British Universities Film & Video Council

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Lionel James Gamlin

Profile

Born
30 April 1903
Death
16 October 1967
Dates
1942-1954
Role
Commentator
Newsreels / Cinemagazines
British Movietone News
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Career

Lionel Gamlin was graduate of Cambridge University who worked in business before becoming a schoolmaster in 1927. In 1935 he left teaching to become an actor, but in the following year joined the BBC as an announcer. Gamlin also worked as a commentator with British Movietone News, his first credit being in June 1942 when he was brought in as relief for Leslie Mitchell [qv], and read ‘WAR AND THE CAMERA WITH A COMMENTARY DELIVERED BY LIONEL GAMLIN (Courtesy of the B.B.C.),' in No.686A. Gamlin continued to work both for Movietone and for the BBC, although his BBC credit was dropped from the newsreel in 1943. Gerald Sanger [qv], Movietone editor, recalled that during the war they reduced the number of stories in each issue, and ‘we also turned British Movietone News into a one-voice reel, Leslie Mitchell [qv] delivering the entire commentary, with Lionel Gamlin coming in to replace him one reel [sic] in four.' Gamlin’s regular work as Mitchell’s replacement seems to have begun in June 1944, and the system of relieving him for one week in every four began in September 1944.

After the end of the war in 1945 Gamlin continued to work both for the BBC and for Movietone, where he continued as Mitchell’s relief. Then, in January 1947, Mitchell was recruited as Alexander Korda’s director of publicity at London Films, Movietone gave the job of principal commentator to Gamlin. In November 1948 Mitchell returned to commentating for British Movietone News, but not in a senior capacity, and in 1949 Movietone credited Gamlin as their commentator. Gamlin described himself as a ‘free-lance broadcaster and newsreel commentator,' but he appears in the Movietone staff list for October 1951. His last credit for British Movietone News is for No.1332 in December 1954, and in 1956 Gamlin returned to his acting career.

Sources

G. Sanger ‘The Story of British Movietone News in the War Years,' c.1946, copy in BUFVC: P. Noble (ed) ‘British Film Yearbook 1949-50’ (London, 1949), p.275: Who’s Who 1897-1996 CD-ROM.

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