David Rolfe graduated, with honours, from the London Film School in 1971 and began a career making sponsored documentaries for industry around the world and the Middle East in particular. Alongside these he made trailers and specialised sequences for major distributors. These included Paramount Pictures for whom he made the opening title sequence for The Great Gatsby.
He won his own BAFTA in 1978 for the film The Silent Witness based on new research into the Shroud of Turin which revealed remarkable and persuasive evidence for its authenticity. In 1982 the success of that film led to him being selected to produce and direct the iconoclastic Channel 4’s first foray into religion with a three part series entitled “Jesus - The Evidence”. It was the first religious programme broadcast in the UK made outside of the auspices of Church advisors and Rolfe was given an unprecedented budget and a team that included the world’s most eminent New Testament scholars.
After two years of production the film was ready for broadcast at Easter 1984.The Evangelical wing of the Church, armed with stolen draft scripts, mounted an unsuccessful attempt to have the series banned. When interviewed about the programme the Bishop of Durham caused a controversy when he famously conceded that some basic tenets of Christianity were not necessary to his faith.
The most senior person in the establishment let it be known that they were "not amused" by it. This, even though the series only reported and made plain what modern New Testament scholarship had decided to keep within the rarefied cloisters of academe.
Arguably, in a minor way, this series was one of many contributing factors to the situation the Church now finds itself with the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, pronouncing Britain a “Post-Christian country”.
Rolfe, who became a Christian only after making "Jesus - The Evidence” believes that whatever may be the truth about the Shroud, its enigmatic and unexplained image of a naked victim of a Roman crucifixion provides a unique way to rediscover the historical Jesus of Nazareth that the series Jesus - The Evidence left intact along with the essentials of what made Christianity spread like wildfire. What we can be certain of combined with the irrefutable core message Jesus of Nazareth preached have been enough for Rolfe on which to build his own faith.
Rolfe’s subsequent career included producing and directing ITV’s religious strand of the ‘80s Credo, and directinganother award-winning documentary, produced by Harry Dean, on the depletion of the ozone layer by CFCs which contributed to their eventual ban in 1996. In 1988, Rolfe directed an LWT Special, presented by Michael Maclay, which predicted the imminent collapse of communism a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall and another in the same strand, produced by Glenwyn Benson, on the emerging evidence of what constituted a permanent “Underclass” in the UK. More lyrical programmes followed, with Mike Birkhead, as an independent in the 90’s with the landmark crossover series “Postcards from the Country” for BBC’s Natural History Department.
In corporate production, in the early 90’s, with business partner, Paul Kent, Rolfe made the prescient film which introduced the UK commercial world to a more coaching style of management - Coaching for Performance. Both then becamejoint founders of Performance Consultants which went on to spread this new way of management across the country.
In 2001 Rolfe indulged his personal passion for boating by inventing and patenting a new class of boat with an integral road trailer. It was voted Boat of the Year at the London Boat Show and went into production in the UK and Australia where it was known as Ezyboat.
In 2009 he returned to his early interest in the Shroud of Turin and made Material Evidence for the BBC, presented by Rageh Omaar, and then, in 2010, the official film - “Shroud - Passio Christi Passio Hominis" used by Turin for the last two expositions.
He now assists clients with their memoirs through www.memoir.services as well as doing whatever he can to resurrect interest in his abiding passion, the Shroud of Turin.
He is married to Paula Franklin and lives in Beaconsfield, Bucks.
Office, ℅ Town Hall, Penn Road, Beaconsfield, Bucks., HP9 2PP. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com