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My school life in Morden

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My father's experiences in Africa
Billy Williams Film-maker
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In 1928, before I was born, my... my father went on a big production to Africa and it was sponsored by General Motors, and it was the Gen... the Chevrolet expedition from Cape Town to Cairo and two... two trucks and a saloon car drove the 3000 miles from Cape Town to Cairo when there were hardly any roads, and they sometimes made roads, they forded rivers, they bumped the railway line and they travelled to Cairo, and there were only four or five people on this expedition. There was the leader — who was a radio operator — a press reporter and my father and an entomologist; I think there were five of them, and they got to Cairo and then there... from Cairo they drove all through Europe to finish up in Gothenburg in Sweden; of course it took months, and I suppose it was an early form of advertising but it was promotion on a big scale and I've... I’ve tried in recent years to find out what happened to that film but... I've even tried the American Library of Congress but I haven't been able to find any print, but it would be wonderful archive material. So he had this... he developed this great love for Africa and in fact he went back again in 1935 with a director called MA Weatherill to film Safari, which was a film about the big game in east Africa — Kenya and Tanganyika.

Billy Williams, London-born cinematographer Billy Williams gained his first two Oscar nominations for the acclaimed “Women in Love” and “On Golden Pond”. His third nomination, which was successful, was for the epic “Gandhi”. He was President of the British Society of Cinematographers, and was awarded the Camera Image Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Listeners: Neil Binney

Neil Binney began working as a 'clapper boy' in 1946 on spin-off films from steam radio such as "Dick Barton". Between 1948-1950 he served as a Royal Air Force photographer. From 1950 he was a Technicolor assistant technician working on films such as John Ford's "Mogambo" (photographed by Freddie Young), Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (Bob Burke), and Visconti's "Senso" (G.R. Aldo/B. Cracker). As a camera assistant he worked on "Mind Benders", "Billy Liar" and "This Sporting Life". Niel Binney became a camera operator in 1963 and worked with, among others, Jack Cardiff, Fred Tammes and Billy Williams. He was elected associate member of the British Society of Cinematographers in 1981 and his most recent credits include "A Fish Called Wanda" and "Fierce Creatures".

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008