Simon Channing Williams


Simon Channing Williams, who sadly died over Easter, will be hugely missed by the British film community. He was perhaps best known as Mike Leigh’s producer, which meant persuading financiers to invest in films without a script, story or cast attached; and if you can do that, you can do anything. He was also the producer of The Constant Gardener, the first film of a John le Carre book that le Carre himself ever approved of, including some of his own adaptations. But more than that, Channing Williams, as a young BBC producer, helped to nurture the careers of a generation of world-class British directors, including Stephen Frears, Michael Apted and Mike Newell. Producers often get a bad press, but Channing Williams, by all accounts, represented the best of the craft: as Mike Leigh said today,¬†“He was a natural-born producer: a great leader, always an enabler, a protector; never a dictator or an interferer. Infinitely generous, his life was all about doing things for people, and bringing out the best in everybody. He was the ultimate fixer, and a phenomenal organiser. He relished the impossible challenge, and loved the cut-and-thrust of negotiations, at which he was a genius.”


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