26 Nov Why do I do it?
I’ll always be grateful to the BBC for giving me the training and the opportunity to make documentary films for them. I made films about everything from Chinese medicine to the Royal Navy’s submarine service, worked with luminaries like Jonathan Miller and Alistair Cooke and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.
I’ve always believed that the best documentaries tell stories about people, not things. So the Chinese Medicine films were about doctors and patients, not herbs, and the Submarine series was about what it’s like to serve under the sea, not propulsion systems. So The Personal Documentary concept is about telling individuals’, couples’ and families’ stories, and through that, celebrating their lives.
I love doing these films. Everyone is interesting, everyone has a story to tell – my job is to draw that story out and create a film that tells it in a watchable, enjoyable way. My experience making documentaries for the BBC has taught me how to interview people in a way that helps them to tell their story without being intrusive.
These films are almost always about family, and my family is hugely important to me. I have 3 grown-up children and 3 grandchildren, and whilst my great regret is that I never managed to interview my own parents on film, at least I’ve captured my grandchildren as they’ve grown. All too often we take our family for granted – their history, their stories, their experiences. Personal Documentaries capture them forever.