George Auckland

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Mr George Auckland

I was born in 1948. I began working at the BBC in 1969, my final year at the BBC was 2010.


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Education

Primary School, Grammar School and Durham University. I graduated with an Honours Degree in Applied Physics and Electronics.

Previous Jobs

My father was a farmer so I worked for him a bit during the holidays.

How I joined the BBC

I joined the BBC directly from Durham University. I was offered two jobs, one in Engineering and one in Film Department. I took the lower paid job, strange but true, and never regretted it.

My first impressions of the BBC

I thought it was brilliant, I was fascinated by TV from the age of 5 when my Granny bought a TV for the Coronation in 1953.

Broad BBC career

Film editor and TV producer

My training at the BBC

Film Department ran courses for trainee assistant film editors, trainee assistant camera men and trainee assistant sound recordists. The film course ran for six weeks and was run by Ron Whatley. He was a very good teacher and I think originally had been a Telecine Operator, no doubt amongst many other jobs. After the six weeks we were sent off to various cutting rooms, usually for a few weeks at a time, so over a year it was possible to get a taste of a wide variety of TV programmes, Drama, Documentaries, Current Affairs, Children's, and so on.

Feelings about the BBC whilst I worked there

Generally I have very good feeling about my time at the BBC. I suppose I was lucky, my career worked out well and at the right pace for me. I retired after about 41 and a half years.


Feelings about the BBC today

Currently the BBC is in a bit of a mess, but it will sort itself out, until the next crisis. Fortunately the BBC has many friends as well as quite a few enemies. Some of its worst enemies have committed far worse sins than the BBC and need to be constantly reminded of that.

Periods at the BBC

1969 until 1970

I was a Trainee assistant film editor on a Staff contract earning 1040.0.

We were based at Ealing Studios and TCV in the Film Department.

I worked in the film cutting rooms..









1970 until 1974

I was an Assistant Film Editor on a Staff contract.

We were based at BBC Television Centre in the Film Department.

I worked in the Film Cutting Rooms.







I worked on the following programmes during this time at the BBC:

The Money Programme

From 1971 until 1972

The film cutting room was at Television Centre and the studio was in Lime Grove Studios. The Film Editor was Peter Evans. In those days the programmes was transmitted live on Thursdays because that was the day the Bank of England set the Bank Rate. When we had made up the film spool for telecine we used to take it across from TVC to Lime Grove. generally Peter and I walked, he carried the Show Print and Sound and I carried the back up copy and sound, just in case one of us got run over on the zebra crossing on the Uxbridge Road near Lime Grove. The amount of film varied hugely from programme to programme, sometimes it was just the titles and sometimes the majority of the show.

During this time the Coal Miners came out on strike and the programmes producers decided to make was called a Longitudinal Study (I think), of a Nottinghamshire Pit village called Clipstone.


Notable people from this programme: I met many famous (and infamous!) people through The Money Programme because we were invited to the hospitality after the programme was transmitted. Here are just a few: Jean Monet, the so called Father of Europe, Ted Heath, the Prime Minister, many government ministers and trade union leaders


The Berlin Olympics

From 1972 until 1972 I worked as an Assistant Film Editor on The Berlin Olympics. We were making a version of the original 1936 film directed by Leni Riefenstahl to coincide with the Munich Olympics. Norman Swallow the producer obtained a new 35mm print which we cut down. When the box of films arrived I unpacked it all and discovered some paperwork with the print. It was clear from the documents that the original film was owned by Arnold and Richter of Munich. Arnold and Richter of course made some of the most famous film cameras in the world, the Arriflex range. I think they made the 35mm cameras for Leni Riefenstahl to film the Berlin Olympics in 1936. By the time we had made some prints and copied the sound track to 35mm sepmag for the editing process we had a hugh number of cans of film. It was a bit like editing two feature films since each part ran for a couple of hours.



Blue Peter

From 1973 I worked as an Assistant Film Editor on Blue Peter. Stuff has always been nicked from Television Centre. For us, one of the most memorable heists was when several Daleks went missing. Here was the makings of a "Blue Peter" item. The Daleks were soon located on Ealing Common, if I remember correctly. Anyway, on the morning of a show the "Blue Peter" film crew were sent with Peter Purves and the "Blue Peter" lorry to rescue them. Peter Purves had been in early episodes for Dr Who, so it was believed he had a way with Daleks. We edited the Ektachrome 16mm reversal film of the "rescue" over lunchtime and had it ready for the show. Blue Peter is/was live, so right on cue after the film was shown, the Blue Peter lorry drove into the Blue Peter Studio. Down came the Daleks from the back of the lorry and proceeded to wreak havoc, the Blue Peter dog Shep went mad and barked his head off. He was soon threatened with "Annihilate". Terrific TV.


Notable people from this programme: Biddy Baxter was the famous Programme Editor at that time, John Noakes, Val Singleton, Peter Purves,



1974 until 1984

I was a Film Editor on a Staff contract.

We were based at BBC Television Centre in the Film Department.

I worked in the Film Cutting Rooms, mainly in the East Tower, TVC and at Lime Grove..

Main memories of the period

I started this period as a Film Editor and finished it as an Assistant Producer. There were times when I would be an Assistant Producer of a few months and then a Film Editor for a few months. This lasted from 1980 to 1984 when I got a full time assistant Producer post in BBC Education. It was rather interesting switching between Film Editor and Assistant Producer, I think I was quite lucky to be able to do it for several years.






I worked on the following programmes during this time at the BBC:

Blue Peter

From 1974 until 1977 I worked as a Film Editor on Blue Peter. I had been the assistant Film Editor on the programme, the Film Editor Justin Smith left and went to work in BBC Plymouth and I was lucky enough to be promote to Film Editor.


Notable people from this programme: Biddy Baxter, Lesley Judd.



1980 until 1984

I was an Assistant Producer on a Staff contract.

We were based at BBC Television Centre in the Childrens department., at that time run by Monica Syms.








I worked on the following programmes during this time at the BBC:

Blue Peter

From 1980 until 1981 I worked as an Assistant Producer on Blue Peter. Assistant Producers did all sorts of jobs, one day you could be on location directing a film with Sarah Green, the next day you could be in the studio helping with a Make Item, usually cookery in my case, and then clearing up the mess afterwards.


Awards: None


Notable people from this programme: Sarah Green, Simon Groom, Peter Duncan



1984 until 1988

I was an Assistant Producer on a Staff contract.

We were based at Villiers House in the Education department.










1988 until 1993

I was a Producer on a Staff contract.

We were based at Villiers House in the Education department.










1993 until 1995

I was a Senior Producer on a Staff contract.

We were based at White City in the Education department.








I worked on the following programmes during this time at the BBC:

Raymond's Blanc Mange

From 1995 I worked as a Series Producer on Raymond's Blanc Mange.


Awards: Chemical Industries Award



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1995 until 1999

I was a Development Exec Digital Media on a Staff contract.

We were based at White City in the Education department., at that time run by Jane Drabble.





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I worked on the following programmes during this time at the BBC:

This Multimedia Business

From 1995

This was a 10 part series introducing small and medium size business to the joys (and sorrows) of multimedia computing. Given that at the time most such businesses if they had a computer at all probably used it for a few letters and for running the wages program. I always like to try out new things and the opportunity arose to use the early version of Virtual Reality Studio. So we made and transmitted the very first BBC programmes using the new technology. We covered a very wide range of subjects, making and editing sound and video, Presentations, Designing and printing T Shirts and running Online businesses (long before e-bay, Amazon and all the rest). We decided to needed a website for the new programme and took some advice, which turned out to be total rubbish, so we went away, learnt HTML and did it ourselves, much to other peoples shock, horror and delight. Out of such small beginnings came a new section of BBC Education- Digital Media. We made BBC Education websites for about 2 years before the rest of the BBC woke up to the Web. It was a fun, scary and exciting time.



I worked on the following projects during this time at the BBC:

BBC Education Digital Media

From 1995 on BBC Education Digital Media.




1999 until 2001

I was a Head of Digital Media on a Staff contract.

We were based at White City in the Education department.










2001 until 2010

I was a Head of Innovation on a Staff contract.

We were based at White City in the BBC Learning department., at that time run by Liz Cleaver.


Main memories of the period

At some point BBC Education was re-named BBC Learning.

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I am including some media tests

Here is a PDF Duroni PDF

Here is a piece of music. Allegro

Here is a video. Another Man's Wig

My main mentors for the period were

Just doing a little test


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Clubs

BBC Club

Links