Nigel Farrell, Director Of Island Parish, Loses Cancer Battle

Nigel Farrell

Islanders featured in TVs “An Island Parish’ have been paying tribute to its director, Nigel Farrell, who died at the weekend.

Nigel, who was 58, had been battling pancreatic cancer.

He spent long periods of time on the islands planning and filming the series, staying for one series at Grenofen. While the BBC2 show brought in audiences of up to 4million, some islanders were critical of the storylines and intrusion from the programme and an accompanying book.

Nigel Young from the Air Fayre Lounge, who featured in the series, became good friends with Nigel Farrell during his time here.

He says that Nigel did the islands a “real favour” with the series and many people decided to visit after seeing the programme.

Nigel upset a number of islanders when the Daily Mail serialised excerpts from his book including suggestions that women coughed during mammograms so they’d be recalled and gain a cheap mainland travel ticket. But Nigel Young feels that was taken out of context – he says that someone had mentioned it to him as a joke but he had been naïve to write it down.

Islands’ vet Heike Dorn, who also appeared regularly in the programme, says she feels Nigel should be remembered for the boost he gave to tourism in Scilly. She says he portrayed an idyllic version of island life where the weather was always good and no one argued.

Heike and her son Sami got to know Nigel well and she described him as “a really nice guy.” She says she has lots of happy memories of Nigel and particularly some of the experiences she had while filming An Island Parish including when she offered driving lessons in her car and got stuck in the mud.

It had been hoped that doctors had caught Nigel’s pancreatic cancer early after he felt unwell while filming the new series in Scotland last year.

There are no funeral arrangement details available yet.


5 Responses to Nigel Farrell, Director Of Island Parish, Loses Cancer Battle

  1. Ed October 13, 2011 at 11:34 am

    So shocked to stumble on the obituary in the Telegraph this morning, I really couldn’t believe it.

    Both my mum and I really enjoyed all of Nigel’s series in France – Nippi and Nigel (and later Reza) were real characters who took a chance on impossible dreams. The cast of French characters really took to the pair, none more so than the hugely entertaining and exuberant Manu. The builders, led by old Monsieur Gallette, took their time (and many chocolate breaks) but in the end created a wonderful house – I just wish Nigel could have settled there in the long term as he originally planned. I’m sure some of the later series were more staged to make good TV, but they still entertained and you couldn’t help but want Nigel to succeed.

    I can only say how sorry I am to hear about his untimely passing.

  2. Martin Blythe September 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I feel privileged to have worked occasionally with Nigel as his cameraman at Boscastle and on the Isles of Scilly.
    He had the amazing gift of being entirely focussed on the people he met, be they fishermen, policemen or even a bishop. He made them feel relaxed, he always got the very best from his interviewees, producing some memorable programmes. Socializing with him after a busy day was a reward.
    I am sure the television exposure he gave to The Scillies, did nothing but good for the Islands as a whole.
    My wife Margaret and I will always remember him as a true friend and master of his craft. Thank you Nigel, we will miss you.

  3. Virginia H September 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I was so very very sad to hear of the passing of Nigel Farrell. I so loved all his documentaries – Island Parish, Place in France etc. Such an entertaining look at life and always a delight to watch. RIP Nigel – thank you for bringing us such wonderful television.

  4. Ray Cackett September 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    My fondest memories of Nigel were in his first series on TV when he was infront of camera like Place in France and when he decided to open an Indian Restaurant in the middle of France. Although these were serious projects there were, at times some really comic moments and Nigel was a natural at this. When he started on the ‘Parish ‘series he did so with empathy and professionalism and a wonderfuil voice. RiP Nigel you will be greatly missed!

  5. Charlie Bennett September 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I was greatly saddened reading this article, not only because it reports the loss of such a wonderful man, but because it barely touches on his amazing career and the deeply caring and kind man he was.
    Heike & Nigel Young’s comments are very touching.
    Nigel’s love of people and of life is reflected in his unique programmes, and his gentle take on island and community life touched so many people. His career spanned great programmes like The Village, Country House, Place In France, Country Parish, Seaside Parish, Island Parish and The Deadly Storm.
    Heike is right when she says he tried to portray an idyllic version of the islands, but those people who complained were right too when they said that that ‘idyllic’ version wasn’t accurate. But that was Nige – always looking for the best in everything.
    The bravery with which he faced his own terminal cancer was an example of this he was an inspiration to everyone who knew him, his primary concern was for his family & friends, and he remained so positive and resolute for everyone around him.
    Quite simply he was a brilliant and he will be desperately missed.