Home Television News & Sport Man Alive

Man Alive

1 9 6 5 – 1 9 8 2 (UK)
586 x 30 minute episodes

The BBC’s long-running documentary series Man Alive looked at all aspects of society in the UK and abroad over 17 years, including stories on crime, sex, housing, politics and flower shows.

The series was commissioned by David Attenborough, while he was Controller of BBC2 between 1965 and 1969. British television journalist and presenter Esther Rantzen worked on Man Alive in the mid-1960s. Other presenters and interviewers included Desmond Wilcox (who Rantzen later married), John Pitman, Anna Ford, Angela Huth, Malcolm Muggeridge, John Percival, Jack Pizzey, Nick Ross, Harold Williamson, Jeremy James and Trevor Philpott.

The show which perhaps best sums up the series’ strengths is “Gale is Dead”, the story of 19-year-old Gale Parsons (pictured below), who died a drug addict on 11 February 1970, during the making of the documentary. She had been brought up in 14 institutions and was convinced that she mattered to no one. Her story was told mainly through the eyes of Mrs Nancy David, a teacher who became a key figure in her life.