John Balson’s Widow Says His Death Is a ‘Failure of the Industry’



British TV Producer John Balson.
Courtesy of Yumeno Niimura/Instagram

John Balson’s widow, Yumeno Niimura, paid tribute to the British TV producer following his death at age 40.

“John’s life is now a legacy,” Niimura said in a statement to Deadline on Tuesday, June 11. “My love for him will never die and will continue with me forever. I can’t ‘move on’ from my love for John, and I never will. Love is the only thing that never dies.”

Niimura called her husband “dedicated, loyal and hardworking,” who was her “best friend and the love of my life it took me 32 years to find.”

Niimura noted that there’s been an “outpouring of love and support” from Balson’s pals and family members since he died by suicide on May 17. She gave a sweet shout-out to his parents, who she said have “chosen to continue to love me, my daughter, and our unborn baby as an extension of their love for their son.”

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Balson died one month after he stopped working on season 3 of Channel 4’s In the Footsteps of Killers. Balson, who said he had extreme pain and dizziness prior to his death, was told by medical professionals it was likely vestibular migraine disorder.

Channel 4 ordered an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Balson’s death, Deadline reported on Tuesday. The show’s producer, Alaska TV, said the wellbeing of its staff members was of “paramount importance.”

Widow Of British TV Producer John Balson Releases Emotional Statement Following His Death
Courtesy of John Balson/Instagram

“The loss of John Balson is not just his life; it’s a failure of the industry. The industry can find a replacement the next day, but there will never be another John Balson,” Niimura said in her statement, adding that she “hopes no one else experiences what we went through” earlier this year.

Niimura noted that her husband informed her that small production companies have “unrealistically low budgets” and “often force extra work and unrealistic assignments on freelancers like him.”

Niimura recalled Balson being “genuinely excited” when he landed the gig, saying, “We were so proud as he was one of two people selected from over a hundred candidates.”

For the role, Balson was required to commute three times a week to an office that was two hours away. On top of the travel, Niimura said Balson told her he had received threats from someone associated with a person he was researching and had been blamed by the production when a family declined to take part. (Alaska TV has not addressed these allegations, citing the investigation.)

Balson believed that “stress” in his workplace was one of the reasons he was experiencing “excruciating pain.”

“It’s inevitable that he took on a massive amount of pressure,” she said. “The saddest and cruelest part of life is when the person who gave you the best memories becomes a memory. My three-year-old daughter will never remember the cherished moments she had with him.”

Deadline reported that Balson had no history of mental illness, per his family. Balson, who has worked on projects including Netflix’s When Missing Turns to Murder, allegedly struggled while dealing with difficult topics and contributors, the outlet noted.

Alaska TV added in a statement to Deadline, “It was with great sadness that we learned of John’s passing — an extremely talented and thoughtful Director, he will be hugely missed by us all. The wellbeing of our all staff is of paramount importance, and whilst we’re unable to comment further given the investigation with Channel 4, our thoughts and love are with John’s family and friends at this very difficult time”.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org.



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