Ken Westbury

photo by Brian Tufano
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Ken Westbury was born on 5 January 1927 in Hammersmith, London, England, UK. He is a cinematographer, known for The Singing Detective (1986), Anna Karenina (1977) and Dr. Fischer of Geneva (1984).

Ken Westbury – Cinematographer.

 Born in 1927 in London England.

BAFTA “Singing Detective”

BAFTA “Dr Fisher of Geneva”

BAFTA “Tender is the Night”

BAFTA Northeast “The Black Velvet Gown” Special Photography

Royal Television Society Award for Services to Television


Ken is a Cinematographer whose career spanned over sixty years both as a BBC staff Cameraman as well as a freelance Director of Photography.

His IMDB entry lists 109 credits under camera and electrical department and 59 as Cinematographer.


After leaving school at the age of 15 an uncle who worked a motor mechanic in the garage at Ealing studios told him there was a vacancy at the BBC camera department for a trainee in the workshop, which Ken thought might be quite interesting. This proved to be very much the case. Initially this involved a lot of sweeping up but eventually somebody thought Ken might be useful in the back projection department and thus Ken’s involvement with Cinematography started.


World War II was raging and every man of 18 years and over was called up for war duty.

Ken leaving School at 15 turned out to be a fortuitous decision as he was too young to be called up but had the necessary experience to become a Clapper Boy, so as the Ealing technicians were called up to fight Ken was rapidly promoted to keep the studio working.


A career as varied as it long with credits as variable as Blue Peter to the famous Ealing Comedies including “Kind Hearts and Coronets” and “Whiskey Galore” (apparently the only film with a wholly Gallic title)


Starting as a Clapper Boy on 35mm Black and White film, Ken progressed through the grades to become one of the country’s most sought-after cameraman.

He worked as a Focus Puller (1st AC) and then progressed to work as a Camera Operator for some very influential Cinematographers including Paul Beeson and Dougie Slocomb and Ken MacGregor.


As a side note Ken’s daughter was seeing a young man called John Daly, who was a keen amateur Cinematographer but wasn’t sure how to get into the business. One day John’s friend mentioned that the girl he was seeing’s father was a BBC Cameraman. Eventually John got to meet Ken and Ken was so impressed by John’s enthusiasm he managed to take John on a few jobs. So impressed in fact that when a new applicant dropped out at the last-minute Ken suggested John for the role of trainee camera assistant.


A good decision as it turned out as John Daly has to date, 2 BAFTAS as a Cinematographer.

His interview is also on this site.