Letter: Sir Ian Holm was the prince of narrators

<span>Photograph: Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock

The stage fright that blighted Ian Holm’s theatrical career for many years opened out other possibilities. When I became editor of BBC Two’s documentary strand 40 Minutes in the 1980s I asked Ian if he was willing to read some commentaries. The sessions were easy to fit in with his film and TV work, and he became our principal narrator for the next four years. His natural delivery, conversational style, timing, impeccable emphases and understanding of text and subtext made him the prince of narrators.

When in the 90s I directed two major BBC films, Elizabeth R (celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s accession) and Treasures in Trust (the centenary of the National Trust), there was pressure to book a starry theatrical knight or dame as narrator. But I asked Ian. None of the glittering names could bring his gifts of intelligence, sensitivity and clarity, combined with the tone and legato phrasing of a singer. He just got everything right. And on top of all that, he was a delight to work with.

It gave great pleasure when later he became a theatrical knight too.