James Gilbert (producer)
|Born||Cecil James Gilbert
15 May 1923
|Died||7 July 2016(aged 93)|
|Television||The Two Ronnies
Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?
Last of the Summer Wine
Gilbert was born in Edinburgh and he was educated at Edinburgh Academy, Edinburgh University and RADA. He served as a pilot with RAF Coastal Command during World War II, flying Handley Page Halifax and Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft from RAF Wick, Scotland.
As the co-devisor of The Frost Report, with David Frost, it was Gilbert who brought together Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, as well as most of the members of Monty Python. With the first director of The Two Ronnies', Terry Hughes, Gilbert created the format of the series which began in 1971. According to The Daily Telegraph obituary of Gilbert, the two men "were largely responsible for establishing the pattern of the show with its quick-fire verbal gags, double entendres and cavalcade of naive caricatures of British life: bumbling colonels, half-witted yokels and bosomy barmaids". The series ran until 1986. In addition to The Two Ronnies, he was an early producer of Last of the Summer Wine (1973), plus the first series of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (also 1973). For the last series, Gilbert won a BAFTA in 1974 for Best Comedy, and was also nominated that year for Last of the Summer Wine in the category.
He was the BBC's Head of Comedy from 1973–77. Gilbert was appointed as the head of BBC light entertainment in 1977, in succession to Bill Cotton, remaining in the post and with the BBC until 1982. Subsequently, he worked as a freelance.
In 2003, Gilbert appeared on the documentary special 30 Years of Last of the Summer Wine to discuss his role in helping to create the series.
- "Jimmy Gilbert, BBC producer who presided over a golden age of light entertainment – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. London. 8 June 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
- The Times Obituary 12 July 2016 p55
- "James Gilbert, man who brought together The Two Ronnies, dies at 93". The Guardian. Press Association. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
- "How Holmfirth became the location for Last of the Summer Wine". 27 September 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
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