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  1. #1
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    Excellent obit from the Times for Bryan Izzard.

    The Times (London)

    May 27, 2006, Saturday

    Bryan Izzard, television producer and director, was born in

    1932. He died on April 27, 2006, aged 74.

    Television director and producer whose hit comedy programmes

    included On the Buses and Not on Your Nellie.

    BRYAN IZZARD was one of the most prolific television

    directors and producers during the 1970s.

    He directed such top-rating series as the women's prison

    drama Within These Walls (1974-78), starring Googie Withers,

    as well as a host of comedy programmes, including The Fenn

    Street Gang (1973), Not on Your Nellie (1974-75), starring

    Hylda Baker, and The Rag Trade (1977-78), the clothing

    factory comedy with Miriam Karlin and Peter Jones.

    He was one of the original producers of ITV's longestrunning

    comedy series, On the Buses.

    Bryan Izzard, affectionately known to colleagues as "Izzy",

    was born in Dorking in 1932, the son of Marjorie and Frank

    Izzard. He read English at Oxford and became a leading light

    with the OUDS. He took a teaching diploma but decided on a

    career in television and joined the BBC as a trainee

    producer, first in radio, then moving to TV.

    He produced several current-affairs programmes before

    becoming a light-entertainment director, one of his earliest

    credits being The Simon Dee Show. In 1969 he became the

    producer of On the Buses. This cheerfully vulgar sitcom,

    with politically incorrect humour we would now regard as

    racist and anti-feminist, regularly topped the ratings for

    four years. Izzard produced 30 episodes of the series and

    directed a feature film version of the show, Holiday on the

    Buses (1973).

    Although Izzard had a great affinity with comedians and was

    known for his love of music hall and variety, he admitted

    that his patience had been tested when he directed the

    temperamental Lancashire comedienne Hylda Baker in the ITV

    comedy series Not On Your Nellie. "She was a great

    comedienne and had been a big star," he said, "but she was

    an absolute nightmare to work with."

    Izzard's many other TV comedy credits included directing

    Doctor in Charge (1972), The Reg Varney Revue (1972), Take a

    Letter, Mr Jones (1981), starring Rula Lenska and John

    Inman, and The Green Tie on the Little Yellow Dog (1983),

    which celebrated music-hall monologues and starred Barry

    Cryer and Leonard Rossiter.

    During the 1970s he was offered more dramatic scripts to

    direct and he worked on several episodes of the afternoon

    ITV drama series Crown Court.

    In 1979 he notably produced for Scottish Television Charles

    Endell Esq, a spin-off from Adam Faith's popular 1972 Budgie

    for the BBC. The cast featured many of the leading Scottish

    actors of the day, including Iain Cuthbertson, Annie Ross

    and Rikki Fulton.

    Izzard lamented the changes in television comedy during the

    1980s and the rise of political correctness but in 1991 he

    produced the BBC sitcom An Actor's Life for Me, starring

    John Gordon Sinclair and Victor Spinetti.

    His most recent TV work was directing Julia and the

    Cadillacs (1999), a drama that traced the progress of a

    small band in Liverpool led by Toyah Wilcox. The cast

    included Thora Hird in one of her final performances.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
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    Wasn't 'Julie and the Cadillacs' (d. Brian Izzard, 1999) screened in UK cinemas ?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    103 times
    From The Independent


    Bryan Izzard

    Sitcom producer and director

    Published: 03 June 2006

    Bryan Frank Armstrong Izzard, television producer and director: born

    Dorking, Surrey 4 July 1936; died 27 April 2006.

    Bryan Izzard's was a distinctive and familiar name on screen at the end of

    1970s television sitcoms. These were often of the rumbustious kind and,

    during his time as a producer and director at the ITV company LWT, included

    later episodes (1972-73) of the long-running On the Buses, starring the

    former variety performer Reg Varney as the chirpy bus driver Stan Butler.

    The critics panned the programme as vulgar, but audiences grew to 16 million

    and three film spin-offs were shown in cinemas, the last, Holiday on the

    Buses (1973), directed by Izzard.

    He produced and directed all three series of Not on Your Nellie (1974-75),

    which featured another former variety artist, Hylda Baker, complete with her

    famous malapropisms. She played the brusque Nellie Pickersgill, who did not

    approve of drinking or her father's betting and womanising but left her

    native Bolton for London to help him to run the Brown Cow pub in Fulham.

    Izzard was also responsible for the revival of The Rag Trade (1977-78), with

    Miriam Karlin and Peter Jones reprising their roles as the battling shop

    steward and hapless boss at the Fenner's Fashions dressmaking workshop.

    Although it ran to two series and was scripted by its original writers,

    Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney, the sitcom never had the spark or

    originality of the 1960s programmes.

    Then, during his time as head of entertainment at Scottish Television

    (1978-81), Izzard stepped slightly outside his remit to revive another

    character, in the drama Charles Endell Esquire (1979-80). A spin-off from

    the popular Budgie, which starred Adam Faith as a Cockney spiv, it featured

    Iain Cuthbertson as the Soho "Mr Big" returning to his native Glasgow after

    seven years in prison.

    Born in Dorking, Surrey in 1936, Izzard was educated at Wilmorton Junior

    School in Derby and Derby grammar school. He studied English at New College,

    Oxford, where he acted with the university's dramatic society. After taking

    a teaching diploma, he decided on a career in broadcasting and was taken on

    by the BBC as a trainee producer, eventually switching from radio to

    television and gaining experience in current affairs and light entertainment


    On moving to LWT, he started by producing and directing two larger-than-life

    radio disc jockeys who, at the time, had limited success on television.

    There was chat in The Simon Dee Show (1970) and music and mayhem in Kenny

    Everett's sketch shows Making Whoopee (1970) and Ev (1970-71).

    But sitcom became Izzard's staple at the ITV company. Alongside series such

    as On the Buses, he directed episodes of The Fenn Street Gang (1971-73), The

    Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs (1974), a spy-spoof sitcom starring David

    Jason, and Doctor on the Go (1975, 1977), the fourth sequel in the series

    based on Richard Gordon's popular "Doctor" books.

    After his stint at Scottish Television, Izzard moved to Southern Television,

    where he produced the sitcoms That Beryl Marston . . . ! (1981), starring

    Julia McKenzie and Gareth Hunt as a couple successful in business but unable

    to make their marriage work, and Take a Letter Mr Jones (1981), with Rula

    Lenska and John Inman as the boss and secretary in roles contrary to the

    stereotype of the time.

    Turning freelance after Southern lost its ITV franchise, Izzard produced the

    Granada sitcom Rep (1982), featuring Iain Cuthbertson as the bullying

    manager of a shabby 1940s seaside repertory company, and directed the same

    company's drama The Starlight Ballroom (1983), with the rock star Alvin

    Stardust as a 1940s danceband singer.

    After the launch of Channel Four, he became an independent producer with his

    own Bright Thoughts Company. The result was two sides of the comedy coin:

    The Green Tie on the Little Yellow Dog (1983), starring Arthur Askey, Cilla

    Black, Maureen Lipman and others reciting monologues made famous by

    music-hall legends such as Chesney Allen, Stanley Holloway and Joyce

    Grenfell, followed byBook 'Em An' Risk It (1983) and Interference (1983),

    both featuring alternative comedians.

    Izzard found his own style of comedy out of favour in the 1980s but returned

    as producer-director of the sitcom An Actor's Life for Me (1991), with John

    Gordon-Sinclair playing a struggling thespian convinced that success is just

    around the corner.

    Although that signalled the end of Izzard's television career as a comedy

    producer, he directed episodes of The South Bank Show, including an Alan

    Ayckbourn masterclass on writing plays (1996) and a biography of the dancer

    Michael Flatley (1997).

    He also directed the feature film Julie and the Cadillacs (1999), starring

    Tina Russell and Toyah Willcox in the story of a struggling 1960s pop group,

    most notable for the 30-second appearance of Thora Hird in her final film

    role, playing the grandmother of the title character.

    Anthony Hayward

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