Cy Young obituary

The BFI is greatly saddened to learn that former Member Governor Cy Young has passed away after a short period of illness.


Cy had served on the Board as a Member Governor since 2009, a position he held until September 2012. Such was his commitment and passion for the role that he was subsequently reappointed for a further twelve month term, which he held until 29 September this year.

Cy was a regular at BFI Southbank, where he could be found most days both enjoying films – often several a day – and using the BFI Reuben Library. His deep passion for film and long career in television combined to give him an encyclopaedic knowledge and understanding of the histories and cultures of both media, a strength he was able to bring to his role on the Board of Governors. Cy will be remembered by all his friends at the BFI, as well as among the Membership, and we pay tribute to his dedicated and tireless service on their behalf over the last four years.


Cy Young was professionally involved with film and television over many decades. After youthful experience in cinema management on the Rank circuit, he joined Granada Television as personal assistant to network film buyer Leslie Halliwell, viewing feature acquisitions and later devising several editions of the company’s movie magazine Clapperboard.

Following twelve years as film/videotape editor for ATV in Birmingham, Cy moved back to London to freelance as a specialist researcher on numerous archive-based documentary productions for BBC, ITV and Channel Four, including The Unseen Eric Morecambe, The Great British Black Invasion (a social history programme examining the cultural impact of Afro-Caribbean immigration, short-listed for that year’s FOCAL Awards) and three series of Heroes of Comedy.

His writing included articles on the early days of commercial television for the periodicals Archive Zones and 405 Alive, obituaries for The Independent, and the first substantive history of newsreel theatres for The Journal of British Film and Television. He was also a contributor to the BFI’s definitive guide to Britain’s film and television history, BFI Screenonline. Most recently Cy was a consultant and contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and continued to work on his own long-term project, British TV Movies, a reference guide to filmed television dramas, compiled from original research.

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