James Cellan Jones

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James Cellan Jones
Born (1931-07-13) 13 July 1931 (age 83)
Swansea, Wales
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge University
Occupation Television director and producer
Years active 1960–2001
Known for The Forsyte Saga (1967)
Fortunes of War (1987)
Title Head of Plays, BBC Television
Term 1976–1979
Predecessor Christopher Morahan
Successor Keith Williams
Children Simon Cellan Jones
Rory Cellan-Jones

Alan James Gwynne Cellan Jones (born 13 July 1931) is a British television and film director. Since 1963, he has directed over 50 diverse television series and films, specializing in dramas. Particularly associated with the "Classic Serial" during the golden age of BBC drama,[1] some of his most notable work has been in televising late 19th-century and 20th-century British literary works. Two of his most ambitious and successful directorial adaptations are the miniseries The Forsyte Saga (1967) and Fortunes of War (1987); and he is also noted for his award-winning productions of Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (1974) and Harnessing Peacocks (1993). Cellan Jones has been Head of Plays at BBC Television, Chairman of BAFTA, and Chairman of the Directors Guild of Great Britain.

Life and career[edit]

James Cellan Jones was born in 1931 in Swansea, Wales. Born into a family of doctors,[1] he studied natural sciences at St John's College, Cambridge University, where he received his BA in 1952, later raised to an MA in 1978.[2]

Cellan Jones's true interest was acting and directing, however,[1] and he began working at BBC Television in 1955 as a callboy, and rose steadily to become a production manager. In 1960 he began directing for the BBC, and by 1965 was directing several major productions a year there. In 1967 he directed the award-winning miniseries adaptation of The Forsyte Saga, and his other period dramas have included numerous adaptations of works by Henry James and George Bernard Shaw. In the 1970s he directed two notable historical biographical sagas: the award-winning miniseries Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (1976), and the 13-episode miniseries The Adams Chronicles (1976), about the American Adams political family.

From 1976 through 1979 Cellan Jones was Head of Plays at the BBC, where he was responsible for up to 85 productions a year. Upon leaving the post, he became a freelance television director, and continued to work steadily for 20 years. Highlights of this period include the World War II miniseries Fortunes of War (1987) starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, and the award-winning television film Harnessing Peacocks (1993).

Cellan Jones was Chairman of BAFTA from 1983–1985.[3] He has also been Chairman and Honorary President of the Directors Guild of Great Britain.[4][5][6]

Awards and nominations[edit]

For the miniseries Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (1974), Cellan Jones won the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Drama Series, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. For The Adams Chronicles (1976) he was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Drama Series, and was nominated two years successively for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series.[7]

He received the 1987 CableACE Award for Best Dramatic Series for his anthology series Oxbridge Blues.[8] And his 1993 TV film Harnessing Peacocks won the prestigious Golden Nymph award for Best Television Film at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival.[9]

Cellan Jones has received seven BAFTA TV nominations, for Roads to Freedom (miniseries, 1970); Eyeless in Gaza (miniseries, 1971); Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (miniseries, 1974); A Fine Romance (series, 1981, 1982), which won the Broadcasting Press Guild award for Best Comedy in 1982; Oxbridge Blues (anthology, eponymous episode, 1984); and Fortunes of War (miniseries, 1987).[7]

Personal life[edit]

Cellan Jones married television editor and production manager Margot Eavis in 1959, and they had a daughter and two sons, including director Simon Cellan Jones. BBC journalist Rory Cellan-Jones is also James's son, by another woman prior to his marriage.[10]

Selected filmography[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "James Cellan Jones and the Classic Serial", Screen. November 1969; Vol. 10, Issue 6: pp. 33-44.
  2. ^ University of Cambridge. The Cambridge University List of Members for the Year 1991. Cambridge University Press, 1991. p. 228.
  3. ^ Chairmen – 1947 to Present. BAFTA. BAFTA.org. 28 June 2012.
  4. ^ Cellan Jones, James. Forsyte and Hindsight: Screen Directing for Pleasure and Profit. Kaleidoscope Publishing, 2006. Text from back cover and frontispiece.
  5. ^ Screen International: The international film & television directory, Volume 1. EMAP Media Information, 1993. p. 387.
  6. ^ Cellan Jones, James. Forsyte and Hindsight: Screen Directing for Pleasure and Profit. Kaleidoscope Publishing, 2006. pp. 167–168.
  7. ^ a b James Cellan Jones – Awards at the Internet Movie Database
  8. ^ James Cellan Jones – Awards at the Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ "ITV Wins Major Awards". MediaTel. 11 February 1994.
  10. ^ Cellan Jones, James. Forsyte and Hindsight: Screen Directing for Pleasure and Profit. Kaleidoscope Publishing, 2006. pp. 14–15.

External links[edit]