David RobertsProfessor David Roberts, Acting Executive Dean of the Faculty of Performance, Media and English at Birmingham City University, comments on the achievements of an influential figure in British film history – Sir Michael Balcon.

He gave Alfred Hitchcock his first chance to direct. He produced The Thirty-Nine Steps. He headed up Ealing Studios in the glory days. He produced The Blue Lamp, so introducing to the world the sublimely reassuring beat copper, PC George Dixon, a name taken from his old school. His own name was adopted by a pub in Ealing, and it features outside the famous studios and the house in Westminster where he lived in the 1930s.

But you won’t find it mentioned too often in Birmingham, the city where he was born.

Sir Michael Balcon, one of the most influential figures in British film history, is also one of the most successful Brummies of the Twentieth Century. He gave scope to great young talent and his films are admired by the great directors of today, none more so than Martin Scorsese. The talent goes on and the Balcon family legacy is eye-wateringly impressive. His daughter was the actress Jill Balcon, who married the former Poet Laureate, Cecil Day-Lewis. Their children, as you might guess from the name, are the TV Chef Tamasin and the man who may be on the verge of having a claim to be the most successful actor in the history of cinema, Daniel. That’s some legacy.

A group of people from the city, led by film-maker Roger Shannon and with the backing of council agencies and our own faculty, are determined to see Balcon’s legacy remembered right here. We’re planning a series of events that will accent his formidable achievements and do the thing he most loved to do, encourage the bright young talents of the future. If you want to be involved, contact me.

And watch this space.

The following two tabs change content below.
David Roberts

David Roberts

Faculty of Performance, Media and English at Birmingham City University
David Roberts

Latest posts by David Roberts (see all)