As a BBC Television producer responsible for an enormously wide diversity of programmes, Barrie Edgar started out as a child actor. For the BBC’s Midlands region, he played the title role in a radio adaptation of Tom Brown’s Schooldays, the classic story of the harsh regime at Rugby school during the 1830s.
In the theatre, he worked first as an assistant stage manager at the Alexandra in Birmingham and then joined the Birmingham Rep as a stage manager in 1937. After the Second World War, he was appointed a studio manager for BBC Television, working on output as disparate as Shakespearean productions from Stratford-upon-Avon to the puppetry antics of Muffin the Mule. At the 1948 London Olympics, he unexpectedly found himself commentating from the Empire Pool, Wembley.
In 1949, he was elevated to producer. In Garrison Theatre, a variety show, he gave Bob Monkhouse his first television appearance, alongside the magician David Nixon, with whom Edgar worked regularly.
After that, he produced hundreds of editions of Gardeners’ World and Songs of Praise, but became particularly associated with the ballroom dancing programme Come Dancing (1949-1998), the precursor of Strictly Come Dancing. His long association with the show began in 1953 and, although he did not entirely approve of Strictly, he was pleased that the basic format of one of his productions survived long after his retirement.
Barrie Edgar, who was born on April 26, 1919, died on December 28, 2012, at the age of 93.
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