Obituary: Kenneth Lamb

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The Independent Online
In his obituary of Kenneth Lamb [24 June], Leonard Miall rightly says that the job of Special Adviser (Audience Research) at the BBC, to which he was shunted, was not up to Kenneth's abilites and so he decided to look elsewhere, writes Richard Hoggart.

It is worth adding that Kenneth decide to employ his time in that post remarkably fruitfully. He winkled money out of sponsors (especially the Hosa Bunka Foundation of Japan) and mounted a seminar at Leeds Castle. Out of that came, first, a book, The Future of Broadcasting, a set of very good statements on the idea of Public Service, and hence ignored in the present climate. Secondly, now with support from the BBC, IBA, BFI and the Markle Foundation of America, he made possible the creation of the Broadcasting Research Unit. The unit's life was cut short after a few years because of a change in the Government's regulations for broadcasting which caused the BBC and IBA to feel unable to continue their financial support. Among other publications he produced The Public Service Idea in British Broadcasting and Quality in Television.

Today most broadcasters would find those documents depressing and inspiriting at once, so much has the system deteriorated. Among those who have read them, I have heard of one who carries them in his briefcase - as a reminder of more worthwhile days.

To have effected that in a job which was below his abilities is a great tribute to Kenneth Lamb's patience, percipience and persistence.