Jacob's Ladder: People...You Are The Reason I Am...

David Sullivan Proudfoot

Look in any film & television directory and you will find the name David Sullivan Proudfoot. An iconic figure to many, he directed countless episodes of popular television drama series for the BBC from the 1960s to the early 1980s. These included Z Cars, Softly, Softly, The Onedin Line & Blake's Seven. In the mid-sixties he directed a series that helped change the face of British television drama, Adam Adamant. At the time, many saw this to be the peak of his television career but, perhaps, this was overshadowed by the Doomwatch series in 1970.

David died on 27 March 2002. He was 66.

“As well as being a talented director, David was an extremely funny man and to work on location with him was a laugh from start to finish. In the 60s, when he was affectionately known as "Prouders", I acted as his Production Secretary, doing film continuity, and remember one occasion when he was shooting a longshot of an actor playing the hero on a hillside some distance away, who kept asking how he should play a short scene - what his motivation was, etc. After many patient explanations which the actor failed to understand, David picked up a megaphone and shouted in a camp voice "Just butch it up, love!", resulting in the collapse of the entire unit. But the actor got it. No matter how bad the weather - whether blisteringly hot in August in Malta, to drenchingly wet and bitterly cold in March in North Wales - he would keep up everyone's spirits, ensuring that the filming was always successfully completed.

In private life, he was a wonderful companion, enjoying the company of fellow TV professionals and actors, to whom he was a staunch and supportive friend all his life. In the 1970s and 80s David suffered serious health problems, from alcoholism to cancer, beating them all and becoming a BBC executive before taking early retirement in 1986, going to live in Portland, Dorset, which was far healthier for him, and from which he made long phone calls to all his chums. He eventually succumbed to liver failure in March 2002 and is very sadly missed by all of us. Hence the "celebration" of his life being held to mark the first anniversary of his death on 24 March 2003, where memories will be shared of all the fun we had with him. Pity David can't be there, he would have loved it!”

Maggie Allen

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