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Pennant Roberts

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Pennant Roberts was already a veteran television director and producer when he took on the reins of the Directors’ and Producers’ Rights Society shortly after its launch in 1987.

Together with Suzan Dormer, he steered the royalty-collecting organisation’s growth for two decades. After overseeing its transformation into Directors UK in 2007, Roberts stepped down as its chair, but remained active on the board. The DPRS had been his second stint in governance, having played a significant role on the council of the Directors Guild of Great Britain from its formation in 1982.

Born in Weston-super-Mare on December 15, 1940, his ambition to read physics at Bristol University was quickly sidetracked by the attractions of the drama society. On graduating, he spent a brief period with the short-lived Welsh television company Wales West and North before joining the BBC as a floor manager, first in Cardiff and subsequently in London.

He made his directorial debut with two episodes of Doomwatch in 1972, following it with credits on many seventies drama staples, including The Regiment, Tenko, Howard’s Way and Juliet Bravo. He also made a mark in TV sci-fi, directing four episodes of Blakes 7, nine of Survivors, and 20 of Doctor Who. In 1989, he picked up his own BAFTA nomination – in the Best Children’s Programme category – for the adaptation of Jenny Nimmo’s fantasy novel The Snow Spider, which he produced and directed.

He reprised the dual roles for the two follow-up series, Emlyn’s Moon and The Chestnut Soldier, and for a feature-length Wycliffe episode and between 1993-97 on what was to be his last broadcast work, The Sherman Plays, for HTV Wales.

He died from cancer on June 22, aged 69, and is survived by his wife of 40 years, the Welsh-speaking actor Betsan Jones.

Michael Quinn

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