A wry look at how ‘Today’ gets to air in December 1969

What is a day in the life of a Television director really like? To find out I confronted Bryan Izzard during a momentary lull when he was sitting amidst the debris of his Fifth Floor office, playing with his worry beads.

Photographed by Don Johnson

Bryan’s day starts with an alarm call at 7.45 a.m. when he staggers into the kitchen, falls over the cat, turns on Tony Blackburn, hastily drinks his coffee and makes an early departure to search for the first available parking meter.

Before going into the office he visits the nearest tobacconist to stock-up on the day’s supply of cigarettes and cigars – how substantial a supply you can judge from the photographs.

Photographed by Don Johnson

The day begins with the morning papers, a large intake of nicotine, five cups of coffee and a conference with Producer, Nicolas Mellersh. Bryan is responsible for all the Light Entertainment items of ‘Today’, and much of the morning is taken up with booking people in advance for future programmes.

After a final conference with Tom Steel, Associate Producer, Bryan retires to the White Horse for fortification – if desperate, other alternatives are sought and Reg, pictured below, must guard his refreshments with zeal.

The afternoons are spent in the studio when the pace becomes much more hectic.

According to Bryan, a director’s most essential quality is the ability to con people – to convince them that you know more than them, that you are in complete control and know exactly what you are doing. “If I wasn’t a Director, I’d make a super con-man!”

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End of well conducted day

“A Director is responsible for presentation. If we compare a Producer to the manager of a shop, a Director would be his window-dresser. The Producer decides what goods are to be displayed and the Director decides how they are shown, where they are shown and what lighting effects should be used.”

For Bryan, the most rewarding aspect of directing is editing: “I adore editing because when all your material is there you can retire with a Film Editor, select all the best bits and put it all together in a creative, imaginative way. I hate ‘live’ television as it is impossible to attain the same standards of perfection.”

His greatest compliment to date came from a Light Entertainment Producer who said, “You’re too much of a perfectionist, Bryan.” The most constructive comment, however, came from his doctor, who said, “You smoke too much Bryan!”

Categories: Programmes

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