Robin Jackson

Family name: 
Work area/craft/role: 
Interview Number: 
Interview Date(s): 
13 Dec 2002
Production Media: 

Horizontal tabs

Interview notes


Interview with ROBIN JACKSON (writer-director-producer of sponsored documentaries)

Interviewer — Glyn Jones    Recordist — Ian Duff

The interview was recorded at Robin’s home near Brook Green, London W14 on the 13th of December 2002.

On side one of the tape Robin covers his life in films from his student days at UCL to the mid-seventies, in particular the beginning of his long association with Shell and the Shell Film Unit, which started in 1964, giving a personal picture of what the unit was like at that time.

Side two brings the story up to date, with his appointment as chief producer with the then new Shell Video Unit in 1984, a position he held till the early 1990s. He reflects on the decline of programme-making, and of the documentary tradition, with special reference to Shell. As of the time of the interview he is still actively employed as a producer of corporate videos.

Among the names mentioned in the interview are (in approximate order of mention) are Michael Clarke, Sir Arthur Elton, Michael Heckford, Jack Gold, Douglas Gordon, Denis Segaller, Mike Morgan, Alan Fabian, Ronnie Whitehouse, Gus Come, Clifford Harris, Stewart-Hardy Films, Boreham Wood, Guy Ferguson, Smith-Morris, Edmund Wilson, Dora Thomas, Hugh Wickham, Joe Hambrook, Derek Armstrong, Philip Outram, Bill Mason, John Armstrong, Raymond Spottiswoode, Lionel Cole, John Grierson, John Heyer.
The films Rotella and Rimula, Rubber by Design, and the film companies Anvil, Technical and Scientific, Stewart Films, Anthony Barrier, Cyril Randell, Millhank, Gillie Potter, Cygnet, Balfour and British.
(More names of people in the text) Rich Warren, Bob Keen, Adrian Jeakins, Jo Jago, Chris Pettican, Wally Payne, Gordon Begg, the films Single Buoy Mooring, Diesel, Acting in Turn”. Also George Seager, Roy Piper, James Harpham, John Drummond and the film Engineering North Sea.

(Tape Two — new names only) “World of Oil”, the FAO, Escape from hunger. Tom Ross, Leif Petersen, John Burke-Gaffney, Malcolm Nisbet, Philips Laservision, Jane Poynor, Wadlow-Grosvenor, Videotel, Elsinore, Stephen Saunders,Freddie Goode.



Interest in film developed in University Film Club. He read Biochemistry. Met with Michael Clark who took him on at Shell Film Unit as a trainee assistant director. Left in 1965 for Stuart Hardy Films as assistant to Guy Fergusson. He began writing scripts for ATV Schools; then English by TV - "the Scientist Speaks". 1966 back to Shell. Worked for Anvil, Technical and Scientific, Millbank, Alpha, Ace , Signet. 1970 worked in Oman. Worked on a lot of classic Shell educational films.Mad film about setting up of Brent Fields in North Sea - editor was Roy Piper