Martin’s first on-air role was as a relief announcer with BBC Northern Ireland in the 1960s. From there he moved to London and gradually moved up through the ranks of TV presentation, before moving into programme production. He took some time out from his BBC job to participate in the British America’s Cup Challenge (Lionheart) (1979 – 1980).
Martin has also worked for SuperChannel, UK Gold, TVS and Meridian. A detailed treatment of Martin’s career is available in the Career in Detail sub-section (below).
In 2012, Martin was invited to be programme and broadcast managing director for a new local south coast digital media network. However, the consortium failed in its bid. In 2011, he began work on the development of a virtual exhibition gallery for his mother Barbara Everard (a botanical artist). He staged the first retrospective exhibition of over 200 of her works at the RHS Botanical Art show. He transcribed and published her autobiography, Call Them the Happy Years, with photographs and illustrations.
Paul R. Jackson met up with Martin at BAFTA in December 2017.
Tell Us How You Got Started in Broadcasting?
“I joined the BBC direct from school in December 1959, as a clerk in Transcription Service, Shirland Road, and part of BBC External Services. Next I was appointed a clerk in studio bookings at Bush House before being successful at a studio managers’ board in 1960. I opted to go to Northern Ireland as a studio manager in 1960 and mixed radio and TV programmes. Then I did some spells as a holiday relief announcer before being appointed to the full-time job. I worked as an out-of-vision radio announcer, out-of-vision TV continuity announcer and radio and TV newsreader. I was on duty in Belfast TV continuity the night of Kennedy’s assassination (November 1963) but only sat and watched the story unfold in a privileged position of listening in to NC1 on talkback. While there, I did a six-month attachment to Presentation at TV Centre when BBC Two began – three months network announcing and three months with Line-Up and Late-Night Line-Up working with Denis Tuohy, John Stone and Joan Bakewell. I once went to the old White City stadium and put Pamela Donald on a horse for the Horse of the Year Show. They had taken on as an announcer a journalist called John Sandilands, who had joined BBC Presentation for a short time in the mid-60s as they wanted good writers. He became a friend and taught me a lot as a mentor. We were so quick putting together the evening junctions, that after lunch we would go over to the nearby lido and sunbathe until the 4pm meeting! He later wrote for This Is Your Life and the Daily Telegraph (he died aged 72 on 15th March 2004).
“I returned to Belfast where I worked as an in-vision announcer. I was selected to do newsreading with Walter Love. I left Belfast in 1968 – a straight transfer, no job application involved because life for a Queen’s English speaking voice became unfashionable there – and started as an out-of-vision continuity announcer on BBC One and BBC Two. I had a falsetto voice, so was not chosen to continue as they were looking for deeper voices. I then moved to presentation network one director (1969 – 1971) and worked with presentation editors including Bruce Goddard (he had worked at BBC’s 2LO in Oxford Street), Malcolm Walker and Roger Greenwood. I had learnt to cut acetate whilst working at Transcription Services at Maida Vale and when at Kings Norton on a course just before Christmas I got the Queen’s Speech and put it on a loop. I started it with a drum roll and everyone in the canteen stood when it was played on the internal PA system. I was told it was funny, but was ticked off for locking the door of the studio as it was the emergency centre if TV Centre was immobilised and they had to break the lock to get back in. I also helped Clive Roslin do his audition tape for LBC in 1973, as due to my connections with the World Service I was able to book a studio.
“From 1971 until 1975, I was BBC TV presentation promotions assistant producer doing trailer production for BBC One and BBC Two programmes and I attended BBC TV director’s four-week production course. From 1976 until 1979, I was BBC TV presentation promotions producer including production of trailers for Radio Times, corporate and season campaigns and was also producer of Points of View. We called trails BST (British or Bog Standard Trails).
“We produced a weekly five to seven minute trails package for BBC Two previewing the coming week’s programmes. The Goodies used to include a commercial break in their shows, so I did the same and it was the first time the BBC had included one. I worked with Albert Barber, Pam Masters (later head of presentation and then to Channel 4), Dave Clark (an Australian who was very relaxed and laid back) and network assistant Anne Crocker. Pam was originally a secretary in the editor’s office and got an attachment for a role in Promotions. When she started she would sit and read the script and learnt you had to have a quicker turnaround – the trails had to have a start, middle and an end and we would quickly run through a programme and pick out three scenes to illustrate the point and top and tail them with a voiceover by actor Richard Bebb, John Braban or Ray Moore.
“I recall two really good Radio Times trails we did – one was for a David Attenborough series which had snails and I went out to the garden and got some snails and we cut out the snail images and put the live ones in poking through onto the front cover. The second was for Monty Python with the foot crashing down onto the Radio Times. The magazine was thrilled with the promotions. We also created a miniature Radio Times and had Bernard Cribbins come in and do the voiceover but there was a strike and only the south west region got copies that week, so the trail never went out. We would use pool cameramen and I worked with many who went on to have illustrious careers like Philip Bonham Carter and even filmed Pans People at Wormwood Scrubs. Sometimes producers were not keen for us to approach their stars direct – I remember I spoke to Alan Boyd producer of The Generation Game to get Larry Grayson. He said no and that he should ask him, so I promptly went down to the Television Theatre and knocked on his dressing room door and said ‘I’m Everard’ and he thought it was funny as it was the same name as one of his characters he talked about and he readily agreed to do the trail.
“When I went for my board in 1981 for BBC TV presentation editor, the panel was Malcolm Walker (head of presentation), Janet Hoenig (deputy head of presentation) and Bill Cotton (controller BBC One) who fell asleep and when prompted if he had any questions, said: ‘You two will choose who you want to have.’ I was appointed and was responsible to the controllers of BBC One and BBC Two for BBC TV output and attended a BBC junior management course (1981 – 1984). I was then promoted to BBC TV senior presentation editor with overall responsibility for all aspects of BBC TV output, including channel identities and logos, with three teams of presentation editors, assistant editors and network directors. I attended the BBC senior management course at Ashridge College, Herts (1984 – 1986).
“I have a photograph of Michael Baguley (former newsreader and head of presentation, Northern Ireland) and me, showing Lord Erskine the Belfast TV continuity suite. One of the developments that I initiated was to run two channels out of one continuity suite for the Open University. We split the desk with four faders for each half to represent each network. I persuaded the OU to stagger their programme transmission schedule, so that one announcer could run the BBC One and BBC Two programmes from one desk. The announcer also loaded the programmes in early cassette machines (not Beta SP but Phillips), so was self-operating. When at Super Channel, they wanted a one-hour children’s series and I auditioned Gaby Roslin at a school in North London. Peter Gourd was the producer, who later was head of presentation at BBC Glasgow.”
Any Memorable Events from Your Announcing Days?
“I can recall some events. In Belfast, Maurice Shillington (Northern Ireland and Home Service announcer (1936 – 1965)): he read the first local TV news edition in the region on 30th September 1957 – he read the same news paragraph three times, falling asleep during the process. Duncan Hearle (worked for 30 years at the BBC and was the voice of BBC Radio Ulster) on open mic saying ‘Where’s my f**king channel?’ On BBC TV network, Colin Ward-Lewis’s famous ‘Royal Arse Hortillery’ and John Glover’s ‘That was the Rt Honourable Joy Jenkins!’ There were numerous – perhaps too numerous cock-ups using the self-op continuity suites, usually as a result of leaving a mic open or fading up the wrong fader.”
How Did You Manage to Get a Year Off to Indulge in Your Passion for Boats?
“I had visited the Boat Show in early 1978 and had wanted to do a programme on the America’s Cup Challenge. When I told them I had sailed 64-foot boats, they said I should apply, which I did. I took three months grace leave, plus annual leave and Malcolm Walker (head of presentation) allowed me to take the rest unpaid leave. He was hauled over the coals for allowing this and I was offered a job in Boston but returned to the BBC.”
What Have You Been Doing in Recent Years?
“For the past six years, I have worked in a school in North Acton, with primary age children from all backgrounds, countries and ethnicity, to help with their reading, which is most rewarding.”
Career in Detail
1959: clerk in Transcription Service, Shirland Road. Later, a clerk in studio bookings at Bush House.
1960 – 1968: studio managers, BBC Northern Ireland. Relief – and later, full-time, continuity announcer, BBC Northern Ireland TV.
1968 – 1971: BBC One network continuity announcer, London.
1971 – 1975: BBC TV presentation promotions assistant producer – trailer production for BBC One and BBC Two programmes. BBC TV directors four-week production course.
1976 – 1979: BBC TV presentation promotions producer – as above, but including production of trailers for Radio Times, corporate and season campaigns. Programme producer for Points of View.
1979 – 1980: British America’s Cup Challenge (Lionheart) team member.
1981 – 1984: BBC TV presentation editor. Responsible to the controllers of BBC One and BBC Two for BBC TV output. BBC junior management course.
1984 – 1986: BBC TV senior presentation editor. Overall responsibility to the above for all aspects of BBC TV output, including channel identities and logos, with three teams of presentation editors, assistant editors and network directors. BBC senior management course at Ashridge College, Herts, England.
1986 – 1987: head of presentation, SuperChannel. Set up the presentation team (announcers included Colin Ward-Lewis and Bruce Hammal), with overall responsibility for transmission, promotions and programme preparation and operation. Set up children’s weekday and weekend programme strands. As deputy director of programmes, responsible for creating the team to combine a variety of children’s programmes into single programme strands, Hippo (Monday – Friday) and Funbus (Saturday and Sunday). Cast Gaby Roslin as presenter – her first television show (1986 – 1987).
1987 – 1992: television production and promotion. Consultant for TVS presentation, working for director of programmes, Alan Boyd; promotions producer, Channel 4 (Olympics, breakfast show launch); BSB (Sports Channel launch); and BBC World Service TV presentation and promotions departments – set up programme editing (later called ‘versioning’). Executive producer (development) The Webbs – children’s animation stories (1987 – 1992).
1987 – 1992: head of presentation, UK Gold Broadcasting. Six-month contract with responsibility for setting up the presentation department to launch a new satellite television channel.
1993 – 1994: promotions scheduler, Meridian Broadcasting Ltd; assistant producer, BBC World Service presentation (freelance).
1994 – 2002: executive producer, BBC General Factual. Responsible for supplying versioned programmes for BBC World, BBC Prime, BBC News 24, BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four, UK Style and UK Horizons with a team of assistant producers, trained to operate office-based multi-m/c PC-controlled linear and non-linear edit suites. Series producer Talking Movies (weekly for BBC Two, BBC World, BBC News 24 and BBC America); Holiday in Style (UK Style); Holiday Snaps; Looking Good Tricks; Home Front Tricks; Afoot Again in the Past (multi-episode series for BBC Two); My Favourite Movie (BBC World). Executive producer, Saturday Kitchen (series 1, BBC Two, 40-programme series, 2002).
2002 – 2003: executive producer, ClarkTV/TTL Talking Movies and programme development.
2003 – 2004: head of production, MICG Ltd.
2004 – 2006: managing director, London International Television Ltd.
2006 – 2008: launched The Business Channel on Sky Digital (channel 547).
Video Clips on the Internet
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PICTURED: Martin Everard. SUPPLIED BY: Martin Everard. COPYRIGHT: Martin Everard.