Colin Lomax Remembered
Colin Lomax, an industry stalwart who had worked successfully across all aspects of the business, from sales to marketing, from production to executive producing, from VHS to svod services, died unexpectedly on December 28 at the all-too-young age of 56.
Here, in the first of what we hope will be a number of articles, some of his friends and colleagues from the 30-years plus he worked in the video industry remember working – and socialising – with a man that many were proud to call a friend and a true champion of our business.
We will be adding further tributes from friends and colleagues. If anyone wants to share memories of Colin please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org…
“It is with profound regret and sadness that we announce the untimely death of Colin Lomax, managing director of Manga Entertainment, at the age of 56. Colin was very much a founder of the home entertainment industry in the UK joining VCI as its first sales person, from the music industry, at its launch in 1985. As the company expanded rapidly, Colin progressed to the role of sales director and ultimately managing director. As pioneers of the UK video sell-through market, within 10 years of launch, the company floated on the UK stock market in 1994 becoming the leading independent video publisher in the UK. In 1995, he joined PolyGram Filmed Entertainment as sales director, responsible for the UK video sell through operation, a role which expanded further when Universal acquired PolyGram in 1998. Latterly, he created and ran Playback – Universal’s successful label specialising in classic and cult TV. In 2004, he set up Maximum Entertainment which also specialised in cult TV, with his former VCI boss Steve Ayres, and the company was subsequently acquired by MBL. In 2006, Colin joined the Starz Media Group as managing director for Anchor Bay Entertainment UK where he oversaw a sustained period of growth and saw the company diversify into previously non-traditional genres such as comedy with releases from artists including Lee Mack and Al Murray. In 2015, he led a management buyout of Anchor Bay and its anime division Manga Entertainment from the US parent company with the former being rebranded as Platform Entertainment and oversaw the company’s move into film production. In 2016, the Platform label was acquired by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, allowing Colin to develop the Manga Entertainment division as a standalone entity into a fully-fledged content business. Under Colin’s stewardship, the company recently announced its move into content production (Cannon Busters) in a venture with Netflix – the first of a number of productions in development. He also created an international sales arm as the company seeks to broaden its reach within the anime sector. That 2017 was the label’s most successful year in its history is a fitting tribute to Colin’s commitment, dedication and drive. The company will continue to develop his legacy in the months and years ahead. The team here at Manga Entertainment is deeply shocked and saddened at Colin’s passing and our thoughts are with his wife, Lisa, at this time. We’d like to thank everyone for the tributes and many messages of support and condolence we have received.”
Manga statement on Colin Lomax
“I’m shocked and truly saddened by Colin’s sudden death.
“The Thursday before Christmas we were tying up some year-end loose ends and he was joking about (and having a bit of a moan!) but was genuinely upbeat and enthusiastic – even after all these years – about the year ahead.
“He had such experience of the industry – Colin was always looking for the angle, was always ‘to the point’, was very trusting, was a ‘bit’ of a grump but you always knew where you stood with him, was a good bloke and having worked with him closely over the past seven years, he will be sorely missed. It’s such a tragedy to lose him at such a young age.”
Charles Fotheringham, Manga
“I had the privilege of working with Colin on a day to day basis for the past 12 years. He was an excellent manager with a keen entrepreneurial streak and eye for detail. He was my friend, mentor and for the past several years my business partner. My journey from marketing executive to chief operating officer would not have happened without Colin’s trust and support. He made me a better person and I will sorely miss him.”
Jerome Mazandarani, Manga
“Colin was such a big part of my life, both personally and professionally for such a long time, he was more like a big brother than a work colleague, he is going to leave such a big hole in my life. He was a wind-up merchant, a joker, a drinking companion, a pool partner, a confidant and a very good friend. He leaves behind some wonderful memories, some hilarious anecdotes and a vast group of people whose lives he touched. My thoughts and love are with his wife Lisa.
Rod Smith, producer, Evolution Pictures, formerly at Starz/Anchor Bay/Platform
“Colin was one of the very first people into what was, at the time, the brand new sell through video industry. I interviewed him for a northern based sales job at the end of 1985 when VCI had only been trading a few months and he was the truly outstanding candidate.
“During his time with the company he progressed to national sales manager, sales director, sales and marketing director and ultimately managing director of the video company.
“He was always great fun and went the extra mile to make company conferences and parties that bit more special.
“VCI became a very active media group with much corporate activity such as a stock market flotation, company acquisitions and disposals, start ups, mergers and de-mergers etc. As the md of the company’s biggest subsidiary Colin was key to many of these deals and he proved his talent time and again as a deal maker and in helping the group maintain its strong market position.
“After a decade or more he decided to move on. Initially into the satellite tv world and then ultimately coming back into home entertainment and movie production.
“He became a successful entrepreneur as his career continued.
“I am pleased that we always stayed in touch and we met frequently right up to the end. I will always remember Colin with great fondness and respect. I was privileged to know him and feel deeply saddened by his premature passing.”
Steve Ayres, founder, VCI
“And an inspiration to so many…..
“For over 30 years Colin has been a true friend and mentor. Always insightful with great humour and some very direct views, time spent with Colin was never dull.
“Colin gave me my first big break, something I am extremely grateful for and something he, of course, never let me forget!
“The industry has lost one of its greatest characters all too soon.”
Rob Callow, formerly VCI, now Spirit Entertainment
“I first met Colin in 1995 when I joined VCI in Watford. Colin was the managing director at the time and I had just joined the sales team. I learnt very early on that you had to be on your toes if you were going to survive Colin’s acerbic wit.
“I just about survived, and I learnt a lot.
“I’ve seen quite a lot of Colin in the last couple of years and I was lucky enough to share a long boozy Christmas lunch with him and a few old industry faces just a couple of weeks ago.
“I’m pleased my last memories of Colin will be one of old jokes, Industry anecdotes, a load of laughs and of course a bucket load of red wine.
“Colin was one of the great industry figures. He will be remembered and he’ll be missed.”
Graham Davidson, formerly at VCI, now Dazzler Media
“I feel truly devastated by the shocking news of Colin’s untimely passing. Colin was a real character, he was bright, modest, successful, private and a very proud Scouser.
“I first met him about 30 years ago when he was heading up sales at Video Collection International and I was on the buying side at Entertainment U.K., then his biggest customer. I was always struck by his customer friendly sales approach, his thorough follow up and his mischievous sense of fun – he always had a smile on his face!
“Later, I was privileged to have him as my sales director for a couple of years whilst at PolyGram Video before he was understandably promoted to head up his own division. He brought with him all those finely honed skills developed at VCI and we were all much the better for having him on the team, and just for knowing him as a great all round guy.
“We will all have so many great and funny stories about Colin. He’s going to be missed by so many and will be remembered fondly by all who had the privilege of knowing him.
“Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife Lisa and to his family.”
Eddie Cunningham, formerly EUK, now Universal
I can only endorse Eddie’s words about how much we are going to miss our dear friend and certainly my boys have lost a wonderful godfather and I have lost a wonderful honest reliable friend
Peter Smith, formerly PolyGram and Universal
“From the minute I met Colin in the Groucho I liked him. Highly intelligent, frighteningly shrewd and very much his own man he was the antithesis of the studio ‘corporate man’. When his acquisitions honcho Rod Smith bought Vendetta the two of them really got behind it and had a personal involvement in the release above and beyond what you’d expect on a big theatrical movie let alone an indie revenge thriller. Colin then lead the deal for Anchor Bay/Starz to fund four of my films per year which lead to the likes of Age of Kill and We Still Kill The Old Way. Colin was an unflinching supporter of mine, someone I could always rely on. I owe him a lot. But above and beyond that he was a mate – we had many boozy lunches in the Ham Yard or Heddon Street Kitchen. I spoke to him just a few days before he died and we were due to meet up this month. It’s hard to digest the fact that that will no longer happen. As a mark of respect we are going to dedicate We Still Die The Old Way to his memory.”
Jonathan Sothcott, Hereford Films
“I’m gutted to hear the sad news about Colin Lomax’s passing. Extremely smart, inventive, supportive, hard-working and an all-round lovely guy throughout the many key roles he held in UK home entertainment. He will be missed by the many people who had the opportunity to know him and my thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.”
Ian Dawson, formerly at HMV, now Icon
“We had plenty of run-ins when I first started my career as a buyer at EUK and Colin was sales director at PolyGram, but there was always a clear distinction between business and personal so it would normally end up with a pint by or two afterwards. He hugely influenced my career, particularly in giving me the opportunity to take over from him at Playback. I always enjoyed his company and his unique approach and sense of humour. It’s so sad to hear the news.
Kevin Dersley, formerly EUK, Tesco, Playback, now Elevation
“It’s such sad news about Colin Lomax, I first met him when he was Sales Director at Universal in the mid to late 90s. He was a Sales Director who really got involved with the promotion of the product to the retailer, and was a great supporter of HMV.”
Andy Anderson, HMV
“I worked with Colin for 10 years and stayed friends for another 15 after that. He was a lovely man. Im proud to count him as a friend. He will be missed by many.”
Johnny Fewings, Universal
“Colin and I must have first met in the late 80s as the industry bathed in the fruits of VHS, Woolworths, Our Price and others… He was dynamic, personable and led a very inspirational VCI team.
“My first clear memory was one very cold October night when VCI was based in Watford and we went to see Watford v Everton and although he was still denying it at lunch just last month, he was then am Everton fan.
“Although I never worked with Colin our paths have crossed many times, most recently in Heddon Street, where we worked. Colin can quite rightly be described as a legend in our industry and a lifetime achiever. In recent years he has led a great team at Anchor Bay/Platform/Manga and set in place a very strong legacy, when I am sure they will benefit from for many years to come.”
Paul Holland, formerly BBC Worldwide, now Dazzler
I’m sure like all of us when we heard, when I received a late night text from Matthew Graham-Clare to inform me that Colin had very sadly passed away I was completely shocked and stunned. I had only seen him two weeks before when I met up with Rob Callow, Colin, Paul Holland and Pete Meunier for a drink.
“Sitting across the table from him, he was his usually mickey-taking self and amusing company. I could never have imagined that less than two weeks later he would no longer be with us. I’ve known Colin since the early 90s from his days at VCI and over the years ended up at various parties, video launches sharing a drink with him or several. Always funny, always great with coming up with a nickname for someone. It was always Colin I bumped into at various trade shows – Brand Licensing, Toy Fair, MIPTV and MIPCOM, we normally bemoaned the state of the industry and shared the latest bit of gossip. When I left the BBC in 1996, it was Colin who was instrumental in getting me my job at PolyGram in Steve Beecham’s 4Front team. It turned out for to be an utterly life changing introduction for me as at PolyGram I met my husband Gareth. Eighteen years and one son later the rest, as they say, is history… So for me personally, I am incredibly indebted to Colin Lomax, it’s fair to say that without that introduction to Steve’s team my life would have taken a different course; I never thought about it until after I heard the news he died.
“I guess now would probably be an appropriate time to say Thank You Colin, because you really did help to change the course of my life, in a way neither of us could have ever expected! May God Bless You and I send my thoughts and prayers to his wife Lisa and family. Sleep [eacefully, you will be sorely missed and the industry will not be the same without you.”
Emma Evans, formerly BBC Worldwide, 4Front, now Abbey
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