Peter Grimsdale

Bedales 1970-1973


Lawrence 1


TV Producer


Islington    See


network, 1997 Detailed Schedule BRW Media-41,

Jason Hartcup Mel Davis, Gabriel Irwin, Nick Knowles, Jane Mayer


A week after leaving 6iii I joined the 12 Grade of East Brunswick High School, New Jersey. I was so anxious about leaving Bedales - which I absolutely loved - that I promised myself whatever I did next would be total emersion. And so it was, slipping into the lifestyle of teenage middle America. Sussex University was a letdown for the most part - being surrounded by students away from home for the first time, being educated in the presence of the opposite sex for the first time. The compensations were seeing locals Nick Paul and Patrick McVeigh and in my final year a very happy flat with G. Irwin and Caroline Stacey (Kate Blacker's cousin).

Back in America which had become a second home, I did a year at Georgetown University in Washington DC and later got my break into journalism via a left leaning radio network there called Pacifica which Paul Ensor introduced me to (the OB network in action). Got into the BBC as a trainee on my fifth attempt and oscillated between oral history programmes and the more tabloid likes of Crimewatch, interspersed with capers such as secret filming in still-Stalinist Albania.

In 1980 I also moved into a huge shared house in Leytonstone which became at various times the home of Gabriel, Jason, Simon Gunn, Paul Ensor (sorry,anyone I missed off). Missed the groupy existence when I got my own flat in Hackney - Jason's mum turned up one evening with the daughter of a friend - Stephanie Calman. By the end of the eighties my career felt like it had plateaued. So I moved to BBC Bristol to do a faboulous quirky series called Small Objects of Desire followed by a run of quirky design/transport/war series. As well as a very rich time career-wise a series of life-changing incidents followed.

I persuaded Stephanie to marry me and we took a trip to Australia to visit Jason and his wife Vic. There we ad a spectacular car crash, which I was responsible for and which seriously injured every body but me. But for the love and support of Stephanie, Jason and Vic I would never have been able to climb out of this incident, and tested us all mentally as well as physically... which made the discovery that I had a kidney cancer a couple of years later a comparative doddle. By now I was at Channel Four having the career time of my life doing a range of wacky programmes, living with Stephanie in Islington, and feeling that I'd got more than my fare share of happiness as if that wasn't enough, Lawrence was born last August and all the usual cliches apply and his sibling due in November will be no more than fourteen months younger (all advice gratefully received!).

This seems to be a rather perfunctory rundown on my life since Bedales. No question that the friendships I made there, many of which are as strong or stronger today are as important to me as my family and I feel an enormous sense of happiness and gratitude for having had the chance to go there. Going back the other weekend was incredibly moving - and the place and the people will always be in my head.