Sadly, any reflection on this year is inevitably tinged with sadness that seems to put the rest into some sort of perspective – 2013, perhaps more than any other year in recent times, has seen so many of the industry’s greatest talents taken from us prematurely. The pages within have carried more beautifully written tributes to the likes of Chris Cowpe and John Harlow than anyone would have really liked to read or write.
On Monday, the industry will gather at St Martin-in-the-Fields to remember the life of Nick Milligan, the supremely talented managing director of Sky Media, who was so cruelly taken along with one of his daughters on a sunny May bank holiday weekend that will be remembered by many for a long time.
The fact that Milligan made so many friends on the way up confounds the old lie that the good guys don’t come first
It’s an opportunity to honour Milligan for his immense contribution to the television industry but also, of course, for his friends to come together to support his brave family and remember a life lived well and to the full.
Unsurprisingly, it was the wise and wonderful industry treasure Tess Alps who most articulately summed up the feelings of many on a tribute page set up by Sky shortly after his death was announced, when the grief and sadness was still so very raw for many.
Alps recalled how Milligan often spoke of his family – his wife, Victoria (who also once worked in our industry), and his children on whom he doted, as well as his brothers and mother from home in Somerset. She also pointed out that Milligan also frequently talked with pride about his family of colleagues at Sky Media – a skilled and innovative team that he had assembled and nurtured and led with such resounding success. But Alps added that his family was bigger still – consisting of the many friends in advertising that he had made during a varied 30-year career that saw him rise to the apex of the commercial television industry.
The fact that he made so many friends on the way up confounds the old lie that the good guys don’t come first – and, for what it’s worth, as tributes go, I don’t think that’s a bad way to be remembered.
Either way, all are welcome to the service at 3.30pm to pay tribute to one of the most brilliant and warm and funny and clever practitioners of recent years, but whose memory and influence will extend beyond the temporal.
Danny Rogers is away