Michael Blakstad obituary


My father, Michael Blakstad, who has died aged 83, was a tv producer and director whose credit embrace the favored BBC science programme Tomorrow’s World. He was additionally an entrepreneur and, in later life, a campaigner on behalf of individuals with dementia.

Born in Penang to Jill (nee McGrath) and Cliff Blakstad, an official within the Malay civil service, Michael was nonetheless a child when the second world conflict struck the area. His father was captured and tortured within the Changi PoW camp; Michael was evacuated together with his mom to her native Australia.

After the conflict, the household remained in Malaya, however Michael was despatched away to high school from the age of eight, first to Bourke Hill in New Brighton, Australia, then to Ampleforth faculty in North Yorkshire. In 1957, after Malayan independence, the remainder of the household joined him within the UK and Cliff took a job instructing arithmetic at Michael’s faculty.

The next 12 months, Michael went to Oriel School, Oxford, to review classics. On commencement he joined the BBC as a trainee. After a spell within the North American radio division, he moved to tv manufacturing, directing factual programmes whose topics ranged from Bertrand Russell and TS Eliot to the newly found Twiggy.

Whereas on the BBC, he met Tricia Wotherspoon, who labored as a designer. They married in 1965, and had twins, Karen and Sofie, in 1966, adopted by me a 12 months later.

In 1969 Michael moved to Yorkshire Tv. Shortly after, the presenter Alan Whicker additionally left the BBC for YTV, and Michael turned producer-director of the ITV model of Whicker’s World, globe-trotting with the sequence and arranging interviews with figures such because the brutal president of Haiti “Papa Doc” Duvalier.

He returned to the BBC as a contract in 1970, and the household settled in west London. Among the many notable documentaries Michael made was the 1974 movie Kids in Crossfire, which adopted the lives of Northern Irish kids from each side of the sectarian divide.

Taking over a everlasting contract in 1974, he turned sequence producer and editor of The Danger Enterprise, a prize-winning sequence on business, together with The Burke Particular and Tomorrow’s World.

After once more leaving the BBC, in 1981, he turned programme controller of Tv South and based two manufacturing corporations, first Blackrod, with the previous Tomorrow’s World presenter Michael Rodd, then Workhouse Restricted, via which he produced content material on rising digital codecs for company purchasers.

In retirement, from 2002, Michael remained busy in Hampshire as a member of the East Meon historic society and as a eager theatregoer. However within the 2010s, his prognosis of Parkinson’s and Tricia’s of Alzheimer’s necessitated a transfer to a retirement group in Eastleigh.

Throughout the Covid lockdowns Tricia’s dementia worsened and she or he needed to transfer right into a care house the place, owing to the isolation imposed by quarantine guidelines, her situation deteriorated quickly. Angered by the coverage selections that had precipitated her plight, Michael started to marketing campaign for the rights of individuals with dementia, making common appearances on the BBC Radio 4 At the moment programme. Tricia died in 2022, and regardless of his rising incapacity, he spent his last months establishing Media versus Dementia, an organisation selling media know-how to assist individuals within the early phases of the situation.

He’s survived by his kids, and his sister, Judi.


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