The sudden death in 2008 of former ITV Tyne Tees Director Tony Kysh shocked his many friends and former colleagues. Many attended a memorial service which was held at St George’s Church in Newcastle. Tony was with Tyne Tees for more than 30 years — his productions included the Emmy award-winning Supergran. He was also an accomplished director of documentaries and a range of studio productions. More recently he worked on the BBC Children’s series Byker Grove. Throughout his career, he was generous with support and advice for young people with aspirations for drama, whether on stage or screen. Tributes to Tony have been coming in from his friends... here’s a selection:
From Lesley Oakden:
I was very fortunate to become Tony's PA at Tyne Tees in 1977. We made some fantastic programmes like What Fettle, and I learnt a great from him. Not only was he a really creative director, but he was also endlessly kind and thoughtful. We became close friends. Many years later, when I was a producer making children's programmes, we worked together again. He was always a joy to work with — patient, hard-working, wonderful with children, crew and presenters.
More recently we both worked at Sunderland University, assessing student final productions. His comments were wise, astute and encouraging. I thought to myself "How fortunate you are to get someone like Tony to view your work."
We had lunch together last May and congratulated each other on how young we both looked and felt! He loved 'the TV business' but like many others of his experience and generation I think he missed 'the good old days'. His legacy, though, remains... and his memory too, of a truly 'gentle gentleman'.
From Graeme Thompson:
Tony had the distinction of being a great director and the loveliest of men. The history of broadcasting in the North will record his major contribution to children's drama, with series such as Supergran, The Famous Five and Byker Grove.
And he has left an indelible mark on ITV Tyne Tees, which he first joined in 1961. Those of us who worked with him will not forget his generosity of spirit — or the fragrant waft of his favourite cologne.
Olwyn Hocking wrote:
Memories of Tony are inevitably linked with the warmth of his enthusiasm, both for his own productions and those of colleagues. Despite the pressures of the TV world he was invariably sunny, and simply one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.
Our paths crossed more frequently in recent years — he took to walking following a car accident and (in his typical way) saw this as a fortunate turn of events, rather than dwelling on disadvantages and bad luck. He’ll be hugely missed by his many friends.
Lee Wright (Shirley Penders) sent these words from Arizona:
I was very sorry to read about Tony's passing, I worked with him at Tyne Tees when I was a Production Assistant, I was Shirley Penders back then, we used to hang out together, my friend Diane had a crush on him. Really nice guy. It was hard to read [this page]. I live in Arizona, US and haven't been back to UK for a long time!
Further tributes to Tony will be welcomed — email them to the Webmaster
The Journal carried a tribute to Tony — you can read it here.