Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Why Olive Dong?

In 1976, with full beard and long hair, looking like a Gonk, I was a BBC delegate at the Prix Jeunesse TV Festival held at Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich, Germany as I had directed the Children's Programme "Vision On" which was entered for the Best Kid's Programme at this International Festival. I arrived slightly later than the other delegates having driven from Esbjerg in Denmark to Munich in one go overnight. At the reception desk they greeted a rather scruffy tramp like individual, me, and gave me my identity badge, which was a brooch type and stated "Fraulein Olive Dong - BBC". It was plainly obvious to the receptionist that I was anything but a woman, but I was still allowed in. As I was an extra 'unofficial' delegate, not main stream enough in the BBC, my name had been scribbled down on a piece of paper and given to the organisers: it is quite simple to turn a 'C' into an 'O' and an 'i' into an 'n'. Clive Doig had become Olive Dong, for ever more as my pseudonym. The next morning full of Germanic humour, the Daily Festival News-sheet had a headline "BBC Delegate mistaken for a woman" with a snap of the gonk. My head of department was not too pleased about this, the BBC was very straight and proper, and I certainly was not. "Vision On" won the Prix Jeunesse that year. I had directed it for six years since it had won BAFTA for best specialised series, up against and beating "The Ascent of Man" Dr Bronowski's seminal work.
One can view all "The Ascent of Man" on Youtube and on DVD, but there are no copies of "Vision On" available anywhere. Baaah!

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