Author of -- PLANET TECHNOPOLITANA
SHE DID FIRST
(Francis) Gladstone -- teller of tales & essayist in film &
words -- a non-scientist with an interest in science & its
By mail: West End, Hawarden, Flintshire,
CH5 3NZ -- North Wales, UK.
UK phone: 079-4133-9122 Land line 01244-537267.
Born 1941. Married first to Janet Schumacher
(1941-1970) whose death is to a degree evoked in the character of
Francine Smithson in
What She Did First.
Married since 1972 to his mentor Josephine
Elwyn Jones who has also been a historian of science and science film
Francis Gladstone is related to various
historical, political and capitalist Gladstones, good and not so good.
He & Josephine Gladstone are concerned with the
revival of the fabric design work of his mother, Isla Gladstone.
Frank Gladstone has a degree in history
and was trained at New York University film
workshop in 1965.
He continued training in film craft with the wildlife &
ex-Everest cameraman and director Tom Stobart, then in the BBC
film department, notably at Ealing film studios.
Ealing had much of the ethos and the craft
standards of the actual film studio it had been. These, 1965-67
were days when film was relatively new to British television.
The new 16mm format and new color stock developed by Kodak for
tv transmission drove an expansion of documentaries of which I
was lucky to be part.
I worked as a sound editor, assistant
editor, production assistant and then producer which, in
documentary film making, included being a director and writer.
They were great days.
From a 2018 perspective I view with regret the discipline imposed by the cost of film stock, the
relative immobility of cameras and the craft of larger, union
This is a
reflection for something important and lost -- an era in
documentary making where budgets were much higher and outlets narrower
and therefore more concentrated.
ROBERT REID & HORIZON
Robert Reid was a chemist who
had also been an army officer with experience in broadcasting. I think
it is fair to say that, until his time, science broadcasting had been
somewhat stodgy, confined to articulate scientists talking about their
work in a way that belied popularization, not a real word, I know.
Traditionally scientists, notably British scientists, disdained the
popularization of ideas they deemed generally too difficult for public
Robert, or 'Bob' Reid broke this tradition by looking not so much at
science itself as at its human consequences, notably in medicine, to a
degree when I was on Horizon as a junior producer in environmental
WGBH Boston, Michael Ambrosino
In 1972/73 Michael Ambrosino
developed and managed to obtain funds for a series dealing with science
and science issues that was cloned from Horizon, although with American
differences. It relied on a creative synergy between Michael Ambrosino
and Bob Reid who had now left the BBC science department. The series
title chosen was Nova and it has remained in production through various
changes of character over 44 years, 1974 to now.
I was lucky or privileged -- or
Michael was foolish enough to employ me -- as one of the first Nova
The series started with a strong 'journalistic' ethos. It examine the
light, or bright side of science &, like Horizon, it examined the
consequences of science, engineering and medicine.
Right: above --
Elwyn Gladstone, Matthew Peregrine-Jones, myself, Charlotte
Greggains, walking 60 miles in one day along the Thames to raise
money for Combat Stress. (My father Charles Gladstone was
imprisoned in World War I.) Right: with a broken finger hiking
in the Pyrenees.
Among My Films For
Something For Our Children (with Michael Andrews)
Conservation in the UK at the time of depletion of birds of prey
What Kind of Doctor? (with Brian Gibson)
lack of emphasis on general practice & preventative medicine in
a London Hospital.
One Liverpool or Two damage to urban
environments by 'scientific' and quantitatively based urban
Do You Remember the Memory Man science &
phenomena of memory.
What's So Big About Us? attitudes 'good' &
'bad' to Pygmy populations in West Africa, leaning strongly on
the work of the anthropologist Colin Turnbull.
The Shape of Life how genetic messages
determine the shape & beauty of life, leaning strongly on the
work of developmental biologist Louis Wolpert.
Among My Films For
Public Television's Nova 1973-1979
Strange Sleep dramatized account of the
discoveries of anesthesia from ether to cocaine & and the self
harm that happened to the doctors who discovered them. Using
real doctors as actors and the 'ether dome' in the Mass General
in Boston as it was when first used.
War From the Air historical film about the
theory (that it would transform war) and reality (that it tended
to strengthen morale) of bombing from the air. With remarkable
footage for which I thank Elsa Rassbach & Patrick Griffin - film
from Walk Disney, Viet Cong sources, etc. Narrated by Richard
The Woman Rebel dramatized life of
American feminist & birth control pioneer, Margaret Sanger, with
Piper Laurie & Paul Guilfoyle.
Hitler's Secret Weapon how Germany
exploited the loophole in the Versailles treaty of 1919 to
develop rockets as weapons of war, based on the film archive
captured by the US in 1945 along with the German rockets which
then made nuclear missiles possible. Interviews with Werner von
Braun and others, now US citizens, full of (at that time)
previously unseen film, possibly soft on the use of slave labor
to construct the rockets. Made with the late Patrick Griffin.
What Price Coal? Made when Jimmy Carter
proposed coal burning as the solution to the Middle East oil
crisis. A polemical attack on negligence for health (black lung)
and safety in deep mines, environmental dereliction in the
stripping of West Virginia mountain tops and the abuse of
Cheyenne Indian rights in the west. Controversial and nearly
pulled from showing, actually pulled in some places, led to Nova
loosing Exxon funding. Now considered by Peter McGhee, ex head
of programming WGBH, as a milestone in independent broadcasting.
The Road to Happiness based on the
extensive film archive collected by Henry Ford to record his
industrial and social empire. Both fun and ironical, see the
title. The rise and rise of the automobile, the rise and fall of
harmonious industrial relations -- the rise and fall and
recovery of the Ford dynasty as dominant. Made with the late
Across the Silence Barrier -- an
exploration of the importance to the deaf of sign language.
Where to... Science
Are we dealing enough with how science drives the economy? With
how the purpose of the economy is economic growth? With the
extent to which such growth is counter productive to other
Should humans always come first?
Cure for cancer or cure for species depletion?
Hard question, yes. Except that it is already asked as societies
determine budgets for medical research and budgets for
Are we at at point where technological fixes (notably
revolutions in food production/ in health/ in population
numbers) no longer fix?
Should we consider the morality of such fixes?
By what right do we populate/ over-populate the planet?
How violent is our touch
on the world?
A picture of what we
need --US Works Progress Administration 1935
Does the image of Planet
Technopolitana help? It suggests there is a dark side and a
light side to all our actions.
That when we tread on the earth or use its resources we can
tread lightly or roughly.
If we get to that, we get to the possibility of environmental
J. Frank (Francis)
Gladstone -- books published/an eclectic mixture:
The Politics of Planning-- monograph
published for Temple Smith 1977. An examination of the use of
false science in British urban planning (or anti-urban) in the
road and 'redevelopment' schemes of the 1960s & 1970s.
The Red King's Dream, published by
Jonathan Cape 1995 -- savagely attacked by certain critics analysis of real people
in the Alice books. Disliked for questioning whether Alice is
more than 'pure fun'. Written with Jo Elwyn Jones and based on her
analysis for a Harvard paper on the extent to which Lewis
Carroll satirized science and scientists in the Alice
books (Darwin as the bulldog, Huxley as the Ugly Duchess, etc.)
Not a commercial success as a book, later a significant success
when the illustrations were printed as prints and greeting
The Alice Companion published
academically by Macmillan & NY University Press, 1998.
title for What She Did First
Gate open or Gate
Future of sunlight or of shadow?