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  • Grant McKee RIP

    The Guardian obituary

    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-r...m-keenobituary

    Nick

  • #2
    Grant McKee, documentary maker whose films for ITV played a key role in the release of the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven
    Daily Telegraph obituary - 9th May, 2019



    McKee in the Yorkshire Television cutting room, 1986

    Grant McKee, who has died of renal cancer aged 67, was an ITV documentary producer and programme editor during what is now seen as a golden age for the channel’s factual output.

    Many of his films were made for the monthly First Tuesday strand. Three of the most powerful played a significant role in the release of the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven, who were wrongly convicted for IRA bombings on the British mainland.

    In 1974, four soldiers and a civilian were killed at two pubs in Guildford, and two died when a bomb was thrown into a Woolwich pub. The following year, three men and a woman were convicted for both bombings and, in 1976, seven others – Annie Maguire, the aunt of one of the alleged bombers, five members of her family and a friend – were found guilty of providing the bomb-making material.

    McKee’s first documentary on the subject was Aunt Annie’s Bomb Factory (1984). As he, the director Irene Cockcroft and the production team unravelled the evidence concerning the Maguire family and doubts about its reliability, they began to wonder whether the case against the Guildford Four was also flawed.

    This led to their subsequent First Tuesday films, The Guildford Time Bomb (1986), presenting no new evidence but questioning that already known, and A Case That Won’t Go Away (1987), directed by Tony Scull, casting doubt on the confession of one of the Guildford Four and interviewing a new alibi witness for another.

    For Channel 4, McKee produced Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1986), which featured the 1974 IRA Birmingham pub bombings – another miscarriage of justice – alongside those in Guildford and Woolwich.

    The Guildford Four had their convictions quashed in 1989 after it was accepted that evidence supplied by the police was suspect, and that the existence of an alibi and confessions to the crime by members of an IRA active service unit had been concealed by investigating officers.

    On release, the four headed to First Tuesday for their only interview together, in Guildford Four: Free to Speak (1989). The Maguire Seven’s convictions were similarly overturned two years later.

    Charles Dean Grant McKee was born at Torquay on August 18 1951 to Eric, a Royal Navy commander, and Betty (née Dean). Because of his father’s job, he was brought up in Hong Kong and Singapore before attending prep school in Paignton then Clifton College, Bristol, after which he read Law at Exeter College, Oxford.

    McKee entered journalism in 1974 as a reporter on the Goole Times in Yorkshire and switched to the Yorkshire Post two years later.

    He joined the Leeds-based ITV company Yorkshire Television in 1979 as a researcher, first on the regional news programme Calendar and David Frost’s Global Village (1979), then on documentaries presented by Jonathan Dimbleby such as The Bomb (1980) and The Eagle and the Bear (1981).

    Grant McKee at work

    In 1983, shortly after becoming a producer, McKee was appointed deputy editor of the newly launched First Tuesday. His own films for it as producer or director included Windscale: The Nuclear Laundry (1983), The Promised Land (1984), on the Middle East crisis, and The Unofficial Famine (1985), about Ethiopia.

    On becoming Yorkshire Television’s controller of documentaries and current affairs in 1988, he took over as editor of First Tuesday, overseeing films such as Four Hours in My Lai (1989), Cold Blood: The Massacre of East Timor (1992) and Katie and Eilish: Siamese Twins (1992).

    His executive role meant that he was also responsible for other networked Yorkshire Television programmes, serving as director on Barry Cockcroft’s later ITV films on Hannah Hauxwell, the solitary Dales farmer, and the Channel 4 series The World This Week (1989-93), which the company produced.

    When First Tuesday ended in 1993, McKee became Yorkshire Television’s director of programmes, but he resigned two years later after the newly appointed chief executive Bruce Gyngell forced him to cancel plans for a Peter Kosminsky-directed drama-documentary about child abuse that had already been commissioned.

    McKee on his fishing boat in Staithes

    Another ITV company, Meridian, later made it as No Child of Mine (1997).

    Meanwhile, McKee returned to documentary-making. As a freelance executive producer encouraging other film-makers, he brought to Channel 4 and the BBC more than 100 programmes.

    They ranged from Tina Goes Shopping (1999), with real-life residents from a Leeds housing estate acting out a drama inspired by their own lives, to Brink’s-Mat: The Greatest Heist (2003), Michael Jackson and the Boy He Paid Off (2004), Last Days of the Raj (2007), Bernard Manning from Beyond the Grave (2007) and Indian Hill Railways (2010).

    With Ros Franey, who worked as researcher, then co-producer, on the Guildford Four documentaries, McKee wrote the 1988 book Time Bomb: Irish Bombers, English Justice and the Guildford Four.

    His love of the Yorkshire fishing village of Staithes also led him to write Stronger Than the Storm (2013), a history of the local RNLI lifeboat station, and to help to found the Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage in 2012.

    In 1991, McKee married Jill Turton, a Yorkshire Television researcher and producer. She and their daughter survive him.

    Grant McKee, born August 18 1951, died April 7 2019
    Last edited by Maurice; 12th May 2019, 06:57 AM.

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