Don McCullin

Posted on July 4, 2013

I don’t seem to watch much television these days, I just don’t get the time in between cricket, children and work. I don’t actually miss it really and the time I spend working at home I tend to flick between BBC Radio 4, 5 and 6.

However, on Tuesday I found myself watching Alan Titchmarsh designing a Mediterranean garden, followed by a documentary about the workhouses that used to be the home of the British underclass and then, finally, a wonderful documentary about a chap I had never heard of called Don McCullin.

And what a chap he was and still is. Amongst all the false elevated status of trash culture in modern Britain, this guy rapidly became someone I admired immensely.  Brought up in the slums of Nort East London he went from being a member of a notorious London Gang to become the most amazing and graphic war photographer in world history.


A shell-shocked US Marine in Vietnam photographed by McCullin

The story of his life and the places he visited such as Beirut, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cyprus and East Germany, totally gripped me emotionally; not only did he help rescue the wounded and even fake life as a mercenary in the Congo to carry out his photography, he also had a determined sense of conscience to show the world the real horrors of war and what one human in capable of doing to another.

Amongst all this emotion and brilliance, there was one thing that made me the sickest of all. The Sunday Times was once a brilliant newspaper that demanded independence and truth under the command of it’s brilliant editor Harold Evans a campaigner for investigative truth. Then the Murdoch’s arrived.

At about this time the Falklands conflict broke out and McCullin prepared to board ship to photograph his first British War. Murdoch had other ideas and with his new editor, Andrew Neil, a fierce Thatcherite, he made sure that McCullin had no place on the ship. The British government didn’t want real war pictures, they only wanted flag waving celebration when the Argentinian’s were defeated. That makes me feel ill.

The Sunday Times was officially no longer independent, it was a Conservative election brochure. McCullin’s Times career was over and the era of uncontrolled independent photography was gone forever. So this is freedom? They must be joking. I have always hated Murdoch, I hate him more after watching that.

Anyway, if you like that sort of thing and you didn’t see it, get on to BBC iPlayer by clicking the link below. In my opinion McCullin is a fascinating and extremely brave character who has had the most amazing life built from humble beginnings.

If not, keep flicking the channels and there should be a documentary about Jordan’s latest set of tits somewhere.…_Summer_2013_McCullin/



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