Our photo was taken to honour the winners of the Wilderness Award for the 1974 Musicamera series’ episode Jon Vickers: A Man and His Music and has been submitted by Des Risdon. Des had his first experience with media when, at age 14,  he and a friend built their own crystal radio sets for which Des used a bedspring as his aerial.  Involvement in the media took a back seat for some years while he worked at a few electrical jobs, served in the British Army in the 7th Armored Brigade (the famous Desert Rats) and became Credit Manager for a large tailoring chain.  While in this latter job, Des enjoyed himself arranging props for musicals and Ivor Novello productions at the Bournemouth Pavillion and he got involved in amateur theatricals, providing sound. In 1957, he emigrated to Canada spending a year in Toronto prior to making his way to Vancouver where he quickly discovered the York Theatre on Commercial Drive where “little theatre” was thriving and he began acting.  He soon found employment as a sound technician with a new professional theatre company at the Cambie Theatre while embarking on a two-year communications course at UBC.  Des joined the staff of CBC Vancouver in 1961 in the Film Library.  In subsequent years he became a Film Assistant, Negative Cutter, News Film Editor and finally Production Film Editor, a position he held until his retirement from the Corporation in 1991.  Des says he is enjoying his retirement with his wife Hue, who is Vietnamese, his daughters Cathy and Nadia and his four grandchildren.  Hue and Des enjoy walking and gardening; Des is a keen photographer and enjoys making wine.  Reading and music are his pastimes and studying history his passion.

CBC Vancouver’s Media Archive Library provided the following detail on Jon Vickers: A Man and His Music:  “The film examines the life of Canadian Jon Vickers, a renowned character in the opera world.  This film tags along, talking to Jon and his contemporaries and peers as he rehearses for his role in the opera Fidelio at the London Opera House.  Fidelio is a rescue opera by Beethoven, first performed in 1805, which deals with a wife’s attempt to rescue her husband who is a political prisoner.  Jon Vickers is also accompanied as he revisits his childhood home, complete with childhood memories.”  Footage of Vicars taking on the role of Tristan and Isolde at L’Orange in the south of France is also included along with performances from Pagliacci, Peter Grimes and Otello.  The 90-minute documentary was directed by Dick Bocking, photographed by John Seale and edited by Harvey (Des) Risdon.  The program was chosen for screenings in Los Angeles and New York in 2002 and 2003 respectively as part of O Canada! A Salute to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation presented by the Museum of Television and Radio in recognition of CBC’s 50th Anniversary of television in Canada.

L-R:  Bob McGall (CBC Vancouver Regional Director), Dick Bocking (Producer/Director), Des Risdon (Film Editor), John Seale (Photography), Norm Rosen (Film Sound).

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Do you have group photos of five or more people from your CBC days?  We’d love to post them as future Flashbacks.  Whether you can identify everyone or not, please send them in (we might resolve some of the mysteries!).   Contact us at  or leave a message for Peggy Oldfield at 604-662-6409 to arrange for loan of photos.