Obituary: Rory Peck

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The Independent Online
I GOT to know Rory Peck while touring Albania in 1990 with a crowd of journalists thinly disguised as enthusiasts of Illyrian archeology (journalists not then being admitted to Albania), writes Peter Popham (further to the obituary by Felix Corley, 5 October).

Rory was shooting video for the BBC and made no attempt to hide it. 'We are now passing a military installation,' the guide on our Albturist bus would declare. 'It is forbidden to take pictures.' Rory would be the first to swing his camera in the direction indicated and keep it there stubbornly until the installation had disappeared.

He was a master of the sort of audacity that produces good television images. Several of us were debriefing the Italian consul in his office in Tirana when Rory marched in without a word, slammed his camera down on the consul's desk and commenced filming. It took our breath away.

The word 'dashing' applied to Rory better than to anyone I have ever met: he combined the qualities of cavalry officer, gipsy and pirate. He would have been at home in the early years of the Empire, opening up unknown territories, perhaps ending up as Rajah in his own domain. In our own narrower age, recording the crumbling of other empires was the most congenial work he could find. He did it with extraordinary panache.