The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Not Just About Managing

A Review of a new book by Lewis Rudd, Controller of Children's TV for Central Television in the UK from 1981-1994.

By Anna Home OBE,
Chair, Children's Media Foundation Board


This is a series of short reminiscent essays about a long career in ITV spent mainly in Children’s Television.

Over the years Lewis worked across the spectrum of the old ITV, in both regional and major companies. The book gives a good insight into the vagaries of the system, the internecine politics among the competing companies in the various ITV committees and the impact on a career of franchises lost and won.

Lewis was primarily an executive rather than a hands-on director or producer, and in that role was responsible for many of the great programmes ITV made for children from the late sixties through to the nineties.

At Rediffusion he created ‘Magpie’ the long running magazine programme, often regarded as the ITV response to ‘Blue Peter’, and the ground breaking sketch show ‘Do Not Adjust Your Set’, the precursor of ‘Monty Python’, which broke the mould of traditional kid’s TV, and was a big success, winning a Prix Jeunesse in 1968.

However, the area in which Lewis was most influential was drama, initiating a number of successful series ranging from ‘Worzel Gummidge’ to ‘Press Gang’, and many adaptations of books by leading children’s writers of the time including Joan Aiken, Leon Garfield and John Rowe Townsend. These were ambitious and well-financed productions.

Working with the adult drama department he was also responsible for Carlton’s successful feature length production of Michelle Magorian’s book ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ starring John Thaw.

Lewis has entertaining stories to tell about some of his many bosses, and of his time as Executive Producer of the EBU children’s drama series involving some interesting overseas encounters.

The book is a timely reminder of the range and ambition of ITV children’s programmes, when it provided genuine competition to the BBC.

Available from Amazon or direct from the publisher Kaleidescope/Not  Brain TV.  Price £15 +£3 p&p

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