North East UK news 'A true legend and a lovely man': tributes to director Geoff Wonfor PremierLeague-News.Com

PremierLeague-News.Com - The Newcastle director on music events including The Tube and Band Aid, and won a Grammy award for The Beatles Anthology

North East UK news 'A true legend and a lovely man': tributes to director Geoff Wonfor PremierLeague-News.Com

PremierLeague-News.Com - The Newcastle director on music events including The Tube and Band Aid, and won a Grammy award for The Beatles Anthology

North East UK news 'A true legend and a lovely man': tributes to director Geoff Wonfor PremierLeague-News.Com
22 November 2022 - 17:01

PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Award-winning North East film and TV director Geoff Wonfor, who worked with many of the biggest names in music, has died at the age of 73. Geoff, who grew up in Newcastle’s west end and started work for Tyne Tees Television at the age of 15, was known for his work on The Tube and the Beatles Anthology series, as well as directing the video for the first Band Aid single in 1984, and then its 20th anniversary edition in 2004. Tributes have been paid to him from musicians and stars from around the world after a career that saw him win a Grammy and a Golden Rose of Montreux, two of the biggest prizes in the media. Though his career took him around the world, he always retained his base in the North East and was this year involved in a BBC documentary about Lindisfarne songwriter Alan Hull that was fronted by singer-songwriter Sam Fender. Geoff’s work in TV began at the age of 15 as a vaults boy at Tyne Tees Television, working his way up to become an editor and director. He moved to work for BBC during the 1970s and met future wife Andrea, who would also have a stellar career in the media, and who died in 2004. The pair worked together on The Tube, the irreverent Channel 4 music programme that brought some of music’s biggest names to the unlikely setting of Tyne Tees’ former studios on Newcastle’s City Road. Work on The Tube forged a lifelong friendship with musician and presenter Jools Holland, as well as seeing him work with the likes of Mick Jagger, Madonna, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder. While on The Tube, he also met - individually - the three surviving Beatles, helping him start the relationships that led to him being chosen to direct the Beatles Anthology series, on which he worked from 1991 to 1996. That series - working with the band he had queued up to see at Newcastle City Hall in 1963 - saw him awarded a Grammy, and he would work again with Paul McCartney on a number of other videos and documentaries. In the 1990s he would direct The White Room, a music show for Channel 4, before a five-week stint at the end of 1999 when he brought back The Tube to mark the turn of the Millennium, filmed Paul McCartney at The Cavern in Liverpool and then Prince performing at Paisley Park. Nearer to home, he was involved with filming the Sunday for Sammy charity concerts, working with many of the North East’s biggest showbiz names, and in 2007 he filmed a series of concerts in the North East for the Teenage Cancer Trust, insisting that young cancer patients were involved in filming the shows. In recent years, he had worked on a documentary about the ‘60s music show Ready Steady Go, a project close to his heart as it had been the programme that had first sparked his wish to work in music TV. Geoff’s daughter Sam, a former writer on The Journal, said: “We are devastated to have lost our Dad and Gramps and are finding it impossible to imagine a world without him in it. He was a one-off - a huge presence with a heart to match. “His warmth, humour and encyclopaedic capacity for remembering jokes of all qualities ensured people who met him rarely forgot him - and that has been borne out by the wave of wonderful messages and tributes we’ve received since his passing. “As a filmmaker, he was world class and he leaves behind an amazing body of work of which we’re all incredibly proud. He loved what he did and we’re so very grateful he got to continue doing it to the end. “As a family, we will remember, miss and love him every day.” Geoff is survived by daughters Abi and Sam, and by his grandchildren Fred, Georgie, Ami, Amba and Amaaya. Funeral details will be announced in the coming days. Jools Holland and Geoff Wonfor Film and TV director Geoff Wonfor (Image: Michael Bailey) Actress and TV star Denise Welch and Lindisfarne drummer Ray Laidlaw are among those paying tribute to their friend Geoff Wonfor following the death of the much-loved local producer and director on Monday. Denise said she was “devastated” by the death of the man she calls a legend and Ray, who had known the Grammy award-winner for 50 years, described his friend and colleague as a total one-off who he will miss “immensely”. It was a sentiment shared by other long-term friends as well as fans of the popular “Geordie variety show” Sunday for Sammy, which the three regularly worked on together. Denise said: “He was a legend. A great father, an amazing grandfather and an incredible producer.

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. I’m devastated.” Sunday for Sammy producer Ray, who is currently on tour with The Lindisfarne Story, said: “Geoff was a total one-off, hugely appreciative of talent and endeavour but with little time for those who weren’t prepared to invest all their efforts in a project. In the 50 years I’ve known him we have developed a brilliant friendship and working partnership and I will miss him immensely. Thank you for the days.” Another long-term pal was Sunderland-born former Top of the Pops producer Chris Cowey who said: “Geoff was a great talent, mentor and friend. He was a gifted director but also an amazing human and I am already missing him.” In a post sharing the sad news on the Sunday for Sammy Facebook page, Ray described Geoff as “a big man in every way, a true innovator who changed how music was seen on TV. Most of all a dear friend who taught me so much”. The post added: “Ray’s sentiment is shared by us all in the Sunday for Sammy family. He was a huge presence, and we’ll miss him so much. Love to all his family, friends and colleagues.” Film and TV director Geoff Wonfor (Image: Michael Bailey) Among the responses was one from local actor Craig Conway who wrote: An amazing man, a great teacher and a deeply loved friend.” Many of the page’s followers passed on their condolences. Alisa Archbold added: “Such sad news, Geoff was such a lovely man” and Julie Jones said: “Sad news, a lovely man. RIP Geoff”. Following the sad news of Geoff’s death, tributes poured in on Twitter too. Geoff Lloyd wrote: “The Beatles could have chosen any director in the world to tell their story, and they went with this straight-talking Geordie, mostly known for a cult British TV music show. They had a knack for finding the right people.” Dianne Nelmes, an editor of ITV’s World In Action programme who helped launch ITV’s This Morning and Loose Women, worked with Geoff early in her career. She said: “Geoff Wonfor was an inspiration to me when I joined BBC Look North as a young journalist. He was a creative genius who was generous and inspiring in mentoring young people. Geoff set me on my way to understanding and creating powerful films and documentaries. “I met Geoff just three weeks ago at the 90th birthday party of another North East BBC legend, Jim Graham, and Geoff simply made me laugh and laugh: as outrageous, funny and uniquely talented as ever. The film industry has lost a giant.” Read Next Geoff Wonfor tells how David Bowie loved The Tube 'Reluctant' decision sees Sunday for Sammy cancelled for 2023

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