in his palatial office at BBC’s Kensingston House, Shepherds Bush.
“He did give me advice about a possible route into the profession, although I didn’t follow it to the letter. Twelve years later I did land up working for the BBC at Kensington House – not in the Outside Broadcast Department, but downstairs as a producer/director in the Documentary Features Department.
“The history of television outside broadcasts has always interested me, so about nine years ago, I started the website www.tvobhistory.co.uk. The first person I needed to talk to, was, of course, Peter Dimmock.
“In 2012 I travelled up to his home in Norfolk to interview him. Peter was always courteous and full of good humour whose work has, perhaps, not been fully appreciated.”
This year, because of the coronavirus crisis, the judging of the Shiers Trust Award was carried out online.
“The jury was amazing and really engaged. But we look forward to judging the award face-to-face next year,” said Dale Grayson, chairman of the RTS Archive Group.