Ray Johnson

An edited (for length) version of this obituary should, hopefully, appear in the March edition of Prospero

Ray in VT33
Ray Johnson, who died on January 3rd after a short illness, was a very honest and dedicated person who luckily enjoyed the BBC at its very best. He was always smiling, and never said an unkind word about anybody.
After National Service in the RAF he joined the BBC and, in November 1958, reported to Lime Grove and joined Telecine and Telerecording Maintenance. He progressed through the Training system and took great pride in passing his Grade C Exam in August 1961. At this time a re-organisation meant that Engineers also performed operational work, and Ray took to this like a duck to water.
He transferred to Shift 1 of the fairly new Videotape Recording Department where he spent most of his career. These were exciting times, videotape was only just over five years old and there was a lot to learn and many techniques to develop. These were the years of the World Cup and the Apollo moon landings, with the videotape area being the focus of the many programmes.
Ray became an important part of the VT ‘family’; his patience, good humour and dedication to doing things properly, whether it was a transmission or lining up a colour monitor, made him very popular. He had the knack of helping newcomers to understand the complexities of the technology, and was always willing to give good advice which was greatly appreciated, as many of the tributes to him have highlighted.
In 1983 he moved to BBC Worldwide as one of the two Duty Operations Managers running the new VT area. He helped to guide the new trainee Recording Operators and was very popular with the junior staff as well as solving operational problems and priorities.
When Enterprises secured a contract with the Services Sound & Vision Corporation, Ray, always a gentleman with a sympathetic ear for customers, got on well with the military personnel. He enjoyed a few visits to Germany and no doubt Enterprise’s good return on this investment was as a result of Ray’s efforts.
All the staff who were there owe a great debt to Ray as he did his utmost to facilitate their professional development – a task he had already undertaken by himself before he moved from Television Centre.
By 1989 the VT and Telecine part of Worldwide became JCA and Ray, once more, was in the forefront of managing the move. By the end of the next year, with his excellent reputation upheld he decided to devote time to his private life and resigned.
Ray had always been fascinated by everything, he was a member of BBC Skiing and Yacht Clubs, where he made many friends. He had learnt to fly and, in later years, followed with great pride the yachting exploits of his nephew, Mike Golding.
He was a regular at the Television Recording & Friends Christmas Lunch, and, to colleagues who attended the 2010 Lunch, he appeared the same smiling and cheerful Ray, but he was, by then, very ill.
Typically he kept it to himself, but also typically, in his own methodical way, made his own preparations – this article is written from his own notes.
Colleagues, friends and family still cannot conceive that Ray is no longer with us – we shall miss him
Chris Booth