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John Reynolds (Read 682 times)
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John Reynolds
Mar 30th, 2021, 4:11pm
 
Reproduced from Will Wyatt's piece in The Guardian (Monday, 15th March 2021) ...

John Reynolds, who has died of cancer aged 79, was a BBC editor and producer who worked in radio and television current affairs and became head of BBC North America. He later reinvented himself as a drama and comedy producer.

John was the first person I noticed when I arrived in 1965 in the BBC Radio newsroom, where he was a subeditor. He looked the very epitome of a journalist, with a conspiratorial air as he flicked ash from his cigarettes. We became friends but it wasn’t long until he was off to BBC television current affairs, based at Lime Grove studios. He became editor of the Money Programme and Rough Justice and was then appointed head of special projects, where one of his jobs was to organise coverage in Moscow of the 60th anniversary of the Russian revolution.

John thrived in the competitive world of television and yet was regarded by colleagues as warm, witty and generous.

John was born in Warrington, the son of Bertha (nee Budd), a school meals organiser, and James Reynolds, a construction foreman, Labour councillor and one-time mayor of Hemel Hempstead. John was proud to have been in the Woodcraft Folk as a child, which he claimed was the Communist boy scouts - in fact allied to the Co-op movement.

He attended Hemel Hempstead grammar school and studied politics, philosophy and economics at Leicester University, graduating in 1962. After his first job at the City Press in London, he became lobby correspondent of the Scottish Sunday Post.

In 1964 he married his teenage sweetheart, Sheelah Donohoe. He arrived in the BBC Radio newsroom in 1965, soon winning an attachment to, and then job on Panorama.

In 1971 he was posted as resident New York producer for three years, taking Sheelah and their two children, Leo and Corinna. This was one of his happiest times. The family lived in West Village and John, soon dubbed “Senator Reynolds”, was in his element in the US, covering conventions, elections and big fights as well as producing films, interviews and inserts for BBC news programmes. After a spell as head of co-productions for the commercial arm of the BBC, John returned to New York in 1985 as head of BBC North America, responsible for the BBC staff, studio and office in New York.

He left the BBC in 1988 and came back to live in Kent, reinventing himself as a drama and comedy producer, notably of As Time Goes By, starring Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, for DLT Entertainment. John was amused by the “luvvy” world but enjoyed it hugely, and became both comfortable and successful in it, working part time for DLT well into his seventies.

John suffered various illnesses over the past decade but he and Sheelah remained voracious readers and passionate theatregoers. He was a Guardian reader from the age of 16, his other lay bible being the Good Food Guide. He was an impeccable authority on where to eat.

He is survived by Sheelah, Leo and Corinna, and three grandchildren.
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Burstner55
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Re: John Reynolds
Reply #1 - Mar 30th, 2021, 8:16pm
 
Wow!  In no way would I wish to be disrespectful but John's amazing CV just took my breath away.  What a life!
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