John Bridcut is an award-winning film maker, with a string of varied productions to his name, ranging from politics to history to the arts – in particular, a number of psychological and musical portraits of British composers.
The past year has been the busiest in the history of Crux Productions, with five major programmes screened on the BBC. Most recent is Robert Hardman's investigation of George III's private papers in The Genius of the Mad King. In April 2016, Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute, with unique private footage of the royal family across most of The Queen's life, was shown on the evening of her 90th birthday, with a feature-length version the following Sunday. These programmes came only a few days after Europe: Them or Us, a two-parter presented by Nick Robinson to coincide with the EU referendum campaign.
Colin Davis In His Own Words, a tribute to the British conductor who died in April 2013 at the age of 85, was named Best Arts Documentary in the 2014 Grierson Awards, and also won the gold award for Performing Arts at the French documentary festival, FIPA.
Most of Bridcut's work is produced by his own company, Crux Productions, but he does occasionally freelance as a director and producer for other production companies. He broadcasts on Radio 3 from time to time, and has published two books on Benjamin Britten. He also gives lectures on music, broadcasting and current affairs.
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As part of the celebrations to mark the 90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen, BBC Worldwide has released a DVD in North America of Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute. This remarkable documentary, in which members of the Royal Family and The Queen herself watch ciné films from her private collection, was first seen on BBC One, when it reached an audience of 10 million viewers. Now it is being seen on many PBS stations in the USA, and is available on DVD in the USA and Canada from February 28th.
With unprecedented access to the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, Robert Hardman explores the private papers of King George III, and discovers a man of wide interests and phenomenal energy. He was an active sponsor of the arts as well as new developments in science. He was passionately involved in agriculture, astronomy, music and literature. He was immersed in the political battles of his day, burning the midnight oil as he wrote letters to his prime ministers. And he and Queen Charlotte had 15 children. All the time he was fastidious in copying and filing his correspondence. Now that his papers are available online, we can discover the full range of this remarkable monarch, whom history has remembered only as "the king who went mad". The Genius of The Mad King is on BBC i-Player, after its screening on BBC Two on Monday 30 January at 9pm, a Crux Production directed by John Bridcut.
To mark her 90th birthday, Her Majesty The Queen appeared in the documentary shown on BBC One, Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute, watching and discussing clips from her own home movie collection. The first broadcast of the programme, produced and directed by John Bridcut, achieved the highest audience of any BBC programme in the month of April (see side panel), and won plaudits from royal and TV correspondents.
The Daily Telegraph described it as "a triumph from start to finish", while The Times' critic wrote: "what a thoughtful present this compilation was from the BBC – except, of course, the celluloid was hers, and it was her gift to us, and it was perfect." (More press reviews are here.)
The film featured previously unseen footage from The Queen's ciné films, which was also watched by The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, The Princess Royal, The Duke of Kent and Lady Sarah Chatto, daughter of Princess Margaret. Also contributing were Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Mrs Margaret Rhodes, and Princess Alexandra, in what was her first ever interview.
Nick Robinson's widely-praised two-parter, Europe: Them or Us,
exploring the history of Britain's troubled relationship with Europe, achieved impressive audience figures on BBC Two. Part One: An Island Apart was watched by 2.4 million viewers, and Part Two: Voice of the People by 2.1 million.
A feature of the recent EU referendum campaign was the way in which both sides of the debate claimed the support of Winston Churchill. As Nick Robinson explained in these Crux Productions films produced by Nigel Gardner, his views on European Union (a term Churchill himself coined) were ambiguous – sometimes contradictory.