to the 'Markham' idea
In the 'Swinging 1960's' the Markham Arms in Chelsea, London was
a centrepoint for media professionals and writers. Now long
closed and converted to a bank, this famous 'pub was a favourite haunt of Tony
and Mark. In late 1961 they had returned to Bristol after a thirteen month, 32,000
mile journey around the world as the Trans-Continental Expedition 1960-61.
expedition Tony filmed and Mark recorded the sound for two programmes in black
and white for the Independent TV provider,TWW [Television Wales and West].
need a name' By the time
they met in the Markham Tony had just completed a nine month BBC filming trip
to the Middle East and a seven film contract for South America was on offer. So
the two began planning. They needed a business Company with a name and it did
not take them long to decide on 'Nonesuch Expeditions'.
Nonesuch - the shorthand for the venture was opened with accountant Norman Russell
and and one of Tony's old school friends, Allan Reditt- also seen in the Markham.
Norman provided a good office address in Central London for film production
and by 1963 Nonesuch was ready to roll. Within a few months it was a familiar
name in the BBC film studios at Ealing.
Studios have a history dating back to the 1900s and were the home to
many classics of the cinema. In 1955 they were bought by the BBC and in 1962 a
small office tucked away at the rear was the home of the BBC Travel and Exploration
Unit headed by David Attenborough then a young producer, now Sir David, the
television presenter and Brian Branston producer and writer who had migrated to
television from BBC Radio.
The unit brought together a group of serious travellers who with heavy 16mm cameras
were beginning to move around the world by road or the newly arrived scheduled
jet air services. The
films they made were transmitted in black and white in the series - Travellers
Tales or Adventure - the world was theirs to be opened-up to an ever
growing audience sitting in front of small screens.Ealing Studios - the oldest
film studio in the United Kingdom and possibly the oldest in the world
journeys in South America
Nonesuch Expeditions film contracts financed three journeys in South America,
largely in the central Andes mountains or the forests of western Amazonia.
Two of the trips were
were for films for the Travel and Exploration Unit and the last was a colour
production for Anglia Television, an Independent company making the award winning
Natural History series - Survival..
and Allan also met their future wives
Marion Davies and Jackie Chester who were working as British volunteers on an
Andean development project in Bolivia. When Tony married in 1965 Nonesuch Expeditions
was divided with Mark taking the company structure while the name remained with
some early experiments with devices to locate buried structures [anomalies] and
supported by Nonesuch Mark went on to develop an electronics enterprise. Allan
switched to a career with Reuters and sadly, Norman Russell, who had become a
great friend and mentor, died.
- second age The
Nonesuch Expeditions name was revived in the mid-1970's when Tony and Marion were
backed by Bavaria Televison [Bayerischer Rundfunk], BBCTV and the US publisher
Harper and Row to find a solution to the mystery of the Nasca desert markings.[Nazca
Lines] The film and book 'Pathways to the Gods' -1978 [ISBN 0 85955 053
2] were seen and read worldwide. In 1976 Marion founded South American Pictures,
now an internationally recognised picture archive.
- third age The
next appearance of Nonesuch Expeditions came in 1986 with a publishing venture
producing two notable books. One was a simple illustrated biography of Maria Reiche
the German mathematics teacher and recluse who spent over forty years studying
and protecting the Nasca desert markings. [ISBN 869901 06 1] The second book recorded
the diaries and paintings of Margaret Mee, a British botanical artist who spent
half her life in Brazil [ISBN 869901 08 8]. One British newspaper said it was
one of the great natural history books of the century. After an enthusiastic
reception in the USA it has appeared in translations in Portuguese, Japanese and
Thai. Parts of the Margaret Mee story is on this site.
- fourth age and
now in its fifth decade the current Nonesuch Expeditions is web-based. Every effort
is being made to reduce the carbon footprint of Nonesuch and increase awareness
of the serious environmental changes affecting Planet Earth. The future 'Nonesuch'
will be devoted to witnessing the present through eyes that have seen the past.
- fifth age As Nonesuch turned half a century Marion and Tony decided
to combine the Nonesuch and South American Pictures collections and create a set
of unique photographs including many in black and white [monochrome]. As well
as their largely South American work the extensive collection will include images
and artefacts from India the Middle East and the Balkans.