My Mentor: Will Wyatt on Brian Wenham
‘He was an inspiration in that you really wanted to get it right for him'
I met Brian Wenham when he was the BBC's head of current affairs and I was a producer. He didn't give me a job there, but he did when he became the controller of BBC2.
He was an incredibly encouraging and trusting boss and I got a lot of things on the air that we wouldn't have otherwise because of the space he gave me – The Trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover was the first time the word "fuck" was used in a scripted drama and the first time "cunt" was used on British television, and it was Brian who encouraged me to do it.
When I was head of documentaries in the 1980s he was terribly good at giving one a steer, but if a programme had gone out that was no good, you got a note from Brian saying, "Last night, bit rum?"
He became a good friend and one could talk things through with him. He would give you tips about the future and was supportive in personal and emotional terms.
He gave you a lot of rope and trusted you but he could also be quite analytical about things and say why you had made some dumb choices of presenter or subject. He was an inspiration in that you really wanted to get it right for him; he had the ability of making you want to please him.
Brian let me start the 40 Minutes documentary series, and he also commissioned Boys from the Blackstuff. Although he was very disappointed not to become director-general, he became much more relaxed once he was out of the fight for high office – he said that he was "beyond ambition".
He died 10 years ago. He's one of those people that you miss, and if I'm ever with people who were around at that time the conversation will quickly turn to Brian.
Will Wyatt is a former deputy director-general of the BBC and produced this year's Wyatt Report on 'A Year with the Queen'. He is participating in BBC Question Time at the Sheffield Doc/Fest, which is sponsored by 'The Independent', 7 to 11 November. Brian Wenham was the controller of BBC2 from 1978 to 1982
Have shock jocks gone too far?
Former Google exec says he has 100,000 emails showing how 'immoral' company avoids paying UK tax
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
British man confesses to slitting two children's throats in Lyon flat
'Swivel-gate': David Cameron goes to war with the press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 1 Asteroid nine times the size of the QE2 liner to sail pass Earth
- 2 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 3 British business: We need to stay in the EU - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
- 4 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
Travel and lunch expenses: ESI Media: Rare work experience opportunity for asp...
£28000 - £36000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
£350 - £400 per day: Progressive Recruitment: Agile Java Developer London
£19000 - £20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Our client is a lead...