Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

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

from 1934

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