Hugh Newsam

Hugh Newsam


Hugh Newsam and BAL Ami 1958 Juke Box, happy and content at Film Farm 30th April 2022

I’m very sad to report that film editor, filmmaker, film educator, amateur thespian and my very good friend and long-time business partner Hugh Newsam died early this morning, Saturday 14th May. This has come as a bit of a shock, because we had a very happy and successful weekend together here only a fortnight ago when Huge (as he is generally known) seemed on excellent form and in good spirits.

However, early this morning he was stricken with massive internal pains; an ambulance was called to his Hull home which arrived in reasonable time and he was taken to A&E; he was apparently waiting in an anti-room and, while his appointed consultant was out of the room for “two or three minutes” his heart stopped, and in spite of several attempts to get it started, he was pronounced dead at the scene. Hugh has a bit of history here, for we joked during his recent visit about his heart stopping twice previously whilst in hospital, but on those occasions, fortunately they were quickly able to get him going again.

A particular disappointment about Hugh’s sudden departure is that he had already planned his Swan Song: in July this year he had been cast as Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a week of performances on the main stage of the Hull Truck Theatre. I’d already booked tickets. 

Hugh Newsam Editing

 Hugh was a highly skilled craftsman and a consummate film editor who applied his own realistic but imaginative vision to countless productions, taking them to another level -  including many of mine. He had a warm and very dry sense of humour; once asked what was his role in Malachite (our joint business venture), he replied “My role in Malachite is to put a dampener on the proceedings”. He will be greatly missed, by me and his many friends.

Patrick Reyntiens

With great regret we report the death of Patrick Reyntiens on 25th October 2021, just weeks away from his 96th birthday;  Patrick had a dream in which an angel told him he would live to 96, so he almost made it. We worked together on the Malachite film biography From Coventry to Cochem - The Art of Patrick Reyntiens (2011). Patrick really was the most remarkable character who managed to combine great scholarship, impeccable craftsmanship, profound insight and impish fun within a robust and down-to-earth personality which was a joy to work with. He has been described by the Daily Telegraph as the 'genius of 20th century stained glass’ - Patrick is totally irreplaceable.

His huge output of beautiful stained glass windows will live on to delight and inspire generations to come, who will be amazed, as we are, that so much was produced by one exceptional man.

After we completed the film, Libby Horner went on to compile and write the Catalogue Raisonee of Patrick’s work.

The DVD of our film is available here

Sir Clive Sinclair

Clive Sinclair, inventor and home computing pioneer sadly died on 16 September 2021. We worked with him in 1983 on Programme Ten of our Channel 4 series DESIGN MATTERS “Tomorrow’s Think Tank Today” which followed a Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) student competition which he sponsored; the programme was presented by Sir Norman Foster.

Ian Wilson


Ian Wilson BSC, a brilliant cameraman and a very old friend, sadly died of Covid-19 on 20th January 2021. Ian had been suffering from Parkinson’s for some years; a tragic end to a luminous career.

Ian first worked with Malachite in 1975, shooting Land of the Falcon, made for Falcon Inns and the British Tourist Authority, which went on to win the Golden Compass International Tourism Film Competition, competing against 29 films from 17 countries. There is a short extract here.

Ian & Charles got on so well that Ian was easily tempted to become Director of Photography on our long-running film profile of sculptor Fiore de Henriquez and her Tuscan hill village (now titled Magnum Opus): “I can’t give you any actual money, but I’ll pay for all the travelling expenses and as much red wine as you can drink”. This production took us to Tuscany several times, and also Rome, London and New York. You can watch the trailer here.

Ian was a joy to work with; a consummate professional with a wicked sense of humour and a delight in practical jokes and fireworks, although fortunately not usually at the same time. He loved food and wine and was both an excellent cook and a generous host, in his Primrose Hill flat or Dorset cottage.

In addition to working on Malachite’s small-scale productions, Ian had a string of major TV drama series and feature films to his name, including Quatermass (1979 d. Piers Haggard); The Flame Trees of Thika (1981 d. Roy Ward Baker); Wish You Were Here (1987 d. David Leland); Edward II (1991 d. Derek Jarman); Backbeat (1994 d. Iain Softley); Erik the Viking (1989 d. Terry Jones); Emma (1996 d. Douglas McGrath); The Crying Game (1992 d. Neil Jordan) and A Christmas Carol (1999 d. David Jones). 

As well as being a magician with light, Ian preferred to do his own operating, and both these skills are very much to the fore in Music in Progress, our film about jazz composer Mike Westbrook, made for The Arts Council.  Here is a clip:

Because of Parkinson’s, Ian has been slipping away from us for several years, but I’m left with so many happy memories and gratitude for his friendship and his brilliant work for Malachite over the years. Thank you Ian, you really were a Gentleman*

* Ian Wilson’s passport entry under Occupation:

Phil Rogers

Potter Phil Rogers, seen here relaxing after a successful wood-firing, very sadly died  on 22nd December 2020; he was 69. 

In 2006, CM flew out to Japan to film Phil Rogers working with Ken Matsuzaki on a major wood-fired kiln burn, which went on around the clock for seven days. We later filmed him doing his own wood-firing in his rural studio at Lower Cefnfaes near Rhayader, Wales (above). Phil was a delight to work with; a consummate craftsman, funny, articulate and a passionate advocate of craft pottery. 

You can watch Phil Rogers working in Japan and Wales on the Malachite DVD ‘A Passion for Pots’ available from Goldmarkart.

There is a Guardian obituary of Phil Rogers here.

Whilst in Japan, Phil was keen to learn about more than pottery:

David Bellamy

Botanist David Bellamy died on 11th December 2019; he was 86. Malachite made a short film with him for BBC1 in August 1994 on the past, present and future of the Fens. We spent what turned out to be a very long day with him; he arrived at Peterborough station on the first train down from his home in Co. Durham and we put him back on the last train home. For the entire day, he was overflowing with energy and enthusiasm and my crew and I were enchanted!

Ken Baynes

It is with great sadness that I must record the death of my very good friend and colleague Ken Baynes, who died on Saturday 5th October 2019; he was 85. Ken was Professor of Design Education, Exhibition Designer, Writer and also the mastermind of our three Design Matters TV series for Channel 4 in the 1980s. Ken was always incredibly enthusiastic and positive and was an absolute delight to work with. We made a total of 22 Design Matters programmes, which were broadcast from 1983 to 1987, receiving very positive reviews. He was a particular pleasure to work with as a filmmaker, because he was always very articulate, measured his words carefully, and thought and spoke most fluently. But for all his academic scholarship,  he always kept the world in perspective and, for example, could appreciate (as I do) that Dennis the Menace is a major cultural icon!

Ken Baynes on location in Newcastle upon Tyne during the filming of the Design Matters series for Channel 4 TV

You can read about Ken’s final book and the culmination of ten years’ work DESIGN: Models of Change here.

Jessye Norman

Opera singer and recitalist Jessye Norman died on 30 September 2019. In 1987, Malachite produced a film portrait of the dramatic soprano in conjunction with The Arts Council England and for BBC TV. The film, Jessye Norman: Singer  was produced by Cathy Palmer and directed by Bob Bentley.

From church spirituals in Augusta, Georgia as child, to Strauss at the Hamburg State Opera, Jessye Norman has never stopped signing. This portrait looks at her career in the mid-80s when London was her adopted home, travelling with her on performing and recording commitments. The most revealing scenes show her return to Howard University in Washington, DC, where she meets former classmates and shares her experiences with the new generation of students.

Norman links the ability to commit to a song rather than just perform it with her background in church singing. Yet the concentration on technique and shrewd management of her voice and career are part of her unique skillset, stretched by a determination to take on more difficult works. Importantly, she doesn't live in a cultural bubble, succinctly noting that "there are social responsibilities that come with simply being alive”.

The British Film Institute now holds the Arts Council England film collection and currently Jessye Norman: Singer is available to view free here. You can also read The Guardian obituary on Jessye Norman.

Lord Peter Melchett

We were very sad to lean of the death (31st August 2018) of Peter Melchett, a major mover and shaker in environmentalism and a lifelong campaigner in so many crucial issues geared towards making this planet a better, safer and more sustainable place. He was also an important contributor to our new film on photographer Fay Godwin, not only opening her Barbican Gallery retrospective exhibition but also giving us a substantial interview on Godwin’s life and work.

Peter Melchett at Courtyard Farm, Ringstead Norfolk (May 2013)

There is a Guardian obituary for Peter Melchett here.

Peter Melchett discusses Fay Godwin’s book Our Forbidden Land from the Malachite production Don’t Fence Me In

Peter Melchett and his partner Cassandra Wedd attended the launch screening of Don’t Fence Me In at the British Library on 11th January 2018, and afterwards wrote some kind words about the film ‘We loved the film - I really do congratulate you on a wonderful job. It captured Fay’s passion and her extraordinary range of work brilliantly. Needless to say, I was delighted that her strong views on public access, the countryside and the environment more generally were so well represented in the film, particularly given how much you had to cover!'

Goodbye Dennis Creffield

Sadly, Dennis Creffield died on the morning of 26th June 2018; he was 87. We made two films with Dennis; one was the ‘Narrative' episode of our series Looking into Paintings, made for Channel 4 in collaboration with The Open University, in which he was the featured artist. We later filmed him as he worked on his commission to draw all the cathedrals of England.

In this extract from Looking into Paintings - Narrative, Dennis Creffield vividly expresses his views on how best to appreciate paintings, by quietly staying in front of them, and letting them come to you.