Robin Nash: Top BBC TV producer with Norfolk roots

One of the most influential BBC post-war television producers, Robin Nash, who has died aged 84, started his working life on the stage in his native Norwich.

In a 50-year career, he produced Top Of The Pops, The Two Ronnies, Basil Brush and the comedy, Bread, working with author Carla Lane. He was the only BBC executive, who held both posts as head of variety until 1981 and head of comedy until 1987.

Born in Norwich on March 10, 1927, Robert Henry Douglas Drane, adopted his mother's maiden name, Nash, because of the family's longstanding theatrical connections.

He spent his boyhood in Cromer, where his mother, Siebel Drane was an amateur at Cromer Pier and also Sheringham.

He joined Norfolk County Council's education department but really wanted a stage career. He worked with Nugent Monck at the Maddermarket Theatre and also the Conesford Players before spending 12 years as an actor and stage manager on tour and in the West End. He went to India in 1945 and spent nine months entertaining the troops.


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For four years, he was stage manager of the touring company of the record-breaking Oklahoma returning on his 27th birthday to Norwich for the Theatre Royal production in 1954. He joined the BBC as a television stage manager in 1955 at Alexandra Palace, later becoming director and producer.

His production career included 38 episodes of Dixon of Dock Green, but his first hit series was the BBC comedy, Marriage Lines. He also made the first studio programme made and shown in colour on BBC2, the review, Beyond the Fringe. He also produced Basil Brush, Terry & June, Bread and The Two Ronnies. He took over Top of the Pops in 1974, persuading Bing Crosby to appear. His other screen credits included Crackerjack, Meet the Wife, the Generation Game and Blankety Blank.

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After retiring from the BBC aged 60, he contained working as a freelance producing Goodnight Sweetheart until 1999 with Nicholas Lyndhurst.

A funeral has taken place.

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