Obituary: James Miller ; Documentary-Maker

By Keane, Fergal | The Independent (London, England), May 7, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Obituary: James Miller ; Documentary-Maker


Keane, Fergal, The Independent (London, England)


HAD JAMES Miller lived, this laughing, mischievous, decent man would have come to be recognised as one of the greatest documentary- makers of his generation. As it is he leaves a journalistic legacy of immense worth.

He began his television career with the Frontline agency in 1995. I first met him in Algeria where, with typical bravery, he was reporting on that country's vicious civil war. He reported from most of the major trouble spots during the last decade but he was never gung-ho or a war-junkie. He was a thoughtful and sensitive journalist who went to these places in search of essential truths.

Miller had worked for all the leading news broadcasters in Britain, as well as CNN. At the time of his death - he was shot dead in the Gaza Strip - he was making a film for the US cable network HBO. He was one of the team which made Prime Suspect, a film on war crimes in Kosovo that won the Royal Television Society prize for Best International Current Affairs Programme. Whether it was reporting on the death squads of Slobodan Milosevic or the Russian bombing of a refugee convoy in Chechnya, Miller placed the rights of the vulnerable at the top his priorities.

It was in the last two years that his talents brought him international acclaim. Together with the reporter Saira Shah, he produced a groundbreaking film on life under the Taliban, Beneath the Veil. Their work in Afghanistan was to win them two Emmys, several Royal Television Society awards, a Bafta and a Peabody.

Miller was born in 1968 in Pembrokeshire, the younger son of Geoffrey Miller, an army officer, and his wife, Eileen, a headmistress.

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