Like many of Britain’s contemporary film players, Simon Channing Williams worked for the BBC during the 1970s. Although he started out in the captioning department, Williams formed associations with the likes of Stephen Frears and Michael Apted through his work as an assistant director. His strongest attachment was to Mike Leigh. Since 1988’s High Hopes, Channing Williams produced all of the writer-director’s films, including last year’s Happy-Go-Lucky.
It was a testament to Channing Williams’ abilities that Leigh was not only allowed to work in his idiosyncratic way–crafting his films from months of improvisation–but also that the final product functioned as both art and acclaimed entertainment. Secrets & Lies earned Channing Williams an Oscar nomination in 1996.
Channing Williams diversified in 2000 by forming Potboiler Productions, for whom Fernando Meirelles directed both The Constant Gardener and Blindness. The 2005 John Le Carre adaptation led Channing Williams to set up a trust in Nairobi which funded schools and water tank construction. Libation was close to Channing Williams’ heart; he ran several pubs as a side line. The producer died from cancer at age 64 on Easter Saturday.