23 Jun 2008
The Wilson Initiative 
Several hundred invited guests were treated to a largely improvised lecture by TV producer Russell T Davies on Friday night at the inaugural Royal Television Society North West Anthony H Wilson Wilson Lecture.

Introduced by RTSNW chair Helen Bullough, Swansea-born Davies spoke passionately about the welcome, freedom of expression, space and support given to him by the Mancunian television fraternity, amongst whom he developed his craft during the eighties and nineties, contrasting this experience with both London and his current base of Cardiff.

The talk was interspersed with clips of a rugby-shirted and braced AHW introducing the Granada arts programme The Other Side Of Midnight as well as other Manchester-produced dramas Queer As Folk, Bob & Rose and The Second Coming.

Describing AHW as a "maverick that popped up on TV...a northern light...an ambassador for the region", Davies confessed that AHW would be "spinning in his grave" to know that the lecture was being given by "a Welshman whose own musical taste stopped with Baccara and 'Yes Sir, I Can Boogie'".

He ended with a stark warning on the "devastating" effect of financial cutbacks on BBC childrens television as the whole production is moved to Manchester, and called on the - mainly television - audience to establish an 'Anthony H Wilson initiative': "Tell London to piss off! Demand that one in every ten meetings with Londoners should happen in Manchester and show them what an extraordinary place this is...and how lucky you are!".

Many thanks to Graham Allister at BBC NW for the invitation.


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A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

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