It definitely felt like the passing of an era, hearing about Ray Fitzwalter’s death. He was a truly decent person and a wryly funny one too, as well as being one of that clever, yes, brilliant, but also very lucky generation of TV producers who held the reins when the ‘miracle of capitalism’ that was pre-Broadcasting Bill ITV meant that companies like Granada actually invested real money in serious programme-making, before the whole industry changed, partly through the consequences of the mostly exciting digital revolution and partly through the wilful and on-going destruction of British public service broadcasting by government interference.
My main involvement with World In Action was being asked, over a number of years, to do the voice of ‘sneering authority’ whenever they needed someone to voice some of establishment’s bad guys, including politicians, bishops and captains of industry. It may have been embarrassing to be considered the right voice for these people but I always felt I was doing my bit when I was asked to go down to sit in on the programme’s dubbing. Now that the series is long gone, I still feel good about my minor involvement with such an important programme.
I look back fondly, and with some pride, on my twenty years at Granada TV and offer my sympathy to all who will be saddened by Ray’s passing and to all those bright-eyed TV folk still fighting to keep British television alive.