Ver­ity Lam­bert


The Jewish Chronicle - - OBITUARIES -

APRODUCER OF high-qual­ity drama in the hey­day of television plays, Ver­ity Lam­bert made her name with the long-run­ning Dr Who se­ries. The only child of a North Lon­don ac­coun­tant, she was taught He­brew by her fa­ther, who be­longed to a Re­form syn­a­gogue, and at 10 was sent to Roedean, the top girls’ board­ing school.

She left at 16 to spend a year at the Sor­bonne in Paris be­fore tak­ing a sec­re­tar­ial course in Lon­don.

Bored by her first job in a ho­tel, she went to the press de­part­ment of Granada TV and was fas­ci­nated by the new medium. But she was sacked af­ter six months and moved to ABC TV.

Pro­moted to pro­duc­tion as­sis­tant, she showed her met­tle, when an ac­tor died on set from a heart at­tack, by help­ing re­or­gan­ise the scene on the spot.

Af­ter a spell in New York and then with Granada TV, she was called in as pro­ducer in 1963 by a for­mer boss, now at the BBC, to launch the Dr Who chil­dren’s science fiction se­ries.

With its huge suc­cess, she be­came re­spon­si­ble for sev­eral high-cal­i­bre BBC dra­mas be­fore a de­ci­sion to re­duce the amount of drama turned her to com­mer­cial TV. From 1974-6 she was con­troller of drama at Thames TV and re­turned as drama di­rec­tor in 1981 af­ter free­lanc­ing for the BBC.

Her nu­mer­ous cred­its in­cluded a 1969 award-win­ning se­ries of Som­er­set Maugham sto­ries, the 1975 award-win­ning Naked Civil Ser­vant and the pop­u­lar le­gal se­ries, Rumpole of the Bai­ley.

She went into films as CEO of Thames TV’s Eus­ton Films in 1979, then as pro­duc­tion di­rec­tor of Thorn EMI in 1982, fi­nally set­ting up her own com­pany, Cin­ema Ver­ity, in 1985.

Cred­its in­cluded the low-life com­edy se­ries Min­der, Jack Rosen­thal’s taxi driver com­edy, The Knowl­edge, and A Cry in the Dark, an Aus­tralian drama about a real-life baby dis­ap­pear­ance.

She had a feel for scripts and worked closely with writ­ers such as Lynda La Plante and Paul Men­del­son. She stoutly de­fended her high-profile flop , El­do­rado, a 1992 sex and san­gria se­ries set in Spain, which she said aimed to break down na­tional prej­u­dices.

Her drive, ef­fi­ciency, fo­cus and sheer love of her work were recog­nised by col­leagues and the Jewish com­mu­nity, which took on board her di­rect if of­ten im­pa­tient approach.

She was a gov­er­nor of the Bri­tish Film In­sti­tute and the Na­tional Film and TV School, and a board mem­ber of the Jewish Film Fes­ti­val. She also graced her mother’s Wizo fete in Brighton. She had no chil­dren but doted on her dog.

She won the 1983 Veuve Clic­quot Busi­ness Wo­man of the Year award and was Jewish Care’s 1992 Wo­man of Dis­tinc­tion. She was ap­pointed OBE in 2002 and was due to re­ceive a life­time award from Women in Film and TV.

She was mar­ried to TV pro­ducer Colin Buck­sey for 14 years but di­vorced in 1987.

Ver­ity Lam­bert: tough pro­ducer with a sen­si­tive feel for drama

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