Born into a mainly Irish family, Terry Ilott was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers at a boarding school in Bath. He studied fine art at Bath Academy of Art (1968-69) and Portsmouth College of Art and Design (1970-73), from which he graduated with a BA.
He was a freelance journalist from 1976 to 1983, writing mostly on cultural issues for New Society, Time Out and various women’s magazines. At the same time, he was a member of The Leveller collective, where he also acted as the magazine’s business manager.
After a brief stint as a publisher’s sales rep, he became editor of Screen International in 1983, editor of Screen Finance in 1990 and managing editor of Variety Europe in 1991. Throughout this period, Terry specialised in business and financial journalism in the media and creative industries. In particular, he wrote a weekly financial column, ‘By The Numbers’, for Variety’s weekly international edition.
He left journalism to found a management consultancy boutique, Bridge Media, in 1993. Clients included Warner Bros, Film Four, Intermedia Film Equities, Guinness Mahon, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Virgin TV. In 1999, Terry led an investor group in the acquisition of Hammer Film Productions, of which he became CEO. The group sold Hammer in 2006 and Terry was invited to become director of the Film Business Academy and course director of Executive MBA programmes at Cass Business School. He stepped down from his roles at Cass in 2010 in order to devote himself to writing full-time.
Terry has been a governor of the British Film Institute, director of Film Education Ltd, chairman of the entertainment policy committee of the American Chamber of Commerce (UK) and vice-chairman of the European Film College, Denmark. He is a two-time Guardian lecturer at the National Film Theatre and is currently a visiting lecturer on film business at the Met Film School, an occasional lecturer at the National Film and Television School and an honorary visiting fellow at Cass Business School.
He is the writer and co-author of My Indecision Is Final (Faber & Faber, 1990), author of Budgets & Markets (Routledge 1996), ghost-writer of The Second Bounce of the Ball (Sir Ronald Cohen, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007) and author thus far of three novels – Situation Vacant, The Light in the Room Next Door, and Cora Beecham (all represented by FRA) – as well as a memoir, Amid a Sea of Heretics.
A non-smoking, teetotal pescatarian (he eats fish but not meat), he lives in Barnet, north London. He and his wife have two grown-up sons.