Dave Heather

Director of Glyndebourne telecasts

Dave Heather's career in television began as a 15-year-old, holidaying with his older brother John in Manchester, when he was given the opportunity to work in the studios of ABC. This experience persuaded him that his future lay in television and he joined ATV in London three years later, then moving in the early 1960s to Southern Television.

David William Heather, television director: born Tunbridge Wells, Kent 17 February 1941; married 1983 Annie Thompson (one son, two daughters); died Tonbridge, Kent 16 April 2005.

Dave Heather's career in television began as a 15-year-old, holidaying with his older brother John in Manchester, when he was given the opportunity to work in the studios of ABC. This experience persuaded him that his future lay in television and he joined ATV in London three years later, then moving in the early 1960s to Southern Television.

In 1966, aged 25, he became the youngest director in British television, working on, amongst many other programmes, the game show Wheel of Fortune (1969-71), with Michael Miles as host. In 1976 Heather wrote, produced and directed an innovative children's show - Get This - starring Harry Fowler and Kenny Lynch. It set new standards for anarchic entertainment and earned Heather the first of five Bafta nominations.

In 1971 Southern Television signed a long-term contract giving it the rights to broadcast two operas from Glyndebourne Opera Festival every summer on ITV (unthinkable these days). I was brought in as a freelance producer for these rather specialised transmissions but Southern TV selected one of their own staff directors - Heather - to be in charge of the cameras. This involved writing the camera script, directing the cameramen and working closely with the singers and the stage director.

Heather loved music and got on well with everybody at Glyndebourne - from the prima donnas to the stage hands. Hitherto telecasts of operas had generally been last-minute affairs undertaken by busy directors of outside broadcasts who had many other irons in the fire. Heather pioneered the planning technique of spending weeks in advance of the production date familiarising himself with every nuance of the production during its rehearsal period.

The first Glyndebourne opera he directed was Verdi's Macbeth in 1972. Later recordings (many of them now available as DVDs or VHS cassettes) include Peter Hall's vintage production of The Marriage of Figaro (1973, with Kiri Te Kanawa as the countess) and the David Hockney- designed Rake's Progress (1975). In 1974 Heather also directed the telecast of Welsh National Opera's world premiere production of Alan Hoddinott's grand opera The Beach at Falesa. He continued to direct opera relays when TVS took over the ITV contract later in the 1970s, but the new company was less ambitious culturally.

In addition to the nationally transmitted operas Heather was responsible for some notable regional arts programmes - the studio-based Music in Camera with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes, and Theatre in Camera, featuring television versions of new plays from different theatres in the Southern TV area.

But, perhaps to his own disadvantage, Heather also excelled as a journeyman director of live television. As well as numerous local programmes for Southern and TVS, he had a seven-year stint with Robert Kilroy-Silk's chat show Kilroy and also originated The General, later to be retitled City Hospital, a daily live programme from Southampton General Hospital, which continues on BBC1. This aspect of his career culminated in his award-winning overall direction of the ITV coverage of the funeral of the Princess of Wales in 1997.

His skill in these areas perhaps detracted from his reputation as a music specialist, although he continued to freelance in this area, including work in the early 1980s on the Judith de Paul video series of Gilbert and Sullivan productions.

Dave Heather's personal charm was of a no-nonsense, down-to-earth character. He and I attended the same school - the Judd School, Tonbridge, Kent - where Dave spoke at an Old Juddians reunion function on Saturday evening shortly before he was struck down by a fatal heart attack.

Humphrey Burton

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
techResearchers recover 100s of nude photos from second-hand smartphones
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Head of Digital Marketing,London

To £58k Contract 12 months: Charter Selection: Major household name charity se...

Network Support Engineer / Junior Test Analyst

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: A market leading, in...

Key Account Manager, Medical

£35000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent commission structure + Car: Charter Sele...

Key Account Manager, Medical

£35000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent commission structure + Car: Charter Sele...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice