From The Times
March 9, 2009
Sandbank was born in
In 1960 he moved
to the STC company’s transistor division where he
developed some of the first semiconductor integrated circuits to be produced in
Sandbank’s reputation for high-level original thinking helped to land him the post of Head of Research and Development with BBC Engineering in 1978. Colleagues recall how he proved a breath of fresh air. “Call me Charlie,” he insisted when referred to as “sir”. He exploited Nicam stereo sound for television, which became the world’s first digital broadcasting system, and realised the potential of high-definition television. He became the first chair of the European Broadcasting Union’s high definition TV committee that looked into the possibilities of achieving worldwide standards.
By 1984 Sandbank had become BBC deputy director of engineering. His gregarious personality and enthusiasm for projects was vital for persuading politicians and organisations to invest in new technologies, and he developed the digital audio broadcast system, DAB.
After leaving the BBC in 1993 Sandbank became a consultant for what was then the Department of Trade and Industry, advising on radio frequency bands and their standardisation. He also became, in 2001, a founding co-chairman of the European Digital Cinema Forum, lobbying government-backed bodies, including the UK Film Council, to invest in electronic digital projectors for cinemas.
Between 1982 and
1989 he was the Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in the
Principles of Information Systems Design at the
Sandbank’s engaging personality made him a much sought-after public speaker, and his web of contacts was such that his golden anniversary celebrations in 2005 required four parties.
He is survived by his wife, Audrey, two daughters and a son.