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Luke Newell is an Illustrator, and this is his blog.

Monday, May 12, 2014


In 1947 my paternal Grandfather(above left), an east-end butcher, appeared (twice) in the early episodes of the first UK TV cookery show ("Cookery", with Philip Harben). We know this because of receipts below (poor photography, detailed transcript beneath).
My Grandfather died quite some time before I was born, so I never met him. Even his own children were too young to remember the broadcast, or, like my Dad, were yet to be born. 
All I know of him are (great) stories, photos, and some snippets of silent Super-8. I have been told that I bear a more than passing resemblance to him, in physical build, but also, tantalisingly, in character and personality (a proclivity toward the goofy and the theatrical, all told). I would love to get my hands on a snippet from either of these appearances of him moving, talking. It would be mind blowing.

I have made a request to the BBC archives... alas, their archivist says the material does not exist in their vaults. I imagine my only hope of finding the material at all (if it did ever exist) is through contemporary hobbyists / enthusiasts!

BBC Ref: 03/PC/DEK
Invoice date: 17/12/1946
Broadcast date / time: 20/12/1946 (21:00 - 22:00)
Title: "Turkey - with decorations"
Location: Alexandra Palace
Producer: Mrs. Adams
Fee: £5. 0s. 0d."to assist Philip Harben and give advice"
Details: Robert Newell, Central Markets, Smithfield EC1
Department(?): Television (talks)
Signed: Holland Bennett

BBC Ref: 03/PC/DEK
Invoice date: 06/11/1947
Broadcast date / time: 24/10/1947 (20:30 - 20:50)
Title: "Cookery"
Location: Alexandra Palace
Producer: Mr A. Miller-Jones
Fee: £5. 5s. 0d. "to assist Philip Harben and give advice"
Details: George Newell, Central Markets, Smithfield EC1
Department(?): Television (talks)
Signed: Holland Bennett

The eagle-eyed will notice that he invoices under a different first name for each, Robert, then George. This is a hint to his character, and the stories; At Smithfield market he was known as George, his birth certificate says Harry (my middle name) but everyone who knew him, my Grandmother included called him Lash. God knows who Robert was. I think perhaps, he may have been wary of the taxman.

Nearly fifteen years ago I did tell some of Grandad's WWII story, in animation, as part of my third year student film. Even then, this TV appearance formed the end of the tale. The year 2001 was not (quite) pre-internet, but certainly pre-youtube etc etc... my hope now is that it will be possible to unearth these episodes, in some form?
Help me out, internet.

Here's Mr Harben in living colour:

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