Michael Hurl - prolific TV producer Oct 14, 2012 9:56:31 GMT 1
Post by Laurence on Oct 14, 2012 9:56:31 GMT 1
The television producer Michael Hurll, who has died aged 75 after suffering from Parkinson's disease, was a prolific maker of light entertainment programmes. After working with stars such as Cilla Black, Cliff Richard, Twiggy and Ken Dodd, he injected new life into Top of the Pops by adding a party atmosphere to the singles-chart programme between 1980 and 1987. During the same period, he enjoyed some of his happiest times as executive producer of the sketch show The Two Ronnies. In 1990 Hurll devised for ITV the British Comedy awards, a ceremony recognising talent on stage, screen and radio. The awards became a permanent fixture on television.
Hurll was born in London and attended St Paul's school, in the south-west of the city, where he directed Jonathan Miller, a fellow pupil, in a revue. On leaving school, he worked behind the scenes in the theatre. In the mid-1950s, he joined the BBC as a "call boy" and ushered in the guests for The Billy Cotton Band Show. He progressed to stage manager before directing the programme.
Other shows produced by Hurll during an era when variety was popular on television included The Illustrated Weekly Hudd (1967), Cilla (1968-76), A Christmas Night with the Stars (1972), Seaside Special (1975-79) and Ronnie Corbett's Saturday Special (1977). He also directed the Royal Variety Performance and, in 1974, the Eurovision Song Contest, which was won by Abba with Waterloo.
Hurll produced and directed the live Saturday evening entertainment programme The Late Late Breakfast Show (1982-86), presented by Noel Edmonds. After turning freelance, Hurll teamed up again with Black and was executive producer of Blind Date and two Surprise Surprise specials.
In later years, Hurll was not always complimentary about the shows he made, describing some as "terrible rubbish". He also had firm views about stars such as Bob Hope ("the nastiest man I've ever worked with") and Rod Hull ("the most miserable man you ever met").
Michael Hurll was born 7 October 1936 and passed away on 18 September 2012