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                                         DAF HOBSON
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film, they gave me a Bolex and 100 feet of black & white stock and told me to go out and make a film whose subject would be... The Meeting.
“I was no good at all at making up stories, so what I did was I took one of the lads from the industrial design studio and one of the girls from interior design and simply filmed them walking through the city. They eventually met on a park bench, exchanged a look and left.”
The girl, Dorothy, would eventually become Hobson’s wife. However, he says sadly, he hasn’t still got the film.
After working again with Clough as well as a couple of other directors who’d got local script grants, Hobson went in-house for the first time with a busy facilities’ house in nearby Shipley which supplied the BBC and Granada with freelance technicians and equipment.
And in one of those serendipitous moments, a day working on pick-ups
for a just-completed production on architecture, resulted in Hobson land- ing a further year’s worth of work under the supervision of legendary World In Action cameraman, George Jesse Turner.
“I suppose he must have taken a shine to me because he asked me to come back and work with him on World In Action. That really set me up in the TV business,” he notes. But, just as the prospect of a contract with Granada then beckoned, he decided instead to join up with Clough yet again who was starting a new film pro- duction company in Leeds.
“I was brought in as Mr Techno, lured by the glitzy thought of being in movies which is what these guys
were talking about. But we never actually did it,” adds Hobson citing, more in sorrow than anger, a series of subsequent shortcomings. However the company also provid- ed crew to the BBC and ITV for pro- grammes spanning Panorama to World Of Sport.
“To be honest, I hated it. I didn’t really want to be a cameraman. I did- n’t want to look through the viewfind- er, to have to make the decisions. I just wanted to be an assistant, load- ing magazines at high speed and going round the world. But as usually happens, progress grips us all sooner or later and I had to settle into being a cameraman.”
In fact, it wouldn’t be too long before he started to feel truly set- tled thanks, ironically, to a new job back firmly in his Welsh roots. Hobson had been raised from the age of 18 months in Caernavon
where his father was an inspirational English teacher. And it was one of his ex-sixth formers, now part of the new S4C set-up, who inquired whether Hobson Jr was still in the TV business and a Welsh language speaker to boot.
Almost overnight, he found him- self on the new team with first a year then a second year almost fully booked ahead, and beginning to brush up again on a language which had become extremely rusty.
“The shock of the new in S4C cre- ated not only opportunities for me but for a whole lot of people. I was sud- denly straight into drama from docu- mentary. With money I borrowed from my parents, I bought a second hand
camera and an estate car and set up my own business. I just shot and shot using technicians mostly imported from England.
“By the end of the first year I was able to buy all new equipment and eventually I became fluent in Welsh again. I now try and speak it every day at home. It was a new, mercurial and exciting time when programmes were being made by enthusiastic pro- ducers who had never had the oppor- tunity before to express themselves other than through the institutions that did limited Welsh language stuff for very small slots.
“I’ve got to look back and say that I was an extremely lucky person to have enjoyed the gift of such energy and be part of creating an industry which already existed over the border but not before in the Welsh language. It grew in its own flavour and complex- ionandIhavetosaywedid,whatI
believe was a lot of wonderful and popular stuff.”
Hobson was still firmly in his S4C phase when he was first introduced to film-maker Michael Winterbottom who began the gradual process of drawing him into English-language television. First, there were a couple of one-off dramas – Strangers and Under The Sun – then, even more significantly, the award-winning Dublin-based BBC series Family, which, he agrees, “put me on the map.”
Family was a “tough shoot” and the final transition “from the warm comfort of S4C, and the relationships that we enjoyed for that 12 years, to English television hit me very hard. It was a much colder place.”
Winterbottom was also responsi- ble for giving Hobson his film break a decade ago on Welcome To Sarajevo: “It was an altogether different kind of transition into features; they’re a dif- ferent complexion altogether. The only reason I did it was that it was Michael, and I knew where I was with him.”
Despite the offers, it would take another six years before he’d be lured back into movies with Ric Cantor’s gentle Jewish comedy, Suzie Gold, which he filmed throughout on Fujifilm’s F-500 T 8572 (see article in EXPOSURE, Summer 2003).
“That transition has nothing to do with the cinematography. As far as I’m concerned, the process is the same whether you’re shooting on
   Photos main: Summer Phoenix (right) and her film family in Suzie Gold; above l-r: Scenes from Othello, The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall and Family; Top right: Daf Hobson on the set of Family
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