Interview with Dick Fontaine: Alan Whicker, Me and the Future of TV

The Whicker’s World Foundation caught up with Dick Fontaine, Head of Documentary at the National Film and Television School, to ask why he thought Alan Whicker was “a ballsy guy”, what challenges face documentary filmmakers today and hear his thoughts on our documentary Funding Award.

Watch our interview with him below.

Over a career spanning more than four decades, Dick Fontaine has produced, directed and written more than 40 documentaries. He is a veteran of the television documentary industry, helping to shape investigative television journalism with World in Action and push the boundaries of documentary form. Dick now works as head of MA in Documentary Direction at the National Film and Television School.

Dick graduated with an MA in Moral Sciences at Cambridge University before joining Granada Television as a researcher in 1962. He became a founding member of World in Action, one of the first pioneers of hard-hitting investigative journalism television programmes. Running from 1963 to 1998, the programme exposed corruption and underhand dealings within British politics and the criminal justice system. Upon launching its investigative journalism training scheme in 2011, Channel Four said there had been a decline in the pool of investigative journalism since “the demise of training grounds such as World in Action.”

In the 1960’s Dick was the first filmmaker to introduce techniques of Cinema Vérité to British television. From The Beatles, to top model Jean Shrimpton and British journalist James Cameron, Dick’s films delved into the lives of the era’s most popular cultural icons. His background in music led him to produce films with Art Blakey, John Cage, Johnny Rotten, and other musicians, which sought to explore culture through music. Dick has made various films about the inspirations of iconic jazz artists and the transformation of African American popular music.

In 1995 Dick joined the NFTS as a full time tutor, and continues to pass on his expertise to students in the field of Documentary Direction.

For more details about our Funding Awards, click the Awards tab at the top of this page.