Norman Swallow

Forename/s: 
Norman
Family name: 
Swallow
Company: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
127
Interview Date(s): 
31 Jan 1990
Interviewer/s: 
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 
137

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Interview
Interview notes

BEHP 0127 S Norman Swallow synopsis.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF THE INTERVIEW WHICH IS LOCATED BELOW.

Born 1921. Educated in Manchester, primary then to Manchester Grammar School, Keble College Oxford, Military Service finally in what was Palestine, saw advertisement in the New Statesman (which was sent to him by Dick Crossman) the BBC requires Documentary Features Producer: in Manchester. He applied and was told if he could get back by a certain date he would be considered, he did and was accepted, started producing programmes in Manchester, then seconded to London.

After working with Louis MacNeice etc. he moved to Television, his first production being a Gardening programme, he later went on the make a series of programmes  Special Enquiry with Robert Reid, as well as a series An American Looks at Britain.  After about 5 years in Talks Dept., he moved to the Film Dept of the BBC where he became Assistant Head, three years later he moved back to Talks Dept to look after Panorama. In 1963 he left the BBC to go with Denis Mitchell Films where they made films which were taken by Granada, they each did a six months ‘rota' duty there.  After some years he moved back to the BBC to take over Arts Features which included Omnibus. Then some years later he moved back to Granada.

The interview gives a very good idea of the workings of the BBC, and explains the amount of freedom given to a Producer.

Transcript
Biographical

Norman Swallow's career in British broadcasting, from his joining the BBC in 1946 through to his  involvement in independent production , was that of a major pioneer of the British television documentary and, more broadly, a significant contributor to public service television.