GAVIN TAYLOR — The North East-Born Director who drove 'The Tube'

GAVIN TAYLOR — The North East-Born Director who drove 'The Tube'

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Friday, 14th June 2013

Gavin Taylor died on the night of Wednesday June 12th 2013, at St Oswald's Hospice in Gosforth, with his family present — he had been fighting cancer for a while. He is survived by his wife and 2 daughters.

Gavin's funeral was on 21st June. Donations in his memory can be sent to St Oswald's Hospice at

Chris Phipps wrote:

Gavin Taylor ranks with David Mallett and Dick Carruthers as one of the few directors who could capture both the intimacy and the theatrical power of the world's greatest performers live on stage for broadcast and sell-through markets. Graduating from the NCB surveying unit, Gavin trained as assistant cameraman for the fledgling Tyne Tees Television, which had operated from a converted furniture storage house on City Road. He established a reputation for directing high-quality pop offerings like 'Alright Now' for the ITV network, and 'Saturday Shakeup' for the regions. By 1982 Gavin Taylor was helming Channel 4's anarchic music flagship programme 'The Tube', directing every major solo and band act live on a Friday night for 5 years, beginning with THE JAM on November 5 1982 and ending with DURAN DURAN in the final 1987 transmission. Whether it was PIL, TINA TURNER, CAMEO, or TWISTED SISTER [his personal all time favourite Tube performance], the unphased composure of Gavin and his crew concealed a rock-n-roll heart and a capacity to lense extraordinary performances in the chaos of Studio 5.

It was a 'Tube' commission to film U2 live at Red Rocks Colorado in1983 that put Taylor in the music history books.  The no-frills power performance on a rain-soaked night in June was rated by Rolling Stone magazine as one of their TOP 100 MOMENTS THAT CHANGED ROCK-N-ROLL HISTORY. Post-'Tube',  despite the mixed success of Tyne Tees TV's 'The Roxy', Gavin was the go-to choice for the world's top acts and broadcasters. His visual flair is epitomised in the definitive 'Queen Live at Wembley 86' W he enjoyed an especially creative relationship with QUEEN and their manager Jim Beach W and 'Eric Clapton and Friends', as well as gigs by everyone from DYLAN to DIRE STRAITS in the 80s and 90s.

Gavin Taylor 's talents also ranged beyond classic rock W his name is often the final credit on the Princes Trust, The Royal Variety Performance, Glastonbury, and many Montreux Jazz Festival performances, including the iconic duo of QUINCY JONES and MILES DAVIS.  Before 'Les Miserables ' was mooted as a movie, Taylor accepted the challenge of capturing the 10th Anniversary of the production in a special Concert version, as well as a tribute to Cameron Mackintosh in 1999.

Taylor pioneered a unique style where he dispensed with vision mixers and literally cut the images live himself, co-ordinating up to 18 cameras, most memorably for FREDDIE MERCURY and MONTSERRAT CABALLÉ, shot in Ibiza in October 1988, which would eventually transmit in 1992.  The zenith of his career was to film MICHAEL JACKSON and WHITNEY HOUSTON live in Brunei in what would be their near-final performances.  

Robin Sinton,Video Editor at ITV Tyne Tees from 1962-2000, wrote from his holiday in France:

I have just heard the sad news about Gavin's death.  I knew Gavin from the early days of TTV and I worked as a video editor with Gavin for over 15 years. Together we produced some of the best music programmes ever produced. Gavin could direct a live mix better than any other director that I worked with and always seemed to do this with consummate ease. Another of the old school gone, never to be replaced in these days of instant success and directors who don't want to spend the time learning the craft.

I only found out recently that Gavin was very ill through a contact at Gateshead College.  He had given lots of help and advice to their Video Production course. That again was just like Gavin.

I'm really quite upset at the news. We spent countless hours together in edit suites and somehow seemed to enjoy it.  Happy days. It's not the same with Avid.

Thinking of you Gavin.   ROBIN SINTON

[Further memories of Gavin will be gratefully received.  Email your tributes to the Webmaster.]


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