Lord Thomson of Monifieth dies

A FORMER editor of The Dandy comic who went on to chair the body that helped set up Channel 4 has died.

George Thomson, Lord Thomson of Monifieth, died on Friday aged 87. His career also included holding several posts in Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson’s cabinet.

It was during his eight years at the Independent Broadcasting Authority that he oversaw the launches of Channel 4 and TV-am and paved the way for satellite television.

Says an obituary in the Daily Telegraph: “His most controversial action was to reject, in 1988, an appeal from the Foreign Secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe, to ban the Thames documentary, Death on the Rock, questioning the official account of how SAS men gunned down three would-be IRA bombers in Gibraltar.

“When [prime minister] Margaret Thatcher condemned the decision, he accused her of ‘grossly over-reacting’. She took her revenge by putting ITV franchises up for auction and ending the IBA’s combined role as regulator, transmitter, franchising authority and arbiter of taste.”

The Dundonian’s spell at Dandy publishers, DC Thomson, also included editing the Rover comic. In 1952, he was elected Labour MP for Dundee East, following a by-election.

He also chaired the Advertising Standards Authority.