Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Such a Proud Moment for Gutteridge & Son; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Such a Proud Moment for Gutteridge & Son; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Gutteridge

WHEN my eldest son Ben was little, he became a magician. He called himself Benjamin Bonkers and would entertain our friends' younger children with toy rabbits and hats.

Until, one day, he accidentally set fire to his sister's hair and Mum banned him from further performances.

So instead, Ben set his heart on becoming an actor.

We did all we could to dissuade him. As a producer and director, I know how difficult it is to scratch any sort of living on stage or in front of the cameras. Did he want to be unemployed for most of the rest of his life? The producers have the creative ideas and do the hiring, I told him, the players are mere employees at the bottom of the creative food chain. That's not strictly true, of course - a good actor can be the making of a successful project - but his mother and I were getting desperate.

After enduring Working your firstborn something transcends several years of interminable school plays, during which time we failed to discern the slightest hint of latent stardom, we finally suggested that he might want to consider following his Dad into a career behind the cameras. human Ben snorted with derision at the suggestion. I produced popular down-market shows like Challenge Anneka and Star for a Night: fit only for BBC1 on Saturday nights. He was an artiste. Visits to television studios and location left him cold. We sighed and waited.

Sure enough, after A-Levels, the inevitable happened. He announced that he'd decided to study film and television at university. And, to my great relief, he shone.

He has a cinematic eye I never quite developed, and he's great with crew and actors. He's directed commercials, won prizes for his short films, and he's very good with comedy, perhaps the most difficult genre of all.

He has a penchant for the surreal which more than matches my own, and this year he finally achieved his first major goal when he was asked to direct an hour-long network television drama. …

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