Tony Hart - 1925-2009
|NEWS » Patrick Dowling Dies Aged 89|
Patrick Dowling, producer and driving force behind 'Vision On', passed away after a brief illness in Sydney on 17th June, 2009, aged 89.
Patrick was born on Aug 19th 1919, in SW London and claimed to have an "undistinguished" career in the RAF. He married Jane Gregson, actress and was demobbed at the end of WWII.
A year later he was taken on as Stage Manager/electrician with Guildford/Amersham rep companies. From 1951-52 Patrick was Stage Director at the Oxford Playhouse.
In 1955 he started working for BBC TV as an FM/PA and became a production assistant on: “Girl at the Window”, “The Black Brigand”, “The Railway Children”, “Thompson Family”, “Secret Garden”, “Great Expectations”, “Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, “The Treasure Seekers”, “The Balloon and the Baron (for which Patrick also composed the music.)
With other producers: "Victory”, “Idiots Delight”, “Makepeace Story”, “Invisible Armies”, “Hole in the Wall”, “Pocket Lancer”, “Last Man Out”, “Just William” etc. Directed “Cabin in the Clearing” and misc episodes of other series.
In 1959 with Television Training Centre and periods with various departments – Sport OBs, Light Entertainment, Further Education (produced the first series of progs about “Working With Computers”!) and so on.
Notably Patrick directed a mime play for Ursula Eason “For Deaf Children” which turned into a major enterprise – “Vision On” – which I ran for 12 years until 1974. Although primarily for deaf kids it attracted a wider audience and gained national & international awards:
1968 Unesco Award (which hangs in the RNID in London)
1970 SFTA Harlequin award
1971 Pye Colour Television Award for distinguished Service
1972 The Prix Jeunesse at Munich
1973 BAFTA ‘Best Specialised Series” (First children’s prog to gain an ‘adult’ award!) and a couple of other near misses.
Other productions for Children’s Department included “Price to Play”, “I want to be a Pilot”, “Code in the Head” etc.
1954 - Founder secretary of the BBC Yacht Club and spent weekends & holidays sailing across to France. Gained the Board of Trade ‘Yachtmaster Coastal’ ticket and subsequently became an examiner for the RYA
1974 – pulled the plug on “Vision On” and made “Take Hart” with Tony Hart instead. Then went on to make series of “Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Televvision Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead?” (which understandably Radio Times cut down to “Why Don’t You …?”)
Started “The Adventure Game” which ran for two series before Patrick reached retirement age in 1979. After retiring from the BBC wrote and produced “The Amazing Adventures of Morph” 26 5-minute episodes
1983 – emigrated to Australia. Member of the Bush Fire Brigade for 21 years.
2004 - Moved to Hunters Hill just outside Sydney NSW. Practised Tai Chi & spoken French.