Obituary – Ann Graham (nee Greenwood)


One of the pioneers of SABC TV, Ann Graham, passed away late last year after losing her battle with cancer.

Ann became known for programmes such as the first variety programme on SABC, The Knicky Knacky Knoo Show, the first Artes Awards show, and the ground breaking documentaries Urban Terrorism and Ambulance.

Because of her background and experience with the BBC, Ann was promoted to producer: Special Projects, where she handled mammoth productions such as the first Elections on SABC TV, the Funeral of State President CR Swart, and the Royal Wedding coverage of Prince Charles and Lady Dianna.

Ann started, produced and directed Police File, and wrote a drama series titled Hospital. She moved on to handle the administrative and training side of all TV staff as superintendent of English Television, a title she hated. She felt it suggested she was responsible for; “…changing the loo paper in the toilets’. Such was Ann’s down to earth approach to all the challenges she was confronted with.

She went on to handle the managing of the Magazines and Variety Departments, creating shows like Take a Break, and executive producing Prime Time and Late Night Live. Ann kept her producing and directing skills up to speed by stepping in when other producers could not make their shows. In addition, she produced and directed Ten Tonight, a tongue–in-cheek look at 10 years of television in South Africa.

Ann was passionate that programmes should be live and felt pre-recorded shows were not real television. She didn’t suffer fools lightly, was outspoken and was not scared to voice her opinion to across the board, from Prime Ministers to security guards. Ann took over all the arrangements for the CR Swart funeral, right down to the choice of flowers in the church, overriding the Head of Government Protocol and the armed services.

She was highly respected by her staff and management alike and laid the foundation stones for the South African broadcasting television we know today.

I know all of Ann’s friends and colleagues will join me in remembering the enormous contribution ‘Legs Greenwood’ (so nicknamed because the use of a photo of her legs as a background to the final credits on her shows) made to the South African television industry.

I will sorely miss Ann as my ex-wife and friend.

Ann, after 72 years, you can fade to black in peace.

Cliff Graham.


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