Luise Fitzwalter on the WIA programmes that Ray Fitzwalter was most proud of

I know he was very proud of the Gozo programme, which finally nailed Maudling. I mean, he was very proud of the team, you know? And we left, we took the personal BAFTAs but we left the team ones. And we left the team ones on the second floor because the team had moved! They had to come and find them if they wanted them.

I mean, obviously there’s Who Bombed Birmingham? and also he pioneered drama documentary: Lockerbie, Thatcher: The Final Days. He was the first producer to do that – and they were documentaries first and drama second. And the rule of thumb was that you had to have two witnesses to everything he put in, which was quite difficult, especially with Thatcher, because obviously there had been one to one conversations, and Thatcher wasn’t talking. But you could often, as he told me, you could often get it from the person who was outside the door, who the person who came out had talked to first – because people will tell you things when they’re off-guard. And so we had a brilliant researcher on it who found all these people – so every single thing we put in Thatcher: The Final Days, and I presume in all the others, was fully documented.

And the other thing about Who Bombed Birmingham? was that wasn’t the only programme – there was a huge number in the run-up, and that meant that the team had to do lots and lots of programmes to make up for the fact that Ian McBride and Charles Tremayne were taken off to work on this for ages. And again, it’s one of those things you can’t imagine happening now. …. But you know, he brought Chris Mullin in for a bit to work on it as well. So you know, it’s about management and encouragement, and also holding the team together so that if you got to do a crash programme because the World In Action on the Birmingham Six couldn’t go out because of legal problems, people would do it and would step into the breach, knowing that their programme wasn’t going to get the kudos that the other people’s programme was. And I think that’s a real skill, because it could have ended up with a bloodbath, given the people who were working on it.


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