1.03From Simon Ashcroft (editor, studio director, and cameraman for BBC news & current affairs)

What a great thing it is to be an editor. It’s taking a seat in a comfy air-conditioned room, from which you go looking down a telescope at the whole gamut of production processes that have brought a film or programme to you.

From the original spark of an idea, to the delivery of words and pictures on camera, it is you, often working alone, that must weave a well told story from the numerous strands of audible and visual media in your care. Everybody involved in a production, both in front of and behind the camera, will be depending on you to show off their work at its best, often making their work appear better than it ever was, and if you do it well, nobody will even know you were there, except your closest colleagues, for the best edits are often completely invisible.

Chris’s brilliantly designed, and well-constructed book, along with a superb range of online practical exercises, will teach you to walk, even run with this craft, but to truly dance with it you will always need time, and intrinsic talent. But what is that talent?

Well, I have always maintained that you can spot the potential for a great editor in the character of a person, regardless of their training…a good sense of timing, a musicality, a gift for storytelling, a creative spark, a communicative and emotional soul. To these intrinsic gifts, which are far from unique, anybody can now add the knowledge of this book, and garnished with a little experience, you will be ready to roll. Ready to make the magic that is film and television, taking real life or fiction, and then compressing it, reshaping it into something that is as interesting and engaging as the subject can possibly allow, and yet still feel totally believable, uncorrupted, natural, and ‘just right’.

In the chapters to follow Chris, who is without doubt one of the finest editors that the BBC ever produced, will bathe you in the knowledge of all his years of experience. He will share with you all there is to know about the instruments of editing, the protocols, the elephant traps, the tricks of the trade, the pleasures and the frustrations. But only through doing it will you learn the depth of the craft, for editing is an art, just like playing the violin.

When Chris and I learnt to cut, we were lucky enough to be immersed in the talents of an exclusive club of experts at the BBC’s Television Centre in West London. Now, at last, my dear old friend and colleague Chris, the Yehudi Menuhin of his profession, has found a way to offer everybody, not just the lucky few, a set of master-classes in this beautiful and engaging craft.


From John Bartlett (producer, Goodnight Sweetheart, My Family)

Genuinely top class editing has ability to transform, what could be just a professionally produced programme, into so much more.

Chris Wadsworth is simply the master of his craft; you could have no better mentor.


From Brian Leveson & Paul Minett (writers My Family, Booze Cruise and many more)

Every television production stands or falls by the quality of its editing.

In sitcom particularly, it’s vital that a comedic rhythm is maintained. It should be like a piece of music. It also helps to know about human nature. For instance, quite often the laugh is not going to be on the person cracking the gag, but on those reacting to the line.

Great editors like Chris know this. Thanks for saving our scripts!

Opening TitlesThe scriptThe footageSample Exercises