Herogram for Ron Onions and Martin Bell in Japan

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August 5, 2015 by dontbringlulubook

August the 7th in 1969 saw BBC journalists Ron Onions and Martin Bell receive what is described in ‘Don’t Bring Lulu, Her Family’s Tale of Trial and Triumph’ as a herogram from ‘Newscasts’ in TV Centre in London.


Ron Onions, co-author of ‘Don’t Bring Lulu’ and reporter Martin Bell (who later reported from the conflict in Bosnia and then became an independent MP)

Martin Bell

Martin Bell as a journalist (Google).

were in Tokyo to cover the launch of a satellite over the Indian Ocean.

The pair worked with the Japanese broadcaster NHK.

One of the first items to be broadcast on the new satellite was an address from the then BBC Director General Hugh Carlton-Greene. The item was checked by researchers at NHK who would transmit news on the Intelsat ‘bird’. But Onions was approached by the researchers who had watched Carlton-Greene’s recording and realised one of his historical references was wrong. The item had to be edited – difficult with a piece of film which was one continuous ‘take’ by the DG with no material available to insert a cutaway. Finally, an edit was made to remove the mistake and the only way to do it was an ugly ‘jump cut’ which did not flatter the BBC boss.

Carlton Greene

Pic of the BBC Director-General (Google).

However, the Onions’ family (Doris and Sarah went too) had a smoother ten-day stay based at the Tokyo Prince Hotel.WP_20150608_16_36_37_Pro[1]


Ron,Doris and Sarah travelled on the famous bullet train to Osaka to see the World Exposition and – ate shabu shabu (raw beef dunked in boiling water with vegetables).

After 3 weeks covering the moonshot and then the launch of the new satellite it was time for the Onions’ to return to England for summer leave – 18 months after they had arrived in New York. Lulu remained in the safe hands of the nuns at Cobb Memorial School, upstate New York.

All unmarked pix property of the Onions’ family estate.


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