The team, Advisory and Board at Sheffield Doc/Fest were deeply saddened to hear of the death of journalist and broadcaster Steve Hewlett. Steve was a Board Member at Sheffield Doc/Fest from December 2004 until October 2014, Chair of the Board from 2005 until 2011, and long-term supporter of, and contributor to, the Festival.
Steve’s friend, and successor as Chair of the Doc/Fest Board Alex Graham shared his thoughts in the Guardian’s obituary, which can be found here, and which we have here shared in full below.
We remain greatly indebted to Steve for his huge contribution to the development of the Festival, and our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this saddest of times.
“I am utterly devastated that Steve has died. It's less than a year since he called me to say he had 'some news' he had to tell me. The news was he was dying of cancer.
I first met Steve almost 35 years ago working together on Diverse Reports in the early days of Channel 4. We argued a lot. Both of us could be stubborn. Both of us often thought we were right. But out of those early encounters I grew to respect him and eventually to love him.
We worked closely together on the Board of Sheffield Doc/Fest. He single-handedly saved Doc/Fest from extinction, persuading the remarkable Heather Croall to travel halfway around the world from her native Australia to turn the Festival around. When I took over as Chair, I was simply standing on the shoulder of his giant achievements.
Steve rose to quite dizzying heights in British television, but I'm not sure the world of management suited him that much. He was a journalist above all, with a dogged nose for a story and a forensic analytical mind. In his latter years, I believe he found his metier as one of the fiercest, shrewdest critics British media has ever had. I'm not sure how we'll cope without his insight.
I last saw him about a week ago. We talked for about three hours about everything and anything. And even though he was clearly in a lot of pain, the whole conversation was shot through with his mischievous grizzly laugh.
It's barely three years since he came to my leaving party at Wall to Wall and gave a hilarious (and scurrilous) valedictory speech. I can't believe that I'm now saying goodbye to him. He was a man of utmost integrity: fierce, honest and above all loyal. I'm very proud to have been his friend.”