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Film safety campaigners to meet minister after cameraman killed in stunt

A minister has agreed to meet campaigners seeking to improve safety in the film and TV industry after a cameraman was killed when a stunt went wrong.

The tragic case of Mark Milsome was highlighted during a debate on the arts in the House of Lords.

The 54-year-old, who had been involved in big-screen hits such as the James Bond film Quantum Of Solace, died after he was struck by a Land Rover during a shoot in Achimota Forest outside Accra in Ghana in November 2017.

At the subsequent inquest, a coroner ruled the risk of fatal injury was not effectively recognised or managed.

Following his death, the Mark Milsome Foundation (MMF) was launched to raise awareness about the safety of cast and production crews.

Speaking in the upper chamber, Labour leader in the Lords Baroness Smith of Basildon said there was a duty to support and protect those working in the TV and film industry.

She told peers: “Mark Milsome was well known in the film industry as an experienced, inspirational, innovative and talented cinematographer.

“The films on which he worked – Little Voice, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Brassed Off, The History Boys, The Constant Gardener and many more – are known to us all.

“In 2017 he was killed in Ghana when a stunt he was filming went horribly, tragically and fatally wrong. Three years later, in his ruling of this as an accidental death, the coroner declared that ‘the risk of Mr Milsome being harmed or fatally injured was not effectively recognised, assessed, communicated or managed’.

“That is shocking. It is also devastating as it is clear that this could and should have been prevented.

“For many in the film and TV industry, their work may also be their passion, but it is still a job and they deserve no less consideration because of that.

“Mark’s case is not an isolated one but it is one of the most serious. I pay tribute to his family, his colleagues and his friends, who have set up a foundation in his name to help protect others.”

She added: “Three-quarters of those who work in this industry have said that their safety or that of a colleague had been compromised. Most who had reported incidents wanted to remain anonymous for fear of losing future employment, and too many people who have responsibility for health and safety do not have the necessary qualifications or experience.”

Pointing to cuts leading to fewer health and safety inspections, Lady Smith added: “Those who work in this industry, which brings us so much pleasure, deserve better.”

She went on: “The will, commitment and support from both the industry and government could make a real difference and save lives. I hope that it will be possible for the minister and I to meet campaigners to discuss this.”

Responding, culture minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “I am very happy to meet Lady Smith, and the campaigners who are working to ensure that everybody can play their full part in the arts and creative industries, and to do so safely.”