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Ian Robert Martin

29 December 1935 to 11 August 2011

After graduating from Oxford with a First in English, and completing his National Service with the navy, Martin joined the BBC current affairs department in 1959. The programmes to which he contributed include the influential interview series Face To Face.

He joined Thames Television in 1968, as executive producer for documentaries. His edited the news programme This Week in the early 1970s, but remained in demand for executive roles at Thames including Controller of Features, Education and Religion from 1976-85; Head of Documentaries from 1986-87; and Head of Music and Theatre from 1988-92.

He also executive produced many successful, award winning programmes including La Cantata di San Nicola (1977) which won a Prix Italia; The Gospel According to St Mark (1979); Swan Lake (1980); Martin Luther King – The Legacy (1988); Una Stravaganza dei Medici (1990) which brought his second Prix Italia; D. W. Griffith: Father of Film (1993); Les Miserables (1995); Who Could Ask for Anything More? (1996); and Hey, Mr Producer! (1998).

Martin’s interest in religion and the arts were obvious – under his tenure many more classics were brought to a wider audience – but he also made a significant contribution to television history by executive producing Britain’s first telethon in 1980, which raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity.

He co-founded the production company HD Thames in 1992, which went on to win a number of international awards, pioneering the development of high definition television at prestige events such as the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.

A long time committee member at BAFTA, he served as chair of the Television Awards Committee from 1973 to 1976. Dedicated to the highest standards in the medium he spent his life in, Martin also expressed his interest in social issues with the 1969 publication of the book From Workhouse to Welfare.