Obituary: Roger Gage (1928-2018)

Obituary: Roger Gage (1928-2018)

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Roger Gage with the Emmy he won for the 1965 series Wyvern At War
Roger Gage with the Emmy he won for the 1965 series Wyvern At War

Roger was a presenter, producer and director with the BBC and the ITV companies, Anglia and Westward Television. He was a Fellow of the RTS, winner of the Society’s Pilgrim Award, and chair and honorary secretary of the Devon and Cornwall Centre.

Following a successful stage acting career, including a spell with the Old Vic company, Roger’s first TV job was hosting Anglia’s lunchtime show alongside the actor, Susan Hampshire.

However, he decided to move behind the camera and was selected for the BBC’s directors course. He was the first to put Dudley Moore on screen, directed Michael Bentine in the comedy series, It’s A Square World, and worked often with Spike Milligan.

He moved to Plymouth’s ITV station in 1962 so he could produce and direct a wider genre of programming. He commissioned a TV play, Time And Again, from ITN newscaster Gordon Honeycombe, which won an award at the International Film and TV Festival in New York.

His 1965 documentary series, Wyvern At War, which followed west-country soldiers from the Normandy landings through to VE Day, won an Emmy – a first for any ITV region.

Roger joined the RTS in 1962. He was chair of the Devon and Cornwall Centre from 1976-1980 and again from 1996-1999. He was the centre’s honorary secretary in the intervening years, from 1980 to 1996. Roger was also a prime mover in the creation of the RTS Student Awards and its first chairman in 1995.

I worked with Roger when I was head of news at Westward TV in Plymouth, and together we created and produced a new, regular politics show. It was recorded in a London studio, which meant a long journey, part of which was in Roger’s immense, old, luxurious and incredibly slow Mercedes. However, we never missed the London train.

He was a fine violinist (with six violins tucked under his bed in later years), a strong singer in concerts and choirs, and an ebullient and regular Widow Twankey in pantomime in Modbury, South Devon.

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Roger was a presenter, producer and director with the BBC and the ITV companies, Anglia and Westward Television. He was a Fellow of the RTS, winner of the Society’s Pilgrim Award, and chair and honorary secretary of the Devon and Cornwall Centre.