10 December 1923
|Died||20 October 2005
Kensington, London, England
|Occupation||Writer, Director, Producer|
|Spouse(s)||Yvonne Gilan, Georgina Denison|
He was born in Winchester, Hampshire but was brought up in Canterbury. He contracted tuberculosis as a child which disrupted his education severely including four years in a spinal chair. He served in the RAF in Intelligence during the war. One of his most memorable debriefings was interrogating a German who had survived a 20,000 ft fall over the Netherlands without his parachute opening.
After the war he studied Philosophy and Psychology at Edinburgh University. After a period as a sub-editor and arts reviewer on The Scotsman, he joined the BBC. He worked first on radio but soon moved to television.
He is chiefly remembered for Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark (1969) (director and co-producer) and Alistair Cooke's America (1973) (director and producer). Although the idea for Civilisation and its presenter, Kenneth Clark, were given to Gill, 'America' and its presenter were entirely Gill's idea. In total Gill made more than 150 films for television and the cinema and won more than 40 major international awards.
In 1951 he married, the Actress Yvonne Gilan, best remembered for her portrayal of Mrs. Peignoir in Fawlty Towers. The couple went on to have two sons, Adrian and Nicholas. The marriage was dissolved and he re-married in 1978 to Georgina Denison, with whom he had a daughter, Chloe. He died in London from Alzheimer's Disease. Obituary
He was the father of writer, journalist and newspaper columnist A.A. Gill.
His younger son Nicholas (Nick), a talented chef, unaccountably disappeared in 1998.