Former TV Times picture editor Eddie Pedder, one of the pioneers of UK celebrity journalism and a legend of Fleet Street lunches during the 70s and 80s, has died aged 86.
For over 20 years during the magazine’s heyday, Pedder (pictured) held the roles of picture editor and assistant editor.
He was the man who compiled the noted celebrity bible Who’s Who – the go-to reference for journalists seeking information about stars in the days before Google.
Pedder was born in Camberwell in 1933 and joined Odhams Press as a messenger boy after leaving school at 14.
Conscripted into the Royal Army Ordinance Corps for national service, he served in Japan during the Korean War.
Demobbed in December 1953, Pedder returned to work for Odhams where he became a photographer and picture researcher for the million-plus selling John Bull magazine.
He subsequently worked on the Today magazine before being recruited by Midlands-based TV World as picture editor.
In 1968 he was recruited by the fast-rising TV Times. It was there he met his second wife Gill Hutchinson.
With the boom of popular television and mammoth audiences he became one of the most prominent media figures, working with ITV’s stellar array of celebrity talent ensuring maximum exposure for the stars and their shows.
The magazine attracted an audience of 11m readers during its most successful years when it had exclusive use of ITV’s listings.
Former TV Times and Sunday Times Magazine editor Peter Jackson said: “Eddie was a key figure in the heyday of TV Times.
“As picture editor he and his fantastic team of photographers established an incredible rapport with every level of the world of television, giving us access to the innermost workings of the industry and an unrivalled level of intimate photography of the biggest stars in the business.
“One example was when I asked him to see if Roger Moore – then already a big, big name as both The Saint and co-star with Tony Curtis in The Persuaders – would allow a shoot at his home. Eddie called him direct (no agent or company PR involved) and the response was: ‘Sure. Why not come out early and have a cup of tea with the family?’
“They don’t make ’em like that anymore.”
Brian Jeeves, former head of photography at Yorkshire Television, said: “Eddie was a fantastic picture editor but more importantly he was a truly lovely man.
“We had some fantastic times working together and we remained close friends with him and Gill in our retirement. I will miss him greatly, but never forget the wonderful times we enjoyed.”
Ex-TV Times photographer Rod Ebdon said: “Eddie was the picture editor at a time when TV Times was more than just a listings magazine.
“It was a wonderful place for a photographer work, Eddie gave us space and opportunity to be creative. He would send us on assignments with pretty much a free hand. He was always supportive and would stand our corner when things didn’t quite work out.
“He was greatly respected within the industry, this made sure that us photographers were given time and cooperation whether on TV sets or photographing actors in their homes.”
Pedder retired in 1987 to the picturesque Sussex village of Ripe where he quickly assumed control of the parish magazine.
Although not religious, he told friends the commandment “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” was something he aspired to live by.
He died in Eastbourne Hospital on 24 March this year after developing pneumonia. He leaves behind wife Gill. A celebration of his life will be held once the coronavirus pandemic has passed.