Alfred Black

Forename/s: 
Alfred
Family name: 
Black
Work area/craft/role: 
Company: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
287
Interview Date(s): 
6 Jul 1993
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 
80

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Interview

BEHP0287-alfred-black-summary 

THE FULL INTERVIEW APPEARS BELOW THIS SUMMARY. 

SIDE 1 

Born 1913, in Roker a suburb of Sunderland. Educated at the Durham School, with his brother George, and came to London in 1926, when his father, famous George Black took over the running and the rebirth of the London Palladium. In 1930, a friend of his father’s, John Maxwell, gave him a job in the camera department. In 1937 he joined Moss Empires to learn “Show Biz”.  1939 joined ENSA,  (Entertainment National Service Association) then joined the Royal Tank Regiment, then joined Army Film Unit, No 2 Unit becoming a Captain. After the war in 1946, he started producing revues with his brother George. In 1959 invited to join Tyne Tees Television with his brother where they both worked as programme directors, each doing two and a half years at Tyne Tees, whilst the other carried on theatrical production. They both left Tyne Tees in 1963. Did Sunday Night in Blackpool for ATV whilst Sunday Night at the London Palladium was having its summer break. George died in 1980. Alf talks about the various shows that were produced by Tyne Tees, and says the experience was five wonderful years. 

SIDE 2 

Very general talk about television. 

NB: Train and Aeroplane noise throughout this recording. 

 

 

Biographical

One of the most famous theatrical impresarios in British light entertainment Alfred Black produced numerous post war revues and musicals in London's West End and the provinces. Together with his brother George they discovered the comedian Sid Field and brought him to London where he starred in shows such as Piccadilly Hayride and Strike a New Note.

Alfred Black was born in Sunderland. The family were steeped in show business, his grandfather was a travelling showman and his father, George, was to become one of London's most powerful producers, presenting shows at the London Palladium and controlling the Moss Empires variety circuit.

Alfred's brother George was two years his elder and both of them decided at an early age to go into show business. During WW2 Alfred served in the Army Film and Photographic Unit and in 1942 he married the stage and screen actress Roma Beaumont.

George Black Senior died in 1943 after which the two brothers took over the family's flourishing entertainment empire. They presented many star name West End shows including Harvey, starring Sid Field and Wedding in Paris, starring Evelyn Laye.

In 1957 the brothers were among the successful consortium (which included the film producer Sidney Box) who invested in Tyne Tees Television. As one of the smallest of all ITV regions the company's ambitions were modest but among their successes were Saturday Showtime, starring the comedian Jimmy Logan, and The One O'Clock Show, starring Sheila Mathews. The latter had the highest viewing figures in the UK for a lunchtime show and boasted more than 150,000 viewers each day.

George Black died in 1970 aged 59 and Alfred continued to produce television and variety shows with leading stars. In his retirement he and his wife Roma were noted for their lavish show business parties which they held at their penthouse in North London, once the home of Peter Sellers. Roma Beaumont died in 2001.

IMDb Mini Biography By Patrick Newley.