James Cellan Jones
James Cellan Jones
|Died||30 August 2019(aged 88)|
|Alma mater||St John's College|
|Occupation||Television director and producer|
|Known for||The Forsyte Saga (1967) |
Fortunes of War (1987)
|Title||Head of Plays, BBC Television|
|Children||Simon Cellan Jones|
Deiniol Cellan Jones
Lavinia Cellan Jones
Alan James Gwynne Cellan Jones (13 July 1931 – 30 August 2019) was a British television and film director. From 1963, he directed over 50 diverse television series and films.
He was particularly associated with the "Classic Serial" during the golden age of BBC drama, and some of his most significant work was in televising late 19th-century and 20th-century British literary works. Two of his most ambitious and successful directorial adaptations were the miniseries The Forsyte Saga (1967), which became a national and international hit, and Fortunes of War (1987); and he was also noted for his award-winning productions of Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (1974) and Harnessing Peacocks (1993).
Early life and education
He was educated in England, attending Dragon School in Oxford, and Charterhouse School in Surrey. From a family of physicians, he studied natural sciences at St John's College, Cambridge, where he received his BA in 1952, later raised to an MA in 1978.
Cellan Jones's true interest was acting and directing rather than medicine, however, 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 for the corporation. In 1967, he directed seven episodes of the award-winning 26-part adaptation of The Forsyte Saga, which became a massive national and international hit; and his other period dramas 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 ultimately responsible for scores of 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).
Awards and nominations
For the serial 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.
He received the United States CableACE Award in 1987 for Best Dramatic Series for his anthology series Oxbridge Blues, first transmitted in the UK in late 1984. His television film Harnessing Peacocks (1993) won the prestigious Golden Nymph award for Best Television Film at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival.
Cellan Jones received seven BAFTA TV nominations, for the serials Roads to Freedom (1970); Eyeless in Gaza (1971); Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (1974); Oxbridge Blues (1984); and Fortunes of War (1987). A Fine Romance (1981, 1982) won the Broadcasting Press Guild award for Best Comedy in 1982.
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 his son, by Sylvia Rich, a BBC secretary, prior to his marriage.
He died following a stroke in August 2019.
- Esther Waters (TV series, 1964, one episode)
- The Ambassadors (TV movie, 1965)
- The Scarlet and the Black (TV miniseries, 1965)
- An Enemy of the State (TV miniseries, 1965)
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (TV miniseries, 1966)
- Quick Before They Catch Us (TV series, 4 episodes, 1966)
- The Forsyte Saga (TV miniseries, 1967)
- Z Cars (2 episodes, 1967)
- Albinos in Black (Theatre 625, 1968)
- The Portrait of a Lady (TV miniseries, 1968)
- Detective (TV series, 2 episodes, 1968)
- The Way We Live Now (TV movie, 1969)
- Solo (TV serial, 2 episodes 1970: "Little Gidding", "A Selection from E.E. Cummings")
- W. Somerset Maugham (TV miniseries, 2 episodes, 1969–1970)
- The Roads to Freedom (TV miniseries, 1970)
- The Piano (Play for Today, 1971)
- Eyeless in Gaza (TV miniseries, 1971)
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (Play of the Month, 1971)
- The Golden Bowl (TV miniseries, 1972)
- The Edwardians (TV miniseries, 1972–1973)
- Bequest to the Nation aka The Nelson Affair (1973)
- Away from It All (TV anthology, one episode: "A Work of Genius", 1973)
- Secrets (TV movie, 1973)
- Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (TV miniseries, 1974)
- The Adams Chronicles (TV miniseries, 1976)
- Caesar and Cleopatra (Hallmark Hall of Fame, 1976)
- The Madness (TV movie, 1976)
- Sea Change (Centre Play: Showcase, 1976)
- The Ambassadors (Play of the Month, 1977)
- You Never Can Tell (Play of the Month, 1977)
- Kean (Play of the Month, 1978)
- A Touch of the Tiny Hacketts (Play for Today, 1978)
- School Play (BBC2 Playhouse, 1979)
- The Day Christ Died (TV movie, 1980)
- C2 H5 OH (Play for Today, 1980)
- Unity (BBC2 Playhouse, 1981)
- A Fine Romance (TV series, 1981)
- The Kingfisher (TV movie, 1983)
- The Comedy of Errors (BBC Shakespeare, 1983)
- Oxbridge Blues (TV anthology, 4 episodes, 1984)
- Slip-Up (TV movie, 1986)
- Fortunes of War (TV miniseries, 1987)
- Arms and the Man (Theatre Night, 1989)
- The Bill (TV series, 5 episodes, 1989–1999)
- A Little Piece of Sunshine (TV movie, 1990)
- A Perfect Hero (TV miniseries, 1991)
- The Gravy Train Goes East (TV miniseries, 1991)
- Maigret (TV series, 3 episodes, 1992)
- Rumpole of the Bailey (TV series, 1 episode, 1992)
- Brighton Belles (TV series, 1 episode, 1993)
- Scene (TV anthology; 1 episode, "Pig Boy", 1993)
- Harnessing Peacocks (TV movie, 1993)
- Class Act (TV series, 2 episodes, 1994)
- La musique de l'amour: Chouchou (TV movie, 1995)
- The Vacillations of Poppy Carew (TV movie, 1995)
- McLibel! (TV miniseries, 1997)
- Ruth Rendell Mysteries (TV series, 2 episodes, 1997)
- Holby City (TV series, 2 episodes, 2001)
- Heartsease (2014)
- Forsyte and Hindsight: Screen Directing for Pleasure and Profit. Kaleidoscope Publishing, 2006.
- Novel on the Screen (W.D.Thomas Memorial Lecture) (1992)
- Who's Who in Entertainment. Marquis Who's Who, Inc., 1989. Volume 1, p. 106.
- "James Cellan Jones: Director." BFI Southbank: October 2010. pp. 18–19.
- "James Cellan Jones obituary". The Times. 10 September 2019.
- "James Cellan Jones and the Classic Serial", Screen. November 1969; Vol. 10, Issue 6: pp. 33-44.
- University of Cambridge. The Cambridge University List of Members for the Year 1991. Cambridge University Press, 1991. p. 228.
- Chairmen – 1947 to Present. BAFTA. BAFTA.org. 28 June 2012.
- Cellan Jones, James. Forsyte and Hindsight: Screen Directing for Pleasure and Profit. Kaleidoscope Publishing, 2006. Text from back cover and frontispiece.
- Screen International: The international film & television directory, Volume 1. EMAP Media Information, 1993. p. 387.
- Cellan Jones, James. Forsyte and Hindsight: Screen Directing for Pleasure and Profit. Kaleidoscope Publishing, 2006. pp. 167–168.
- James Cellan Jones – Awards at the Internet Movie Database
- "ITV Wins Major Awards". MediaTel. 11 February 1994.
- Cellan Jones, James. Forsyte and Hindsight: Screen Directing for Pleasure and Profit. Kaleidoscope Publishing, 2006. pp. 14–15.