Obituary: Allan Pyrah, TV cameraman

Allan Pyrah, who has died at 74, having suffered from Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, was a television film cameraman who was responsible for some of the most memorable programmes to come out of the North of England.

Allan Pyrah

His career was spent mostly at Yorkshire TV, which he joined as a clapper boy – the junior team member responsible for holding up the identification slate at the beginning of each shot – before progressing up the ladder to assistant cameraman, lighting cameraman and eventually Director of Photography with such credits as Where the Heart Is, Peak Practice, Stay Lucky, Shoot to Kill, The Glory Boys, Harry’s Game and A Touch of Frost.

He also toured the world as part of the crew on Whicker’s World, which the documentarian Alan Whicker made for YTV in its early days.

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His professional life began at a relatively new television company called Five City Films, based in the Old Elite Cinema on Bradford’s Duckworth Lane. There he made commercials for ITV, but it wasn’t long before he moved to the network itself.

Allan was born in Bradford, the son of Mary and Harold Pyrah. Home was a one-up, one-down, with a tin bath next to the fire and an outside toilet on Perseverance Street. He never forgot his roots.

He attended Belle Vue Grammar and then Bradford Regional College of Art, where he specialised in exhibition design.

He played cricket for Wyke Temperance Juniors and went on to play for Woodlands and later Mirfield, where the Bradford League legend Harry Atkinson described him as one of the best players never to have progressed to the higher leagues.

He played football, too, as goalkeeper for Wyke AFC, and once turned out in the third round of the in FA Cup.

He was also a brilliant table tennis player for Sedbergh Boys’ Club at Odsal in the Bradford TT league.

A modest man who was also a keen golfer and a talented artist, he married Christine in 1972 and had two children, Nicholas and Shelley, and five grandchildren.