|8 Jun 2020|
OW and fimmaker, Michael Proudfoot, has sadly died of cancer, at the age of 65.
His work for Channel 4 included 1000 AD (1999), a documentary with dramatic reconstructions showing life at the turn of the first millennium; programmes in the social history series Classic Ships, Classic Cars and Classic Homes; and science films for Equinox, including Moving Pictures (1989), featuring Jonathan Miller on the neurology behind the illusion of cinema.
In 1999 Michael travelled around the UK with the DJ John Peel, meeting musicians for the series Sounds of the Suburbs, and in 2011 he was executive producer on the acclaimed documentary The 1951 Festival of Britain: A Brave New World, for BBC Two. He also produced and directed films for industrial clients, and worked with artists and performers including David Hockney, Sir Peter Hall, Martin Scorsese, Anish Kapoor, Jessye Norman and Sting.
Michael was born in Lincoln, to John Proudfoot, a farmer, and his wife, Jean (nee Sims). After leaving school he went to study fine art at Trent Polytechnic (now Nottingham Trent University), before studying film and television at the Royal College of Art in London (1977-80).
His rural upbringing inspired a passion for country music; he picked up a guitar as a young man and continued to perform, write and record songs for the rest of his life.
His film career began in 1981 as an edit assistant at Chipstead Film Productions, where he got into documentaries. In the mid-1980s he joined the independent production company Uden Associates, rising to become its creative director, before launching, in 2004, his own production company, Proudfoot, which took as its logo the extravagant pair of glasses that he always wore.
His recent work included The Enigma of Nic Jones – Return of Britain’s Lost Folk Hero (2013), for BBC Four, and Which Way Up (2017), about the Scottish artist John McLean, which was given an IndieFest film award for excellence. There are many in the industry who pay tribute to the mentoring he gave them, but they also applaud his humour, generosity, loyalty and trust.
Family and friends were at the centre of Michael’s life, summed up in the packed kitchen of his home every Burns night – Wendy, his wife, addressing the haggis, his children, George, Archie and Paloma, preparing fearsome cocktails and perfect tatties, and Michael entertaining everyone with his country guitar and a huge smile.
In the last months of his life, while undergoing chemotherapy, Michael returned to painting, a rush of brightly coloured creativity that led to an exhibition at Linden Hall in Deal, Kent.
He is survived by Wendy and his children, and by his brother, Robin.
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