It was Ken who, way back in the 1960s, introduced me to the music of Delius and Bartok through his films on their lives made for the BBC television programme “Monitor”. He also made short films on other aspects of art and culture for Monitor. Here’s one dating from 1960 that he did on the playwright Shelagh Delaney (who has also died very recently):
His films were never less than interesting, and often courted controversy; most notoriously with The Devils. Apparently, the fully restored and uncut version of The Devils will be released in March next year to mark the centenary of the British Board of Film Classification. I’m sure that the irony did not go unmissed by the old devil Ken himself. He will be missed.
Update: There’s a nice appreciation of Ken Russell written by Mark Kermode here. Worth reading.