NEWS of mystery creatures has always aroused interest – from being spread by word of mouth, it became more widely known through radio and then television.
So it was that Norman Collins, an influential figure in the TV world, became involved with Nessie the Loch Ness Monster.
Born in Beaconsfield in one of the houses that now comprise a row of shops and offices in Penn Road he was credited with devising the name ‘Independent Television’, or ITV, for commercial television and became e a director of the organisation thatat included Associated Television, or ATV.
Since St Columba encountered,d, and dealt with, a ‘kelpie’ in 565 AD D there have been stories of sinisterer entities inhabiting Scottish lochs butut it was not until 1930 that the interest est of Fleet Street was aroused in respect ect of Nessie.
Alexander Keiller of the Dundee dee marmalade and Sir Edwardard Mountain of Eagle Star Insurancence financed the collection of the accounts of reliable witnesses fromom around the Loch.
The Second World War and its aftermath put interest in Nessie in abeyance until the 1950s.
Well known as a broadcaster and for his Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust, Peter Scott was sufficiently impressed by the information available on the monster to assemble a panel of respected zoologists and a Member of Parliament, David James, who in October 1962 led an expedition to the
Loch with ih equipmenti thath includedi ldd radard and underwater listening devices.
Norman Collins was appointed Chairman of James’ Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau to examine their findings, and ATV broadcast a programme narrated by Scott about the expedition.
The scientific establishment had long rejected the idea of a monster in the absence of theh creature itself or tissue from it.
A curator at London’s Natural History Museum and an assistant professor at the University of Chicago were dismissed for refusing to retract their beliefs in the mystery, and the journal, Nature, incurred the wrath of theh scientificfi community forf publishing a paper without proper scientific scrutiny.
Not surprisingly Nessie had attracted the attention of pranksters, a situation not helped when it was broadcast, ironically on ITV, that the zoological name, Nessiteras rhombopteryxh b proposed db by ScottS was by an unhappy coincidence an anagram of ‘Monster hoax by Sir Peter S’.
In the early 1970s concern about the Bureau’s finances and the attentions of publicists led to Collins ending his chairmanship.
Whole lot of fun: The Goodies aka Graeme Garden, BIll Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor, filming of The Loch Ness Monster, on the Lido at Ruislip, June 3, 1971
Myth or monster?: The Daily Record of November 26, 1975 shows drawings of the Loch Ness monster by Sir Peter Scott and above, an image of the beast dating