A memorial service was held for Lord Tim Bell on Thursday at St Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge. Lord Grade delivered the eulogy, which he has kindly allowed us to reproduce below:
I’m not sure if Tim were with us today he would see this as a memorial service so much as a golden networking opportunity!
Timothy John Leigh Bell, Baron Bell, was born in Southgate, in North London, on 18th October 1941. The postcode, N14, will tell you that he certainly wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was blessed, however, with a silver tongue.
He made full use of this gift, as we all know. ‘The only talent I have,’ he once explained ‘is charm.’ With this quote, he certainly undersold himself for possibly the only time in his spectacular career. No one could tell me where the label ‘spin doctor’ originated, but my research certainly confirmed that he was the very first.
To Guardian readers, it was an insult. But to Tim, it was a badge of honour. He was so proud to be the first spin doctor. Many have followed, none has surpassed. He talked his way from his first job as an office boy at the old ITV television company ABC, climbing the greasy pole through various advertising and marketing companies to a job in the new Saatchi agency. The brothers had spotted him and hired Tim to provide the front of house salesmanship and relationship building that they felt they lacked.
Charles was brilliant one-to-one, while Maurice at that time was the somewhat shy, but with brilliant business brains. Tim was there to schmooze the clients. The brothers couldn’t have chosen better. Tim was born to ‘pitch’. He enjoyed the good life, fine food, fine wine and fine clothes.
But in the early days, the young Bell’s weekly salary didn’t quite match his taste.