This week, we lost much loved producer Chris Thompson. In his honour, we have created this memorial page where you can share your memories of him. If you would like to contibute to this page, please email email@example.com. All at PGGB send Chris' family and friends our deepest sympathies and condolences.
I met Chris 30 years ago when I began my film freelance career as his Production Coordinator on a film called Second Best. A memorable experience as when William Hurt was cast in the lead role, thanks to Sarah Radclyffe (producer) and Chris, the crew all had an uplift of salary. We then continued to work together on many productions over many years - Before The Rain, Second Best, Carrington, Gulliver’s Travels, The Odyssey, Roseanna’s Grave, Love Actually, The Bastard Executioner, Trust.
Chris had AD-ed on films such as Full Metal Jacket, Brazil, A World Apart and then moved into Production - Production Managing on Eric The Viking, Sharpe; Associate Producer on A Kiss Before Dying, Robin Hood, Wuthering Heights, Carrington, Gulliver’s Travels; Line Producer on Roseanna’s Grave, The Odyssey & more; and on to Producer on Strike Back, Emerald City and Co-Exec Producer on The Terror.
Chris had an inherent understanding and sympathy and, above all, love for the making of drama and films; the scheduling, the crew, the creativity, the madness, the difficulties of how long it takes to complete on time and on budget, but never losing sight of producing the best version.
He was calm, unflappable, modest, fair, fun, always supportive, non-judging to all.
He loved warm locations and I was lucky to go to several with him - Portugal, Turkey, Malta, Gozo, Cotes d’Azur, Rome, Calabria.
Chris was everything the best Producer should be.
I will miss the fun meals and his great company. His dancing and laugh. I will miss the stories and his knowledge. I will miss him.
Chris Thompson RIP dude
I was 20 years old when I went to work with Chris Thompson, John McGrath (legend) and Tori Parry as a runner on Christopher Hampton’s beautiful film ‘Carrington’. Thirty years later we still seemed to be working together whenever we could. Our adventures have taken us to Botswana, Portugal, Turkey, Malta (where he got arrested and left me- at 21 and full of valium- running the most expensive television movie ever made, for a day), Manchester, Bristol, Calabria and a Travelodge off the A34.
A talented hairdresser in his youth, and a music fanatic, Chris was incredibly modest and loved by so many. Here are three random pieces of wisdom I gleaned from the great man…
How to say yes.
People often think that a producer’s job is to say ‘no’. Chris rarely did. He felt it was his job to try and find a way of saying yes, however unlikely finding the resources might seem at first.
From Stanley Kubrick to Terry Gilliam, Victoria Wood to Richard Curtis, Charles Sturridge to Tar Sem, Peter Kosminsky to Dawn Shadforth, I wonder how many have marvelled at Chris’s ability to somehow conjure something up out of nothing. He believed in filmmaking, he believed in directors and designers and he tried very hard to make all they could imagine come true.
How to behave when someone is yelling in your face.
Now, this does sometimes happen- not as much as it used it to- but it happens. And when it does, let you be like the Thompson- unmoving, calm and kind. Allow the waves to crash upon you. But listen, and when it blows over, try and solve the problem yourself, don’t delegate it (unless the yeller is being totally unreasonable of course). He took an almost childlike delight in how bonkers we all are at times.
The downside of this is that one does absorb rather a lot of bad vibes. These, as Chris on many occasions demonstrated, can be expunged by ordering that the phones be ignored for 20 minutes and indulging in some serious head banging- Back in Black by AC/DC being a particularly effective antidote for bad juju. The man had moves.
The importance of lunch.
Although he would be the first to recognise that the all-absorbing nature of our work was sometimes unfair to his family and especially his children (all of whom he was inordinately proud of), he did manage to get a good lunch in. Even as the industry embraced the hell-for-leather continuous working day, Chris might often be found cogitating the budget over a bit of rabbit and a dry white wine. He remembered to find joy in the job, the places it would take him and the culinary delights it could conjure.
A sub-category of this, and a common enthusiasm of ours, would be the importance of sausages. Many an unsuspecting catering outfit has been surreptitiously vetted by Mr Thompson, whose assiduous critique of a great breakfast would involve the sausage test. When filming Eric & Ernie for the BBC in Manchester, Chris was particularly down in the dumps about the quality of our on set sausages- indeed, if you can’t get a great sausage in the North West then civilisation must surely have crumbled. His memory is that we gave up the second camera in order to upgrade the breakfast, and therefore the spirits, of the especially hard working crew. The sausages were probably responsible for the film’s BAFTA, despite the one single, already obsolete, digital camera we shot it on.
A producer will often feel that carrying the enormous burden- of a director’s creative ambition, too little money, never enough time, the crew’s safety, the cast’s well-being and changeable weather- is like Atlas holding aloft the world. Thankless and slowly crushing. Chris’s genius was to swallow the world entirely, making it easier to lug about. And, when his fantastically gravitationally-defiant orb of a belly was at its most resplendent, he would pat it lovingly and call it his life’s work.
We know it was more than that. All of us have been grateful, at some point or another, and many times over probably, for the wonderful films and dramas he was such a key part in making- from his work as an Assistant Director on Brazil and Full Metal Jacket, and a producer on Love Actually, The Terror, Gulliver’s Travels and Eric & Ernie. To name but a fraction. We were lucky he didn’t stick with hairdressing. And I was lucky to know him, and will miss his wicked chuckle and his kindness; his love of music and life.
I feel very fortunate to have worked with Chris on several projects.
Chris’s calm approach in the trickiest of situations was wonderful to watch and this often brought out the best in others.
We first met in Zimbabwe on ‘A World Apart’ where Chris was respected and adored by the Cast, Crew and Crowd. I was also lucky enough to get to know Chris’s Father, Neville Thompson, another brilliant Producer and Co-Producer. They both shared such great intelligence, humour and a real interest in achieving the best results on any production.
Chris showed trust in peoples abilities and as freelancers we all need that type of support. I am grateful for the faith he showed in me and in others on many occasions. Especially during filming for Hallmark’s ‘The Odyssey’ when at times our Russian Director was a bit disgruntled, to say the least.
Chris was also a strong supporter and believer in the strength of the Production Team and that always included the Assistant Directors. Going out for lunch or supper together usually helps to build team bonds, and we had a number of enjoyable occasions in various parts of the world.
My deepest sympathy goes to his Family. I know for sure how fond and proud Chris was of them.
Those that knew Chris will always remember his warmth and his ability, and will continue to conjure up Chris in their mind’s eye. Especially on those occasions when a version of his wisdom, humour and calmness might win the day.
I worked with Chris from Full Metal Jacket, to Strike Back. What a perfectly calm, unassuming, clever man. We made the perfect good cop/bad cop pairing. I’ll miss you Chris and so will many, many others.
I met Chris Thompson as he was known to many , but to me and a select few he was Christoff Lammy Pie , about 25 years ago.
I can clearly remember the first day I met him at Shepperton Studios on The Odyssey an Epic Hallmark show .
Going into his office and sitting down to do my deal , I was pleasantly surprised because he offered me more than I thought and also told me I would be going abroad very soon.It didn’t take long to get to know him and so the nickname soon followed !
It was a difficult shoot for some and easy for others , but Chris kept us all going and he was always up for an outing, especially if it involved lunch!
He had an ability to work out what people were like very quickly and with me he used to say ( particularly when I ran into his office in a heightened state because I had just been asked to come up with the impossible in the middle of nowhere and would promptly throw myself on the floor !) “ you can talk for 10 minutes and then I have to do some work "-They were fairly frequent visits ! But he always had the time for me and I always got a solution to the problem. He never said no, just let’s see what we can do to help, followed often by a little laugh.
Other jobs followed and I was always glad to know that Mr Thompson was going to be steering the show. Most recently he came on ’The Power’ for Amazon Prime , we had great chats and of course I sneaked in a few hugs when I could .
Singing was always a big thing and he loved it , knowing all the words — ‘Angels' by Robbie Williams will always be forever in my memory as a ‘Lammy pie’ song.
It is hard to sum up in words for me how wonderful he was - Simply one of the best humans I have ever met and clearly would have been gifted wings . I will miss him always.
Liam French Robinson
I was lucky enough to work with Chris on several shows, initially as a production accountant and then Voice and Dialect Coach, when I retrained. In both roles Chris was just the perfect colleague. At work never losing temper, always seeing every side of every issue and always offering the best advice. And outside of work hours he was there on long location jobs to provide great company and laughter.
Along with Bill Shepard, Chris was my corner as I moved to Voice and Dialect, providing much needed opportunities to hone my craft. Without them, my journey would have been very different and I will always be grateful.
RIP dear man. You are loved and I will miss you dearly. A prince among men and I am grateful for the times we shared.
It was back in the 1980s when I first met Chris Thompson, a quiet and gentle man. Dungeness beach comes to mind, and from then on, I worked with him on many films for the next twenty-five years, which included Hallmark films, working in Turkey, Malta and Spain.
As the unit nurse, I was in the unique position to be a close observer of the process of film making, and how the different cogs came together in their diverse and marvellously creative ways to generate the end product, but it was the production office that members of the different departments turned to when things were getting difficult.
It was always a pleasure when I worked with Chris because he seemed to negotiate his way through the passion, freneticism, and exhaustion of film making, steering the disparate cogs together and giving a stable heart to what for the course of the project became a family, but like all families, they could squabble.
As others have noted, he had the ability to remain calm in the centre of the storm.
He treated me with such generosity and would insist that the production team should treat me to a posh dinner in London to thank me for my work. I felt humbled.
He became a friend, a friend I valued and honoured. I think it was his gentleness that drew me, he was just himself.
I also remember relaxed lunches in the south of France on Love Actually, what lovely memories.
Thank you, Chris.
Mel Claus Crawford
Am so very sad to hear that Chris has passed. My love & thoughts go out to his family. I did a few jobs with Chris over the years but hands down my favourite job was in Turkey on "Jason & the Argonauts". Chris was amazing. So knowledgeable and kind and funny and smart and eloquent and most above gentle. He was the true definition of a gentleman. He is the mentor I always hope to emulate. We all had a blast on that project because of Chris' great leadership & sense of fun. RIP Chris. You will be greatly missed. Xxx
A terrible blow!!! He is a great loss to so many people and to the film industry.I have always been very fond of Chris. I met him thru’ his late father Neville in 1981 when we did Terry Gilliam’s ‘Time Bandits’. In 1985 Terry’s ‘Brazil’. In 1988 we were in Bulawayo on Chris Menges ‘A World Apart’. Chris was a damned good 2nd, was brilliant on A World Apart and the other productions that we did. No wonder he went into production, where he rapidly climbed My next encounter with Chris, he as a Producer in’95, was on Christopher Hampton's ‘Carrington’.
One could write a book about Chris - a great man! My memories of Chris will stay with me for ever.
I was lucky to be Chris’s Production Runner on ‘A Kiss before Dying’, ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’. He also gave me some of my earliest work as an Assistant Director and was always encouraging and supportive.
Chris was one of the kindest, nicest men I’ve worked with in the industry and we kept in touch for many years, so it is with great sadness to hear of his passing. He was a thoughtful man, but with a great sense of fun.
The industry will miss you. Thanks Chris.
Chris was the 2nd AD on Full Metal Jacket , just the two of us , we didn’t need any others apparently .
There was a calmness within him whatever came his way, diligent, a good sense of humour, a thoroughly nice person .
Working with Stanley was always a mixture of chess and table tennis, you had to have thought out planned replies, other times you needed to get in a quick return. Chris played the chess game with his trademark calmness.
I had worked with his father Neville previously , the apple did not fall far from the tree.
Chris was simply the kindest, most considerate and thoughtful human being you could ever hope to meet. I worked with Chris many times over the years, on shows like’ Strike back’, ‘The Terror’ and more recently ‘Brave New World’.
As a Producer he was the ‘capo di tutti capi’ always helping to navigate the ship through the stormiest seas. Coming from an AD background, Chris always had immense respect for his 1stAD and AD team. He always brought out the best in you. I was always overjoyed every time he picked up the phone to ask me to join him on another adventure as he always made it a real pleasure. He will always be my Guv’nor and we will never forget him. My deepest condolences to his wonderful family. May the angels watch over him, in Gods golden fields.
First worked with Chris in 1984 on the film “Dreamchild” when he was a 2nd AD and I was the 3rd AD. Guy Travers was the 1st, I called us the virgo team.
Have worked with Chris many times since, the last time was in 2017.
As you can imagine I have many fond memories of Chris over those years. Meeting up on a weekend whilst working with him in Budapest to watch Crystal Palace play Chelsea at a bar. He took defeat (I was glad to say at the time) with the grace and dignity that has always accompanied him.
One of the most abiding memories I have was when working with him on a production in London in 1994 which came out as “The Infiltrator”. I was the 2nd AD, Chris the Line Producer. One morning a particular Actor was late for work so I informed the 1st AD of this. When the Actor eventually turned up we rushed him through the process to get him on set. After a while the Actor came out of the building that we were filming in and berated me saying he was not late. The Director (who will also remain nameless) came out and said he was not late and that he said he wasn’t called for Make Up. I suggested the Director go and speak to the Actor’s driver who was standing nearby as was Chris. The Director didn’t do this and went straight back to the set. I said to Chris that I don’t need this therefore I’m packing up my stuff and leaving. As I approached my car with key in hand the Actor came out put his arms around me apologising profusely. As the Actor then returned to the set Chris quite glibly said “Well thank god for that. You can go back to work now Trevor.” The kind of calmness and wisdom with which I always associate with him.
Will miss him greatly. Farewell my friend. Thanks for all the kindness and support you have shown me throughout my career.