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the media lunch club

the media lunch club was established in 1994, by producer Martin Cahill, as a non-profit making, and politically neutral, networking society and has grown to become the film, tv and media industry's premiere café du commerce.



Monthly lunches are held in London's West End (and a Brighton away-day lunch during the summer), with an invited guest speaker. Some of our previous speakers include:


Producers: Tim Bevan, Stephen Evans, Rebecca O'Brien, Richard Holmes, Jeremy Thomas, Duncan Kenworthy, Michael Kuhn, Nik Powell, Marc Samuelson, Richard Holmes, Michael Deeley, Simon Channing-Williams, Simon Oakes (Hammer films), Paul Brett and Jeremy Bolt.


Directors: Sir Alan Parker, Beeban Kidron, Robert Young, John Irvin, Stuart Baird, Waris Hussein, Roy Ward Baker, Vic Armstrong, Jack Cardiff, Ronnie Neame, Lewis Gilbert, John Glen, Guy Hamilton and Ray Harryhausen.


Executives: Duncan Reid (Ingenious), Greg Dyke (TV), Ian Hutchinson (Silver Reel), Lord Michael Grade, Amanda Nevill (BFI), Stewart Till (former UK Film Council Chairman), Lenny Crooks (formerly of New Cinema Fund, UK Film Council), David Thompson (formerly BBC Films), Steve Christian (Pinewood Films), Peter Bennett-Jones (Tiger Aspect), John Woodward (former CEO, UK Film Council), Jane Lighting (former CEO Channel 5), Simon George (Ealing Studios Productions), Lorraine Heggesey (ITV/BBC), Dr Kim Howells MP & Shaun Woodward MP (former Film Ministers), Sara Geater (all 3 media) and Robert Duval, David Cooke & David Austin (directors of BBFC);


Sales agents: Hilary Davis (Bankside), Mike Goodridge (Protagonist), Martin Myers (Miracle Communications), Andrew Loveday (Carnaby), Maura Ford (7 & 7), Alex Hamilton (former E One, now Pathe), David Grumbach (Juliette Films, Luxembourg), Michael Ryan (formerly J&M, now independent).


Actors: Sir Roger Moore, Britt Ekland, Honor Blackman, Judy Cornwell, Jenny Hanley, Sally Geeson, Virginia McKenna, Ray Brooks, Bruce Montagu, Brian Capron, Victor Spinetti, Richard Kiel, Madeline Smith.


Writers: Dick Clement, Sir Ronald Harwood, Rob Sprackling, Jimmy Perry, Brian Clemens, Raymond Allen, Jimmy Sangster. …. to name but a few!


the media lunch club also hosts occasional evening networking events, from 2009 additional and occasional 'Briefing Lunches', (to focus on a more specialised subject in an intimate board-room setting) and during the Coronavirus pandemic switched to online podcasts, with guests in discussion with committee member and broadcaster Olly Smith.


Membership is inexpensive and open to all in the media business.


On April 19th Sir Alan Parker joined us for our 200th lunch, and cut the special birthday cake!

On April 19th 2013 Sir Alan Parker joined us for our 200th lunch, and cut the special birthday cake!

u More information about the media lunch club

next lunch

Whilst we are unable to continue with our monthly lunch gatherings in London, we’re planning on keeping the flag flying with some on-line chats and conversation – which will be available via our website and social media channels.


Podcast #6 - Michael Ryan
Film financier, sales & distribution

GFM Animation


Olly Smith chats with Michael Ryan.


Michael began his career working with Lord Lew Grade’s company, where he initially oversaw the foray into motion pictures and headed up their sales division. Later, going independent, he was half of the hugely influential and successful J&M Sales. Michael currently has two roles role; the first as Partner at GFM Animation and the other as Chairman of IFTA (Independent Film & Television Alliance) where he is serving an unprecedented fourth term. After many years of working parallel to one another, Michael and Guy Collins partnered in 2000 and together have financed, sold and produced over 250 films including The Wild Geese, The English Patient, The General, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Osterman Weekend, the Highlander series and Planet 51.


Michael is a keen singer with an amazing voice and can often be seen at industry events fronting the popular band ‘The Indies’.


He has a unique and unprecedented insight into film finance, sales and distribution.


Listen to the podcast here

  Michael Ryan

Podcast #5 - John Battsek
Documentary Producer



Olly Smith chats with two-time Oscar winning documentary producer John Battsek.


John has behind such docs as: Academy Award winning One Day in September, Academy Award winning Searching For Sugar Man, Academy Award nominated Restrepo & Winter On Fire and BAFTA-winning Hillsborough. Since 1997 he has produced/exec produced over 100 documentaries, with 5 presently in post-production.


At the recent (virtual) Cannes Marche, Screen International reported the clear winners in sales/distribution deals as being in the documentary sector. There is a greater market for documentary features now than ever before.


Furthermore, a report on the UK’s documentary film industry has called for “urgent policy intervention” as the creative sector works to rebuild in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. One suggestion is to increase the proportion of lottery funds ring-fenced for documentary from 9.1% to 25% for 2020-21. The BFI awarded Doc Society £1.8m for documentary activity for 2020-21, out of a total lottery funding pot of £20.9m. The report suggests this support should be 20-25% of the total pot, up to £5.2m. Another recommendation is to amend the UK’s current film tax relief to a rebate of up to 50% of qualifying spend, compared to the current 25% for fiction films.


Listen to the podcast here

  John Battsek

Podcast #4 - Sir Tim Rice



In our latest podcast, Olly Smith chats with lyricist Sir Tim Rice. Tim has worked on films ranging from the James Bond adventure Octopussy to Disney’s The Lion King & Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast to other major productions such as The Road To Eldorado and Evita. There are also numerous TV adaptations and stage productions including Chess, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar ... to name but a few.


Listen to the podcast here

  Sir Tim Rice

Podcast #3 - Freddie Davies
Actor, Writer & Comedian



In our latest podcast, Olly Smith talks with actor, writer and comedian Freddie Davies. Freddie started out as a Butlin’s Redcoat, before becoming a stand-up comedian and eventually a stage, TV and film actor. Film credits include Funnybones and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, whilst TV drama includes Casualty, Heartbeat, Preston Front, Hetty Wainthrop investigates, Band of Gold, Medics, Micky Love, Last of the Summer Wine and two series of Harbour Lights. He’s a terrific all-round entertainer and his chat is really enlightening. Olly mentions a recent McDonald’s commercial Freddie filmed, and here is a link in case you’d like to see it


Macdonald's Commercial

Listen to the podcast here

  Freddie Davies

Podcast #2 - Colin Vaines



In our June podcast, Olly Smith speaks with producer Colin Vaines. Colin has been an acclaimed Executive with Miramax and GK Films, along with being a producer and executive producer in his own right with films such as B Monkey, Coriolanus, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, an upcoming Sandra Bullock / Netflix movie and a biopic of Marianne Faithfull which is in pre-production.


Listen to the podcast here

  Colin Vaines

Podcast #1 - Will Smith
actor, writer, script editor and stand-up comedian



Perhaps most recognizable for being one of the writers and stars of the acclaimed The Thick Of It and writer/executive producer of HBO’s Emmy-winning series Veep Will’s writing credits also encompass: Avenue 5 with Hugh Laurie, Damned, Paddington 2, Moving Wallpaper … … and his acting credits include In The Loop, Paddington, Citizen Khan, Hampstead, Damned, Greed, and many others. Remaining busier than ever during the lockdown, Will is presently engaged scripting and producing a new show for Apple TV.


Listen to the podcast here

  Will Smith
next event



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