1918 - 2006
Peter Cadbury was the founder of Westward Television and one of the original campaigners for the introduction of commercial broadcasting.
Born on February 6th 1918, the son of Sir Egbert Cadbury, a managing director of Cadbury Brothers, the confectionary empire, Peter was educated at Leighton Park, a Quaker school, and later at Trinity College, Cambridge. He joined the Fleet Air Arm in 1940 and served as an experimental test pilot. The legendary Spitfire pilot Douglas Bader was best man at Cadbury’s first wedding. After the war he joined the Liberal Party but was soon called to the bar and appeared as a junior prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials. Following this, he joined the Keith Prowse Ticket Agency before convincing his father to lend him £75,000 in order to buy the company. This was in 1954. The company went public in 1960.
When ITV began to spread around the country, Cadbury took the chairmanship of Tyne-Tees Television and invested heavily in other companies becoming a staunch supporter of commercial television, and making himself heard throughout the country. In 1961 he won the franchise against 11 competing bids and founded Westward Television, based in Plymouth. He remained chairman and director of Keith Prowse, which became a subsidary of Westward TV until the agency was sold in 1970.
Cadbury was known as a very confrontational person, frequently rowing with his own board of directors, the press, and even his own neighbours, and frequently got involved in road-rage incidents which led to fistfights, mainly, or so it is claimed, because of his driving. He owned a Ferrari and a Bentley, numerous yachts, racehorses, properties in the West Indies, and a succession of grand country mansions, one of which had an airstrip and hangar for five aircraft.
For many years, Westward was administratively joined to Channel Television in an effort to maximise advertising potential for the two stations. But in 1980 a major boardroom upheavel led to Westward losing its franchise to TSW, which then purchased Westward’s Plymouth studios.
In 1994 Cadbury resigned from the Tory party, to which he had been a regular contributor, in fury over a series of robberies. He explained his departure in an angry article in the Daily Mail in which he regretted the passage of "the days not so long ago when we could sleep happily in our homes - or walk to the Post Office to collect our old age pensions without being mugged, raped or run down and killed by a 14-year-old in a stolen car."
He continued to harangue successive Home Secretaries about their inability to cut down on crime, advocating the return of hanging and flogging. In 1996 his own house was burgled and he lost £15,000 worth of antiques, and in 1999 another burglary cost him 40 pieces of jewellery. He famously kept a crossbow given to him by a member of the SAS beside his bed and claimed that he would "shoot any intruder without hesitation".
In spite of his volatile nature, Cadbury was also chairman of the George Cadbury Trust and directed its funds to his favourite animal charities, in line with his love of pets. He was also a trustee of Winchester Cathedral and, for the last 20 years of his life, of Help the Aged. Married three times, Peter Cadbury died on April 17th, 2006 aged 88 leaving his third wife Jane and five children.
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