Michael Gill

George Michael Gill (10 December 1923 – 20 October 2005) was an English television producer and television director responsible for creating documentaries for the BBC.

Michael Gill
Born(1923-12-10)10 December 1923
Winchester, Hampshire, UK
Died(2005-10-20)20 October 2005 (aged 81)
Kensington, London, England, UK
OccupationWriter, Director, Producer
Years active1959-1998
SpouseYvonne Gilan (1951-1978) (divorced) (2 children)
Georgina Denison (1978-2005) (his death) (1 child)


Gill was born in Winchester, Hampshire but was brought up in Canterbury. He contracted tuberculosis as a child which disrupted his education severely; he spent four years in a spinal chair. He served in the RAF in Intelligence during the war. One of his most memorable debriefings was interrogating a German who had survived a 20,000 feet (6,100 m) fall over the Netherlands without his parachute having opened. His memoir of the war years, Going into War, was published in 2005.[1]

After the war he studied philosophy and psychology at the University of Edinburgh. After a period as a sub-editor and arts reviewer on The Scotsman, he joined the BBC in 1954. He worked first on radio but soon moved to television.

He is chiefly remembered for Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark (1969) (director and co-producer) and Alistair Cooke's America (1973) (director and producer). Although the idea for Civilisation and its presenter, Kenneth Clark, were given to Gill, 'America', and the choice of presenter were entirely Gill's idea. In total Gill made more than 150 films for television and cinema, and won more than 40 major international awards.

In 1951 he married the actress Yvonne Gilan (1931–2018), best remembered for her portrayal of Mrs Peignoir in Fawlty Towers. The couple went on to have two sons. The marriage was dissolved, and he remarried in 1978 to Georgina Denison, with whom he had a daughter, Chloe. He died in London from Alzheimer's disease.[2]

One son from the first marriage was the writer, journalist and newspaper columnist A. A. Gill (1954–2016).


  1. ^ Gill, Michael (2005), Going into War, Sutton
  2. ^ "Obituary: Michael Gill". The Independent. 24 October 2005. Retrieved 1 September 2020.

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