Tony Bastable: Biography in Broadcasting  

Tony Bastable benefits from nearly forty years experience at the sharp end(s) of the broadcast business. It was in the early 'sixties, while editing a local newspaper, that he spotted an ad for a tv news reporter at one of the UK ’s larger regional stations – Southern TV in Southampton

He applied – and didn’t get the job! They said he was too young! But the station did offer him the job of presenter on their children’s magazine programme. Within eighteen months he was working at the national network station, ATV, as presenter of, firstly, children's, then sports magazine shows. He also presented a large number of schools programmes at this time.  



In 1968, the newly formed Thames Television asked him to be one of the three original presenters of the mould-breaking magazine programme MAGPIE. He did this for four years before moving on to become the programme’s producer. (Interestingly, this show was so popular that he is still recognised in the street from time to time and asked “are you the man from Magpie?”  This is nearly thirty years after he last presented it!)  

Throughout this period he also wrote, produced and/or presented numerous one-off programmes on particular subjects, as well as presenting and commentating for a wide variety of outside broadcasts and sporting events. By way of example, he wrote and presented 1776, ITV’s celebration of the American bi-centenary, hosted the controversial PROBLEMS? late-night personal relations series, and wrote the commentaries for the award-winning ENGLISH GARDEN   historical series, presented by Sir John Geilgud.

 Subsequently he presented MONEY-GO-ROUND, the consumer protection series, which ran for nine years (and made him something of a minor expert in consumer law), and was co-host of DRIVE-IN, and its follow-on WHEELS, motoring shows which together ran for well over a decade. In MIND OVER MATTER, which he devised and presented with the late Dr. Kit Pedler, British television saw the first ever scientific investigation of paranormal phenomena. He had the unusual distinction of being both Editor and Presenter of Thames TV's DATABASE through its four series and performed the same functions for its Channel 4 sister programme FOR COMPUTER BUFFS. In COULD DO BETTER? he tackled educational controversies and in PEOPLE RULE, local politics. Additionally, he has worked in radio on and off over the years, usually as a panellist. His total tally of broadcast programmes in both media must now number in excess of four thousand.

 His expertise lies in an ability to master the facts of a story very quickly, then communicate those facts in a lucid, comprehensible and enthusiastic way to non-experts, whether acting in the capacity of writer, director or presenter, or in any combination of those roles. Most of his broadcast output has been transmitted live, and he has considerable experience of live presentation on the conference stage.

  This expertise has been particularly fruitful in recent years. Since he started out in independent production some years back, Tony has enjoyed on-going relationships with clients as diverse as The National Bus Company, the Royal Navy (for whom he acted as anchorman for their award-winning internal magazine programme VIEWPOINT RN for over ten years), the Department of Transport, the Institute of Advanced Motorists at the larger end, to individual commissions from other clients – the East Sussex National Golf Club, or the Royal Armoured Corps, for instance. He usually works closely with producer Greg Younger who has wide experience in theatre, feature films and television and who, for many years, produced promotional, training, safety films and commercials for clients such as British Caledonian Airways and the British Airports Authority amongst others.  

But his biggest client has been, and remains, The Ford Motor Company, particularly Ford of Europe Inc, for whom he has written and directed new vehicle launch and promotional films for many years.  

Like his broadcast output, his corporate or ‘non-broadcast’ productions must now run into thousands. He has directed in all styles, from drama and comedy to computer graphics, from motion-control camera through hand-held documentary. The only item not on his list is a dan ce sequence, but he’s still hoping!

 He describes himself as a very 'hands-on' operator, deeply involved in a production at all stages. It is by no means unusual for him to devise the programme, write it, direct it, provide the voice or presentation for it, and finally edit it himself to offline level. From the very beginning he realised that it was only by having an understanding of how every element actually works (even the bits he doesn't do - like the photography or sound recording) that the best results are achieved.

 He is also a published author, with two books for young people to his credit, has written the book and lyrics for a musical, the libretto for an oratorio, and numerous other items. He is currently working on a thriller set in a regional television station and developing the pilot for what he calls a 'nostalgia' series.

 In his spare time he likes books, old movies, especially musicals, cricket (he has recently qualified as an umpire), and messing about with his classic Morgan sports car.

Tel : 01342 834588  

Fax : 01342 834600