Eric Harrison’s memories of his late wife, Meg, a vision mixer

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Meg, like me, started off in a bank, a district bank, and then decided to become an air hostess with her sister. And they worked for Cambrian Airways. And she and her sister became air stewardesses for a couple of years. Meg then had to come home because her mother was ill, and she got a job as an assistant air traffic controller at Manchester Airport. And that’s what she did. And then her mother recovered, and Meg was offered a job to go and train as a proper air traffic controller, but she didn’t like the thought of the hours. So she saw an advert for a job at Granada, which was not specified. So she went to Granada and was interviewed by the chief engineer, a man called Len Holt who said, you know, what did she do. And she said, “Air traffic controller.” Do you know anything about piano? “Yes, I play the piano, my mother is an organist.” Ah – we’d like to offer you a job as a vision mixer. So she got the job as a trainee vision mixer. And her great love was drama, and she used to sit with the vision mixers who used to do drama and watch them. And she did the first dress rehearsals and so on on Florizel Street, i.e. Coronation Street, where I came out with the famous remark, “It’ll never last more than six weeks.” And then we got married. And then she freelanced for ITN, at Harlech and so on. She vision mixed at Granada, before she’d left, the one and only opera Granada did, Orpheus in the Underworld, which took place between Studios 2 and 6. Live. And in the commercial breaks she’d move from one control room to the other control room, then they went back into the other control room where they reset. The director was Wendy Toye, Orpheus in the Underworld. (1961). And then she worked for Harlech and ITN and so on.
We met over talkback, in the case of ITN… I mean, well, I was married and all the rest of it, and then we’d had children, and she was invited to ITN to do the interviews during… I can’t remember which election it was. Anyway, I was at Huyton, doing the by-election from Huyton, and of course every outside broadcast unit in the country went into ITN and we were all on the same talkback system. And the person who was directing it was a lady called Diana Edwards-Jones, who I knew extremely well. Now, just before transmission you did a talkback check to ITN. “Hello, ITN, this is Huyton,” right? And Diana said, “Would you like to have a word with the lady you live with?” and the whole of England went (gasp). And then she then said, “It’s all right, it’s his wife.”

Did you ever find any problems working with your wife in the same company?
No, because I very rarely was in the studio at the same time as her, and she specialised basically in drama. And so consequently, never the twain had met, shall we say, you know. As I say, we got married and had children fairly early, so she didn’t go back to Granada until the children were several years old.

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