David Peat dies, aged 65

A DOCUMENTARY filmmaker who worked extensively for BBC Scotland, as a freelance, has died – aged 65.

David Peat died yesterday, from cancer.

Says the BBC, in an obituary: “Over a 40-year career, he became best known for his award-winning documentaries which focused on the lives of ordinary people.

“David Peat’s passion was documenting humanity. It was an idea he returned to constantly and an ideal he held dearly – whether he was recording people’s lives on film or discreetly photographing them in the street.

“It was a passion which drove him to master his craft and gave him an insight and empathy which made his films stand out.”

He worked also for STV and Channel 4.

Last year, BAFTA in Scotland recognised his contribution to filmmaking and photography with a lifetime achievement award.

Among those paying tribute, broadcaster, Kirsty Wark, with whom Peat worked, said: “David Peat was one of the most talented, passionate and knowledgeable director/producers. He was a gifted communicator and it is a measure of the man that he was so generous to those around him, especially young whippersnappers who were learning their trade. He created some of the most memorable filming to have been made in Scotland in the last 20 years, including the film he made in Prishtina in the aftermath of Kosovo. I feel privileged to have known him.”

And Ken MacQuarrie, director of BBC Scotland, said: “David Peat was one of the most committed, passionate and inspiring documentary film-makers of his generation in Scotland, forging his way first as a cameraman and then as a director. He brought his insight and sense of humanity to a wide range of projects, working on everything from documentaries on Billy Connolly and Stephane Grappelli to the intimate observational documentaries, such as Gutted, This Mine is Ours, Me and My Face and Life’s Too Short, for which he was latterly best known within the industry. Without exception, he treated everyone with dignity, respect and sensitivity and viewed his working life as a privilege.

“He was rightly recognised in 2011 with a BAFTA Scotland award for outstanding contribution to craft, enthusing those who worked with him with energy and commitment throughout his career.

“In recent years David devoted much time to mentoring a new generation of film-makers, passing on the creative baton to the documentary producers and camera-people of the future.

“Indeed he was virtually working up to the end, making a programme for BBC Scotland about his film-making and photography, which we will show in tribute to him in due course.

“Broadcasting and filmmaking will be much the poorer for his passing and our thoughts go out to his wife, Patricia and children, Duncan and Rosie, and many friends at this sad time.”

Read an obituary of David in The Scotsman, here. And in The Herald, here.