The early life of Brian Tesler, director of programmes at Thames, from September 1969

Few people have life stories that are totally synonymous with success stories but Brian Tesler, Director of Programmes, has proved to be an exception to the rule.

Brian was born in London on 19 February, 1929 and educated at Chiswick County School for Boys, where he was awarded a State Scholarship to Oxford. Before starting his degree course he served in the Royal Artillery and was seconded to the Forces Broadcasting Service Station in Trieste.

At Oxford Brian read English Literature and Language at Exeter College and received a BA First Class Honours Degree with the highest marks of his year in that subject, later becoming an MA.

His career in Television started with the BBC Television Training School for Producers. After producing and directing his first television programme – a musical show starring Pat Kirkwood, Brian continued to devise, produce and direct every kind of Light Entertainment for the next four years. In 1954 he won the National Television Award for devising, producing and directing ‘Ask Pickles’, which was voted “the most entertaining series of the year”.

Aged 17, Brian (centre, with beard) is cast as MacBeth in the school play.

In 1957 Brian joined Associated Television and won the National Guild of Television Producers and Directors Award as Light Entertainment Producer of the Year.


Aged 18, Brian (centre) is cast as the sergeant in ‘Desert Highway’, another school play.
Three years later Brian became ABC Television’s Supervisor of Features and Light Entertainment. In 1962 he was appointed Programme Controller, in 1965 was appointed to the Board of ABC and in 1968 became Director of Programmes on the Board of Thames Television.

At 20, Brian is with the British Forces Radio Station in Trieste. He is interviewing a young lady called Gianna, who had just been elected Miss Trieste 1949.
1951 Brian as an undergraduate actor touring with an Oxford University theatre company in France. Several members of the party are now well-known, including actor Nigel Davenport (second left), producer and theatre journalist David Thompson (third left), Canadian Paul Almond, television and film director (immediately to Brian’s right) and, half-hidden behind the tousled-haired young man in the front row, film and stage producer and director Tony Richardson. The young man on the right of the centre group is not John F. Kennedy.
1953 Producing first BBC quiz programme since ‘What’s my Line’ – called ‘Why’ – a disastrous flop, hence the dispirited expressions of the cast. From left to right, Judy Campbell, Richard Attenborough, Brian Tesler, Hugh Griffiths, Brenda Bruce, Patricia Burke, Peter West and in the background Bob Monkhouse and Dennis Goodwin.
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