Andrew Slidders Todd: former controller, BBC Scotland

Todd: from humble beginnings

Andrew “Drew” Slidders Todd, who has died peacefully at his Potters Bar, Herts home aged 85, was a Dundee born son of a Scottish docker who left school at 15.

He joined DC Thomson, the major local publisher, as a messenger boy in 1934 and rose in the media business to become controller of BBC Scotland in Glasgow, by way of the editorship of BBC TV News in London.

His was the typical Scots story of ability matching aspiration – and aspirations being recognised and given complete fulfilment.

His younger son Iain, 50, a metallurgical engineer in mining near Toronto, Ontario, Canada told me: “My father’s parents were humble folk in agriculture in Angus. Of course, when war broke out he had to join up, first with the Black Watch and then with the 2nd Bn Seaforth Highlanders.

“He had a final rank of Major and even wrote a history of the battalion.”

It was during the War that he met his future wife, Marjory, who died in 1995. They were both in the Army and met in 1944 in the closing stages of hostilities. They married in 1947 and she later bore him two talented sons.

Her background contributed to his extraordinary success: “She was very supportive of him in every way,” said Iain.

His older son, Bruce, 54, is a TV producer, following in his father’s footsteps. He initially joined the BBC as a trainee but now freelances, with his own credits on the programmes he makes. So the Todd name lives on in the media.

Drew also left two grandchildren, Allison and Lauren.

How did Drew get the curious second name of “Slidders”, which sounds more like an ice-skating champion’s nickname? “It belonged to a distant uncle. The family story is that it was perpetuated through my father in the hope that he might inherit some of his money!” said Iain.

Drew was also son, brother, uncle, soldier, journalist, writer and good friend. But essentially he was a man who lived life to the full.

 

Sydney Reynolds

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