British television producer David Gill spent most of his career closely associated with director/silent film scholar Kevin Brownlow. Together the two created the highly successful Hollywood series that centered on the movie capital during the silent era. The duo also made three excellent biographical documentaries of the lives of Charles Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton.
The son of a missionary doctor, Gill was born in New Guinea but raised in Cardiff, England, from the age of five. After WWII ended, Gill studied dance and then toured with the Sadlers Wells Ballet. He joined the newly founded Independent Television network in 1955. By 1968 he had begun making documentaries for their London weekday station, Thames Television. At this time, Gill was traveling the world covering its hottest issues. He and Brownlow were introduced by Jeremy Isaacs in 1975. In 1980, the pair presented a fully restored 280-minute version of Abel Gance's Napoleon (1927) and its tremendous success led to their launching a series of silents on Thames. Other notable projects produced by Brownlow and Gill include a mid-'80s British cinema series that presented the personal views of three prominent directors, Richard Attenborough, Alan Parker, and Lindsay Anderson. Gill and Brownlow eventually set up Photoplay Projects in order to help them offer more retrospectives of silent films. On September 28, 1997, as they were preparing a new project on 1930s horror films for the TNT network, the 69-year-old Gill suffered a heart attack and died.