Death of BBC producer and musician


The death has occurred of Tony McAuley, the BBC producer, musician and broadcaster. He died on Saturday at his residence in Cushendall in the Glens of Antrim following a long battle against cancer. He was 63.

The McAuley family was raised in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, but kept its strong links with Co Antrim.

Mr McAuley was originally a teacher and taught English at a well-known school in north Belfast. However in the late 1960s he joined the schools programming service at the BBC in Belfast. It was there that he met other well-known figures in the Irish traditional and folk music world including the film producer David Hammond.

A singer and guitarist, he is credited primarily for his production work especially on his popular series As I Roved Out and with the series Ulster In Focus and The Celts.

He was involved in bringing to public attention folk and traditional artists including Enya and Paul Brady, giving them their first television outing.

He also worked with groups such as Clannad, The Bothy Band, The Dubliners and with influential figures such as Donal Lunny and Christy Moore. It was he who linked the Chieftains and Van Morrison for their first joint performances.

He is survived by his wife, Anne, and their two sons, Brian and Ciarán. He is also survived by his mother, Ita, sisters Róisín, Mary, Una, Anne and Clare and by his brother Liam. He was also a nephew of the artist Charlie McAuley.

He will be buried later today.

Senior BBC figures have paid tribute to Mr McAuley and his work. The controller of BBC Northern Ireland, Ms Anna Carragher, said he would be greatly missed.

She said his love of music and speech permeated everything he did, adding that he was a "natural producer and broadcaster".

Mr Pat Loughrey, director of the BBC's nations and regions unit, said: "He was a lifelong educator encouraging us to share his passion for traditional music, his love of our heritage and his delight in the many characters he discovered wherever he roved."

Mr Mike Edgar, head of entertainment and music, described Mr McAuley as a "genius in his own right".