In Honour of LFS Honorary Associate, Colin Tucker

LFS announces Honorary Associate and ex-tutor Colin Tucker has passed away on 6 August 2018.

Gisli Snaer, Director of LFS: “On behalf of all of us here at LFS, it is with great sadness that I deliver today the heart-breaking news of the death of a colleague and friend, Colin Tucker. Colin made many great contributions to the School and his work will not soon be forgotten. He will be very missed.”

Colin worked at London Film School as a Term Two and Three tutor from 2000 until 2004 and mentored students for several years thereafter at the School. While at LFS, Colin amongst many other roles, mentored on the MA Screenwriting programme, led by the then Head of Screenwriting, Brian Dunnigan, giving invaluable one-to-one support on feature screenplays written by the student writers. Colin also mentored outside of LFS on a professional script development programme based in Berlin called ‘Sources’.

In Brian Dunnigan’s words: “Colin brought this practical experience as a filmmaker to the School, known for his warmth, modesty and gentle wit. As a professional script editor and producer, his notes to LFS students on their scripts were always insightful, inspiring and informed by his deep knowledge of production and film. His deep knowledge, love for cinema and extensive professional experience ensured he was an insightful presence for students.”

Many of the projects he mentored, went on to become successful first-time feature films. Shaped by his thirty years’ experience in BBC television first as script editor and then as a producer of TV series, mini-series and single dramas. More notably as Producer on ‘Poldark’ starring Robin Ellis, ‘Portrait of a Marriage’ starring Patricia Hodge, ‘Shadow of the Noose’ and ‘The Secret Agent’ starring Peter Capaldi.

Ben Gibson, former Director of LFS, states: “Colin was deeply committed to his students and modest in all things, Colin achieved a way of making his students understand that storytelling was only an ordinary skill already dormant in them and that it was the hard effort to be as ambitious as possible, with all appropriate modesty in their expectations, that would make them understand and own it. Here is his list of thoughts on film structure, as an example:

  1. Every script is unique, and the discovery of what it is that makes it unique is essential if the writer is to achieve something of value. 
  2. Work on the script must proceed from the inside to the surface. The audience perceives the surface but is moved, unknowingly, by the buried life of the film.
  3. Structure is simply a way of formalising the unique quality of a script in a manner satisfying for an audience.
  4. Every film has a structure that is particular to it, and that needs to be discovered. Films may proceed through rigid formality. They may proceed through haphazard accidents. They make contain both. There is no pre-ordained structure into which films must be fitted.
  5. The first draft is the antenna of the film; it senses and locates the basic humanity that lies inside the project. What is this film about? What is it saying? What is unique about it?
  6. Humanity, life – a good film needs little more than this as its basis.
  7. Structure is the means by which the essence of the film is delivered to best advantage. It is a technical consideration and as such should come late in the process.
  8. The process of script development is therefore not one of imposition but rather one of exploration and discovery and, finally, finally, of enhancement through the contemplation of structure.”

Alan Bernstein, former Head of Studies: “I’m sad to hear the news about Colin Tucker. He brought so much into LFS.  He had an acute sympathy for the students' work, seeing possibility where there only seemed confusion. He criticized without threat and always with an implicit promise that the work - and the student - could and would be that much better, and the promise was fulfilled. He was deeply serious, but with a precious lightness of touch.  He was hostile to rote or 'structure'; he knew, and let the student know, that each script was individual, that originality was not the problem, finding just the right expression was. He loved detail and knew it was the key. He brought with him an exceptionally valuable tradition, perhaps almost forgotten, that of BBC drama, 'quality', meaning compassion and accuracy. At work, he brought kindness and warmth.  He had what felt like an ease of living, a quality of friendship. But he also knew the difference between good and bad and was prepared to stand up and say it.” 

Terry Hopkins, ex Deputy Head of Camera and Visiting Lecturer: "Colin was always utterly honest with students, yet in a way that was, while insightful and to the point, so non-incriminating, so even-handed, that it took a bit of time to realise he was actually criticising their work - constructively of course. Colin didn’t wear his vast knowledge and wisdom on his sleeve, but he used them to great effect. He was such a good and gentle man."

Kemal Akhtar, LFS alumnus and Governor: “Colin was undoubtedly an inspirational academic with pinpoint, distilled opinions and wisdom for us, his students. The loss of Colin, that resonates most is the kindness, compassion, and consideration he showed to his students. He cared. Recently, Colin attended an end of term screening; and when asked how he was, he deflected this question and rather wanted to know how we and his ex-students were doing. He remained supportive and interested in the professional career paths of his pupils. Compassion, kindness, smiles, wisdom, optimism. One of the finest teachers and human beings, a thought echoed and held by the alumni. Colin Tucker, a loved teacher and man, whose passing leaves a gap in our hearts.”

Ben Gibson adds: “I loved him very dearly and learned so much from him. Thank you, Colin. Your effort and clear thinking helped to make the world clearer and more visible for us.”

Moshe Nitzani, IT Manager and Staff Governor: "Colin Tucker was the perfect gentleman. I know how much he was appreciated and loved by his students and colleagues. Always a calm and collected person with a very warm welcome everyone we met after he left the LFS. He will be very missed."

Colin Tucker.