Frank Gillard

Frank Gillard
Frank Gillard.png
Gillard speaking in the Netherlands in 1946
Francis George Gillard

(1908-12-01)1 December 1908
Died 20 October 1998(1998-10-20) (aged 89)
Education Wellington School, Somerset
Alma mater St Luke's College, Exeter
Years active 1936–1998
Employer BBC
Known for BBC Director of Radio, war correspondent
Title Director of radio
Predecessor None
Successor Ian Trethowan
Short interview of Frank Gillard during a conference in the Netherlands with radio Oranje in 1946

Francis George Gillard CBE (1 December 1908 – 20 October 1998) was a BBC executive, reporter and radio innovator.[1][2]

Early years

Gillard was born in Tiverton in Devon and attended Wellington School, Somerset. He gained a bachelor's degree from St Luke's College, Exeter. He then taught in a private school.


In 1936 he became a part-time broadcaster and in 1941 joined the BBC full-time. He became a war correspondent attached to Southern Command and witnessed the Dieppe Raid. In 1942 he went to North Africa to report on the campaign of the Eighth Army under Montgomery. He then reported on the Sicilian and Italian campaigns before returning to the UK ready for the D-day landings. He made memorable reports, often under fire, throughout this period, including eyewitness accounts of the Battle for Caen.[3][4]

When Howard Marshall, the Director of the War Reporting Unit, was recalled Gillard took his place. He followed the campaign to the end reporting on the meeting of US and Soviet troops in 1945.

Radio administrator

From 1945 to 1963 Gillard worked in the BBC's western region, becoming its director in 1955. In 1964 he was made Director of Radio with a seat on the BBC's Board of Management. He saw the need to fill the gap left by the demise of pirate radio for 'pop' music. To do this he reorganised the BBC's radio into four stations, Radios 1, 2, 3 & 4. He also discontinued Children's Hour and shut the BBC's Features Department.[5] In 1967 he also created the first local radio stations. Gillard retired in 1969.

Retirement and honours

Gillard remained active throughout his retirement helping both Australian and American public service broadcasters. He was one of several people whose input led to the creation of Masterpiece Theatre.[6]

He also initiated a living history project to capture a record of the earliest days of the BBC.

The BBC named their local radio awards the Frank Gillard Awards. He was awarded an OBE in 1946.[7] and a CBE in 1961.[8]


  1. ^ "BBC legend Frank Gillard dead". BBC News. 21 October 1998. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  2. ^ Leonard Miall (23 October 1998). "The Independent – Obituary: Frank Gillard". London. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  3. ^ BBC News
  4. ^ Hawkins, Desmond; Boyd, Donald, eds. (1946). BBC War Report: A Record of Dispatches Broadcast by the BBC's War Correspondents With the Allied Expeditionary Force, 6 June 1944 - 5 May 1945. London: Oxford University Press. pp. 142–143.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Hendy, David (2007). Life on Air: A History of Radio Four. Oxford University Press. pp. 38–39. ISBN 9780199248810.
  6. ^ "How should public TV follow up the Forsyte Saga success?". Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  7. ^ "To be Additional Officers of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire:— Francis George GILLARD, British Broadcasting Corporation". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). No. 37624. 21 June 1946. p. 1.
  8. ^ "To be Ordinary Commanders of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order: Francis George GILLARD, Esq., O.B.E., Controller, West Region, British Broadcasting Corporation". The London Gazette (1st supplement). No. 42370. 11 June 1961. p. 4153.

Other Languages