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Peter Dimmock CVO OBE
6th December 1920 - 20th November 2015
On Wednesday, 16th March, 2016 at 11:30am a service of celebration of the life and work of Peter Dimmock was held at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street.
The Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce delivered the bidding:-
We are gathered to celebrate the life of a man who was a giant among broadcasters. His contribution to the world of broadcasting was pioneering, unique, and inspirational. But Peter was also an exceptional human being: a man of immense charm, generosity of spirit, and with a great sense of fun. As we remember him with thanksgiving today, we give thanks for all that he has meant to us, and for all that he was.
We begin with an opening prayer: Let us pray
Almighty God, whose reign extends far beyond the limits of this life:
In the mystery of what lies beyond our sight we pray that your love may complete its work in Peter, and in all those whose days on earth are done.
Grant that we who serve you now in this world may at last share with him the glories of your heavenly kingdom;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sir Paul Fox CBE
Lord Hall, BBC Director General read 1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child; I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
David Dimbleby read Covering the Coronation, 1953 by Extract from Peter's BBC Oral History interview
First of all, there seemed to be some suggestion that the Coronation couldn’t be televised at all – I mean the service in Westminster Abbey which was clearly the thing everybody wanted to see. Churchill was against it, several of the government were against it, the Queen I don’t think had been asked at that stage – she was keeping out of it – but we got up to every trick in the book. Eventually, Churchill , having said ‘Well as long as they can’t see more than I can see from my seat, I suppose we’ll have to let ‘em in’, said we could come in to the West of the choir screen, just for the processions in and the processions out.
Well, I thought that was a lot of nonsense and so did Seymour de Lotbiniere, who was nominally Head of Radio and Television at that time, though I was really running TV for him and he’d asked me to produce the service from the Abbey. I was very much concerned with the overall planning because we had the whole of the route to cover – with every piece of equipment brought in from the Regions - so it was a pretty mammoth operation. But the most important thing was to get into the Abbey…
Well, there was a fellow called George Campey, who was working for the Evening Standard. I always remember I used to run out with pennies for the coin box at Alexandra Palace, whenever we got another refusal from the government, and ring George up and say ‘Now George, this is a tip – you don’t know where the source is – but come on, help us!’. Then next day out would come the banner headline: ‘Government still opposing BBC TV – Absolute Scandal!’ So we were using every kind of pressure unashamedly because we knew we were right, we knew the public not only wanted to see it, but deserved to see it!
Well, eventually we persuaded Bernard Norfolk and Richard Colville, who was the Queen’s Press Secretary at that time, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, that we could have a trial with a camera the altar side of the choir screen, because it was a rule that no camera could be closer than 30 feet to the Queen. That was a silly rule because they didn’t understand lenses, but that’s another story. Anyway, we put this camera there, and of course what I did was I got some girl – I can’t remember who she was – to walk as if she were the Queen, and I put in a 2-inch lens, which was the widest lens you could have on a TV camera. So of course she looked miles away! Of course when the Coronation came, I knew I was going to use a 12-inch lens that would give the best close-up of the Queen that there’d ever been, but they didn’t. So after a lot of muttering, they said ‘Very well, I suppose you can come.’
Covering the Coronation was an enormous responsibility, but we had a terrific team spirit in the Outside Broadcasts Unit. Dimbleby was supreme – I mean the amount of homework he did was enormous, and it showed in the final product. However, I always said, it was the team operation, and I think that God was on our side that day because none of the equipment broke down, and that was an absolute miracle!
Sir David Attenborough CVO CBE read Intimations Of Immortality (extract) by William Wordsworth
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
Lucy Petrie, Peter's stepdaughter read Remembering by David Harkins
Do not shed tears when I have gone but smile instead because I have lived.
Do not shut your eyes and pray to God that I'll come back but open your eyes and see all that I have left behind.
I know your heart will be empty because you cannot see me but still I want you to be full of the love we shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live only for yesterday or you can be happy for tomorrow because of what happened between us yesterday.
You can remember me and grieve that I have gone or you can cherish my memory and let it live on.
You can cry and lose yourself, become distraught and turn your back on the world or you can do what I want - smile, wipe away the tears, learn to love again and go on.
The choir & organist of St Bride's performed the following anthems and songs:-
God be in my head - Walford Davies
Lux aeterna - Elgar
How lovely are thy dwellings - Brahms
Zadok the Priest - Handel
My Way - François/Anka (performed by Timothy Becker, Peter's godson, and Rosie Aldridge, Peter's granddaughter with the Choir of St Bride's)
I Vow To Thee, My Country
Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind
Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory Of The Coming Of The Lord