28 February, 2010

Ian Scoones RIP

I've just learned that Ian Scoones has died.

Ian was a visual effects designer who worked on many episodes of Doctor Who and the first series of Blake's 7 in the 1970s. He also worked on Thunderbirds, Hammer Horror movies and the Hammer House of Horror television series.

I found out about his death on Total Sci-Fi Online, and have since learned that he passed away from liver cancer on 20 January this year.

I first become aware of Ian when his name appeared on the end credits of Doctor Who. To see that someone who had the same surname as myself was working on my favourite television programme made a big impression on me in my pre-teen years. At the time I didn't know of anyone with the surname Scoones who wasn't part of my extended family.

Over the years I've sometimes been asked by Doctor Who fans if I'm somehow related to Ian. Now I do have an uncle who frequently crops up in BBC television credits, but that's underwater cameraman Peter Scoones, best known for his work on David Attenborough's nature documentaries. As far as I know Ian is not a relative - or is he...?

In the mid-1990s, I tried to find out if there was in fact a family connection. Ian Scoones offered for sale via mail order a series of art prints of his production paintings from Doctor Who. A representative of his wrote to TSV, the Doctor Who fanzine I edited, to see if we would advertise these for sale. I took the opportunity to write back, confessing that I was curious to find out if there might be a family connection.

Ian didn't reply directly, but his representative wrote on his behalf, saying that Ian had read my letter. The letter said that Ian didn't know the Scoones side of his family at all as his father had left his mother when he was very young. He did however very kindly send me a complimentary set of his art prints, which I've kept to this day.

In later years myself and my father both conducted a fair amount of research into the Scoones name and put together a fairly comprehensive family tree. Two people called Ian Scoones crop up in my research; one's my father's cousin, and the other's a professor at Sussex University with a prodigous collection of books and papers to his name. But I'm still none the wiser as to how and where the visual effects designer Ian Scoones fits into scheme of things.

Here's the interesting thing though. Judging by the various photos I've seen of Ian Scoones over the years, there was definitely a resemblance to members of my branch of the Scoones family. Could it be that we are in fact related? Was his absent father one of the Scooneses who appears in my family tree? It's a mystery that will probably never be solved.


Anonymous said...

I worked with Ian in the early eighties on a kids TV show called Terrahawks..
I liked him instantly as he was a great character and raconteur. Unfortunately the producer of the show and Ian fell out and I replaced him, something for years he thought I was behind, I wasn't..
Literally 20 years later a mutual acquaintance brought him to a hotel bar I frequent in Maidenhead were I was fortunate to put him right, then spend a rip roaring afternoon with him entertaining the whole bar..
That was the last time I saw him, sadly....

Leonard Holland said...

l personally knew Ian when he lived in Gillingham Kent, he really was a character my fondest and funniest memory comes from around the late 1980s early 90s when we both attended one of the many parties which seemed to be happening at the time, Ian arrived with his normal to boxes of wine (the ones which use to have a little tap) this being his supply for the evening,he was very fond of a drink!. Now this is when you could have a little chuckle to yourself early in the party you would ask Ian how his mother was (at the time he lived with her and did a lot of her caring) and his reply would be in a very dramatic turn which was his way "oh the dear Duchess is in her 90s and still going strong" now return to Ian two boxes of wine later and ask the same question and his answer was and l quote "do you know she's 90 and the bitch is still alive she just will not die" also he would often visit Peter Cushing in Whitstable whom l also had the honour of meeting in a social setting but that's another story. sleep well Ian.

David said...

I went to school with Ian, We were basically inseparable.That was at Kings School Rochester, Kent. He was clearly an artist then & his imagination for futuristic things always astounded everyone even in those days when we were both just boys. We often used to mess about in boats on the river Medway which he and his mother lived beside. After schooling we went our separate ways (myself mostly overseas) but after some pretty serious searching in recent years I was able to locate him. By then he & his delightfully sounding wife were living in Denia, Spain. It was incredible to find ourselves back talking again but sadly Ian hadn't done so well after leaving the BBC. Apparently they were renting a very small apartment & couldn't accommodate me but I was quite prepared to find somewhere myself. Sadly it turned out that Ian wasn't by then in the best of health & he very sadly died before I could arrange to drive up the coast from the Malaga area where I was & still am living.