Man in checked shirt sits by his computer

Graham McCallum

Graham McCallum interview

Directed by Mark Craig and produced with funding from the Shiers Memorial Fund/Royal Television Society

About Graham...

Designer Graham McCallum joined the BBC Graphic Design Department fresh from art college in Scotland, following an introduction to BBC designer Bernard Lodge by his college’s external design assessor H.K.Henrion. Bernard referred him to Roy Laughton, the then Head of Department, and so began a successful career in BBC Motion Graphics, firstly as an illustrator in Children's programmes. He worked with illustrator Paul Birkbeck on the series ‘In the Beginning’ and ‘The New Beginning’, and with Hilary Hayton, Clare Beaton, Mina Martinez and Laurence Henry on illustrations for other Children’s programmes such as ‘Jackanory’. With Hilary Hayton he also designed and produced the successful cut-out animation series ‘Crystal Tipps and Alistair’, which ran to 50 episodes, as well as illustrating for ‘Play School‘ and ‘Play Away’. In the late 1970s he moved into mainstream television graphics production at a time when the technology was beginning to change from analogue to digital.

In his interview Graham describes test-driving the prototype of Flair, a hard-wired electronic painting device developed by BBC Engineering. He used the device to create design work for 'Riverside’ and featured it in use in his opening titles for ‘Now & Then’.

He art directed several major blue screen studio drama productions, including ‘Jane’ and ‘Jane in the Desert’, for which he was awarded a BAFTA for Graphic Design in consecutive years 1984 and 1985.

In 1986 Graham left the BBC to start up his own Design Agency MKD, McCallum, Kennedy, D’Auria, with two ex-BBC colleagues and Producer Ricky Churchill. The agency grew, working nationally and internationally, and in 1996 it became ‘Kemistry’, notably producing a corporate branding strategy for CNN, the 24-hour world-wide broadcaster, and launching the ‘Discovery’ channel in Europe. In 2004 Graham and Ricky launched an independent design gallery, dedicated to exhibiting the work of outstanding designers both past, present and upcoming. The Kemistry gallery occupied the ground floor of the design agency in Shoreditch, London, where numerous notable exhibitions were mounted over the years. These included ‘Timeframes’, a retrospective exhibition of the work of pioneer BBC motion graphics designers Bernard Lodge, Charles McGhie and Alan Jeapes. In 2013 a retrospective of  five decades of Graham’s own work as a designer and creative director was exhibited in the Kemistry Gallery to mark his 70th birthday.