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  • Chris Phipps RIP

    Producer of music show the Tube and Tyneside historian Chris Phipps dies

    Chris Phipps worked as a producer on 80s music show The Tube before penning a number of books about film and music
    By Sophie Doughty
    • Newcastle Chronicle 25 AUG 2019
    • Tributes have today been paid to film and music historian Chris Phipps.

    The Birmingham-born producer, author and historian, who settled on Tyneside, is understood to have passed away on Friday.

    Chris worked as a producer on 80s underground music show, The Tube, and during his long career in the entertainment industry he earned a reputation as something of an expert on film, music and popular culture.

    Chris penned a number of books about film and music, many focusing on the North East.

    He was part of the team behind the the Whitley Bay Film Festival, currently running until September 1, and hosted a big name interview at the event every year.


    Chris Phipps in Newcastle

    Chris was due to speak at the Jam Jar Cinema, in Whitley Bay, tonight.

    Festival organisers posted news of his death on their website.

    They said: "We are struggling to take in the news that our good friend and mentor Chris Phipps has passed away. Please bear with us.

    "There are no words to express the deep sadness we are feeling. Much love to his family at this very sad time."

    Chris' colourful career saw him work as a reporter for BBC Birmingham in the 1970s, as well as co-presenter of BBC Midland TV’s Look! Hear! with well-known singer and actress, Toyah Willcox.

    But the cornerstone of his reputation was laid when he was hired by Channel 4 in 1982 for its controversial music show The Tube presented by Jools Holland and Paula Yates.

    During which he was responsible for launching the careers of unsigned talent including Fine Young Cannibals, Twisted Sister, the revival of Tina Turner.

    After The Tube’s five year run, Chris became an award-winning film and documentary maker for regional and network television, covering subjects from Bob Marley to the Capital Punishment debate.

    He produced ground-breaking series on the regional routes of contemporary music in the UK.

    Tributes to Chris have been pouring in from some of the biggest names in the North East entertainment industry, friends, and former colleagues.

    PR consultant Kate Slater worked with Chris at Zenith Productions, which produced Byker Grove, in the early 1990s when she was a television researcher.

    She said: "He was just such a lovely guy to work with. He was so knowledgeable about music and film and he told such a good tale. He was a very funny raconteur and such a lovely, warm-hearted, generous person to work with."

    Ray Laidlaw, of Geordie rock band Lindisfarne, tweeted: "Chris Phipps was a good friend. I never ceased to marvel at his enthusiasm, passion and depth of knowledge for music and film. I learnt a lot from Chris and I'll miss him a lot."


    Chris Phipps with and Bryan Ferry (Image: Chris Phipps)

    Gary James, presenter on The Tube, also posted a tribute.

    He said: "Very sad to hear that my great pal and Tube music researcher Chris Phipps passed away on Friday. He was a joy to work with and had an amazing life totally enveloped with the legends of rock & pop My heart goes out to Diane and all his family. Rock On Phippsy."

    Last year Chris released a new book, Namedroppers, about his five decades working in showbiz and the superstars he met along the way.

    He said at the time: "I’ve worked with an extraordinary roll call of famous names, but I also wanted to give the reader a glimpse behind the camera and microphone - the buzz, the chaos and the fragility of fame.
    “Importantly, it’s also a homage to my local broadcasting roots - you only get to film Tina Turner in front of thousands when you’ve recorded a stand-up Black Country comedian in Tipton!”

    During his career Chris rubbed shoulders with a host of stars including Madonna, Miles Davis, David Bowie, Little Richard, Ozzy Osbourne, Bryan Ferry, Malcolm Maclaren, Sting, Elton John and Jane Fonda.

    He is survived by his wife Diane and daughter Miriam.
    Last edited by Maurice; 27th August 2019, 10:00 PM.
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