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Tributes paid to former BBC NI producer, poet and historian Douglas Carson

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Douglas Carson interviews a young resident on Rathlin Island

Douglas Carson interviews a young resident on Rathlin Island

Douglas Carson interviews a young resident on Rathlin Island

Warm tributes have been paid following the death of former BBC producer Douglas Carson.

The respected historian, poet and public speaker, who was in his 80s, was educated at Annadale Grammar School and attended Queen's University Belfast.

He is best remembered for his work alongside wife Marie in the BBC schools department, which broadcast educational programmes.

BBC NI said last night: "Douglas was a greatly respected BBC producer who made an important contribution to the development of schools broadcasting in Northern Ireland.

"Our sincere condolences go to his family at this time."

Former BBC nations and regions director Pat Loughrey added: "Douglas never underestimated his young audience.

"Instead, he produced a heady blend of literature, scholarship and startling imagination, mediated by some of our leading creatives.

"He was confident that the audiences would rise to the challenge with relish. He was right.

"Douglas was himself an inspired historian, poet and devastating satirist.

"He deployed these gifts generously to the benefit of the schools department's listeners and viewers in some of Northern Ireland's worst times.

"Modern producers have much to learn from his example."

UTV presenter Paul Clark told this newspaper he first met Mr Carson when he started working as a freelance broadcaster on BBC radio in the 1970s.

"Mostly, I reported for Good Morning Ulster, but I learnt my real skill in educational broadcasting," he added.

"One of the producers was Douglas.

"He told me that the target audience was children in a classroom surrounded by a multitude of distractions.

"He then taught me how to grab their attention dramatically through word and sound pictures. It really was a theatre of the mind.

"In those early days of my career, I learnt skills which I am using today more than 40 years later.

"I shared Douglas's passion for the Titanic and Irish history, particularly the history of Northern Ireland, warts and all.

"Douglas was a gifted radio producer and a master of the word.

"But, for me, most of all he was a teacher.

Mr Carson was the president of the Titanic Trust, which was established in 1997 to promote the Titanic as a centre of interest for Belfast.

He was related to Thomas Andrews, the designer of the Titanic who went down with his ship.

In 2008 Mr Carson's daughter Kerry hit the headlines when she married Belfast's former Lord Mayor and consultant paediatrician Ian Adamson, who was nearly 30 years her senior.

Belfast Telegraph