January 18, 2017 at 09:09PM

My wife, Denise Lesley, who has died of ovarian cancer aged 65, started her professional life as a teacher. When head of geography at Hurlingham school in Fulham, south-west London, she was seconded in 1979 to the Inner London Education Authority’s television centre in Battersea, where teachers were trained in educational broadcasting, and where she learned the trade over the next two years.

Dee went freelance in 1981 and soon became a researcher on the live children’s Saturday morning TV show No 73, made by TVS for ITV, working with Sandi Toksvig and Andrea Arnold. She was an early member of the Production Managers’ Association, which was devoted to raising professional standards. She served on its committee and for a number of years was deputy chair.

Dee had a huge interest in passing on whatever skills and knowledge she had acquired to the next generation, and many in the industry owe her a lot.

In the mid-90s she began a long association with my corporate and educational production company, Visible Productions. Dee produced the English language teaching course Direct English, filmed in Boston (as many learners required US English) and based on dramatic video clips – a perfect vehicle for her teaching abilities and production skills. Subsequently, at Lodestar Productions, she made films for the BBC Schools History File series. She then became head of production at Paul Hamann’s Wild Pictures from 2006 until 2011, helping to establish it as a provider of quality documentary programmes. She also worked at various times at Darlow Smithson, Sharp Jack Media, Mosaic Films and Oxford Film and Television.

The final phase of her career was the happiest: from 2012 she worked alongside Cathy Haslam and Melvyn Bragg at Directors Cut Productions to develop the South Bank Show for its new home at Sky Arts. Complicated international shoots, demanding personalities, last-minute schedule changes and ambitious directors meant that Dee was in her element.

Daughter of John Osborn, a foreman at AC Delco automotive components plant in Dunstable, and Eileen (nee Hatch), a shop assistant, Denise was born in Gaddesden Row, Hertfordshire. She was a lifelong Watford Football Club supporter and season ticket holder.

When poor health forced her retirement in 2014, her creativity flourished. She became an accomplished watercolour artist, enjoying classes at Blackheath Conservatoire and producing some fine works. She was also a skilled crafter, making jewellery and greetings cards, knitting and doing embroidery.

Dee had a huge appetite for life and culture – opera, theatre and concerts were weekly dates in the diary, as were gallery visits. She enjoyed travel, including regular trips to Spain and the US, an eventful week in Bangladesh and the realisation of a lifelong ambition to tour Japan. At home her productive garden was a source of delight.

Dee and I married in 2001. She is survived by me and her sister, Elaine.

from Education | The Guardian http://ift.tt/2jCDRt6