The Birmingham BBC producer who created smash hit motoring show Top Gear has died at the age of 87.
Derek Smith hit on the idea for the programme as he looked out over the car park at the Corporation’s old Pebble Mill building, in Edgbaton.
And the father-of-two’s son, Graham, also made his mark on the show. He suggested Top Gear’s iconic theme tune Jessica, by old rockers The Allman Brothers Band.
“One day my father was looking out of the office at the car park and he thought the BBC should do a motoring show,” said Graham. “He came up with the name and the type of programme, which included items on motoring matters such as safety and road tests.
“Dad asked me if I had any ideas for the music. I suggested an Allman Brothers instrumental from an album I had.
“He said: ‘Write it down’, then went into the BBC record library and found it.”
Top Gear began with nine monthly episodes shown in the Midlands from 1977, before being networked on BBC2.
Derek, from Sutton Coldfield, continued as a series producer until 1986, working with presenters including Angela Rippon, Tom Coyne and William Woollard.
He had joined BBC Midlands in 1957 and went on to make films about the Armed Forces, among them the 1964 documentary Soldier In The Sun, about the Royal Anglian Regiment in Aden and Yemen.
He also made a documentary in 1969 about the history of the aircraft carrier called The Flight Deck Story, which he shot onboard HMS Eagle and USS Enterprise off the coast of Vietnam.
The same year, Mission to Hell followed the then Bishop of Birmingham, Leonard Wilson, back to Singapore to tell his story of wartime imprisonment by the Japanese, and to meet his former torturer.
Closer to home, Just A Year followed three of the survivors of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings during their long recovery from injury.
Derek also created other formats including Now Get Out Of That, where two teams tested their survival abilities and solved mental tests.
He also made children’s piano competition Major Minor and The Lost River Of Gaping Gill, a film about cavers searching for an underground river in Yorkshire.
He died of natural causes on March 17, also leaving behind another son, Malcolm, and his wife Norma.
His funeral takes place on April 8 at 12.45pm at Streetly Crematorium.