Before we get to today’s name, I just have to ask: did anyone else notice that the BoFN boys’ posting schedule went completely off the rails when I wasn’t around last week?!? Arto and Rob were clearly so devastated by my absence from the blogsphere that they just couldn’t bring themselves to write anything at all* Good for a girl’s ego, maybe; not so good for when she needs reading material at the airport.
But today we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming and talking about (appropriately enough) funny names in television. Specifically, a very funny named individual who was responsible for the development of one of my very favourite television series ever in the entire history of television. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Verity Lambert.
In my original notes for this post, I had written: Produced the original Doctor Who in the 60s. Legend at the BBC and in the broadcasting world in general. My hero.
I’m not just calling her that because she gave me one of my most meaningful relationships with one of my favourite fictional characters, either. Verity broke barriers for women in television and created truly innovative, exceptional material while working under conditions that I can’t even begin to imagine. Do me a favour? The next time I complain about how stressed out I get at my office job where I sit at a computer all day, remind me of Verity’s first job in television, as a production assistant in 1958, when an actor died during a live broadcast of “Armchair Theatre”. Died, you guys. Here I am complaining when my inbox goes over its storage limit, and 23 year old Verity is stepping in to direct a live, nation-wide television show because her boss is busy dealing with a dead body.
Most people would be forgiven for coming away from an incident like that wanting a change in profession; instead, Verity decided to change her entire industry. At age 28 she became the first female producer in the BBC’s prestigious drama department, and the youngest producer the network had ever had. She was recruited for the position by the Canadian(!) head of the department, Sydney Newman, who was her boss back during The Armchair Incident. When he was told his idea for a new BBC show would be “impossible to film”, he called Verity. My showbiz sources tell me this is exactly how their conversation went, and it must be true, because this is how it played out on my television, last Saturday:
Together,with director Waris Hussain, (who got the job because he was the most junior director at the BBC, and the only one who couldn’t say no),
no budget, and the crappiest, oldest studio on the BBC lot, Verity created “Doctor Who”. Last Saturday marked the show’s 50th anniversary. The episode aired in 94 countries on 6 continents, and broke the Guinness World Record for most simulcasts ever.
I personally think the show needs to run for at least 50 more years, because, as I’ve stated before on my home blog, it’s thoughtful and philosophical and touching and funny, and asks viewers to ponder timeless questions about free will and destiny and what it means to be human and what it means to love. Also, sometimes there are dinosaurs. On spaceships. I don’t think Rob will mind when I close this post by stealing his line:
You go, Verity!
* You know that’s not what happened and I know that’s not what happened … but I’m here back at work and wishing I was still on vacation, so let’s just pretend that’s what happened, ok? Thanks, kittens.