Cy Young: Film historian, a BFI governor and an 'Independent' obituarist

 

Occasional visitors to BFI Southbank under Waterloo Bridge could not in recent years have failed to notice the white-haired gentleman asleep in the foyer near the ticket desks; some may even have wondered why security did not have him removed.

More regular visitors, however, would have known him to be BFI Governor Cy Young, resting between screenings or sessions at the microfilm projector in the BFI Reuben Library, tirelessly augmenting his already immense knowledge of the world of British entertainment, with which he was always unfailingly generous to fellow researchers.

Young, who died after several years spent with a weakened heart, was elected Member's Governor of the BFI in 2009, but his engagement with the medium had been lifelong. After youthful experience in cinema management on the Rank circuit, he joined Granada Television as personal assistant to network film buyer Leslie Halliwell, viewing feature acquisitions and later devising several editions of the company's junior film magazine, Clapperboard.

Following 12 years as a film and videotape editor for ATV in Birmingham he returned to London to freelance as a specialist researcher on numerous archive-based productions for the BBC, ITV and Channel Four, including Those Wonderful TV Times, Looks Familiar, Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow, British Film Forever and Heroes of Comedy.

A meticulous researcher gifted with an encyclopaedic memory and a lucid writing style, he regularly supplied entertaining and readable replies to the Daily Mail's Answers to Correspondents section as well as obituaries for The Independent, and served as a consultant and contributor to the Dictionary of National Biography. He penned articles on the early days of commercial TV for the periodicals Archive Zones and 405 Alive, wrote the first substantive history of newsreel theatres for The Journal of British Film and Television and contributed to the database BFI Screenonline.

When Young's original term as Governor last year he was reappointed for a 12-month term, which he held until September. It had been his intention to devote more time to writing, including his long gestating project, British TV Movies, a reference guide to filmed television dramas. This unfulfilled plan makes his passing, following a heart attack suffered on the premises of the BFI, even more deeply to be regretted. Both film scholarship and his many friends have lost someone special.

Richard Chatten

Cyril Young, film researcher and editor: born 5 December 1941; died Hammersmith, London 12 October 2013.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible