Obituary: Tony Pilgrim MBE 1923-2015

Obituary: Tony Pilgrim MBE 1923-2015

By George Pagan,
Wednesday, 11th February 2015
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Obituary of Tony Pilgrim MBE 1923-2015 by George Pagan

Tony Pilgrim with Her Majesty the Queen in 1987Tony Pilgrim with Her Majesty the Queen in 1987

Tony Pilgrim, an important figure in the RTS's evolution, has died. He was 91.

In 1960, Tony helped to found the Midlands Centre of the Television Society, of which he became Chairman in 1964.

This led to a seat on the Council, which, in turn, led to his Chairmanship of the Society in 1969.

The Society had been granted "Royal" status in 1966. During his term he opened the very first RTS Cambridge Convention, in 1970.

Meanwhile, at the BBC, in charge of engineering services, he worked closely with the architect and other specialists in the planning, building and installation of all technical services at Pebble Mill. This was the brand-new, state-of-the-art radio and television headquarters for the Midlands.

He led the team moving from mono TV to colour, mono radio to stereo and from valves to transistors. This represented a major culture change.Read more television magazine

Tony organised major awards events, including the RTS Television Journalism Awards, which he founded in 1978. Other awards recognised the different crafts in television production.

In 1987, the RTS celebrated its Diamond Jubilee. Tony organised the reception at Banqueting House in Whitehall attended by Her Majesty The Queen. 

After retiring from the BBC in 1983, he devoted his time to the further development of the RTS.

Moving the Society from its strong engineering base meant changing the membership of Council. He started the co-option of additional members from other disciplines so that the Council reflected the changes in membership.

Tony was forward-looking by nature, seeking to improve and develop everything in which he was involved. This brought recognition in many ways. He was awarded the RTS Gold Medal in 1987.

In 1992, Tony was appointed MBE for services to the television industry.

Tony is survived by Ysanne, after a marriage of 63 happy years. He will be remembered with affection by friends and colleagues throughout the industry.