Joan Riley 1
Interviewed by Stephen Kelly, 13 November 2013
When did you join Granada and how did you come to join Granada Television?
There was an advert in the Evening News for a fast typist for the Granada Newsroom.
I applied and was asked to go for an interview; a typing test. This was 1960.
At that time the main building hadn’t been finished, so all the offices were opposite Granada in Key Street in an old warehouse.
Mrs Dixon was the typing pool supervisor and she sat me down, gave me a piece of paper and said, “type it out and if you finish before I come in, type it again.”
So I typed it and typed it again.
So she said “we’ll be in touch” and that was it.
A letter came, ‘interview with David Plowright’.
He was in transit then from being News Editor to producer but was still tying up the ends as a News Editor.
He had a brand new office, which was in a portakabin in the car park.
I knocked on the door and went in.
He was in his shirt sleeves slumped in the chair with his feet on the table.
He said “sit down” so I sat down. He just looked at me and said, “what do you think of four letter words?”
I was surprised and I just said “I don’t mind as long as they’re not directed at me personally.”
“Well the girl who had the job before you she objected most strongly.”
So I said “I don’t mind.”
That was it, that was the interview.
I never heard from them and I knew I was due to start on the 30th May if I got the job.
So I phoned up on the Thursday before the 30th May to speak to personnel and I said “Is there any chance you can you let me know if I’ve got the job as copy taker.”
She said “you start on Monday at 2pm, didn’t you get the letter?”
I said “no”.
“Oh just a minute, it’s here, it’s not been posted.”
I had a bit of a problem because I was supposed to give two weeks notice at my other job.
So I confided in the accountant Mr Jacobs. I called ‘Jack-Obs’ for the whole time I was there.
Mr Jacobs said “oh it’s alright, I sent a reference for you weeks ago and it was a good reference so I thought you’d get the job. I expected you to leave tomorrow.”
He showed me the reference and it was very good.
That really set the seal because I thought ‘Granada is not like the formal offices I’ve been used to’.
Of course it was fine and turned out to be very exciting and much better in some ways than I ever expected.
You worked as a copy typist?
A part time copy typist.
There were two of us, Joyce Maxwell and me. We started on the same day and we took over from Barbara McDonald.
Barbara McDonald moved to be a PA and the other lady was called Frida, the one that didn’t like four letter words, and she left.
You didn’t go to work for David Plowright though?
David Plowright had left, he was a producer then and was just tying up the ends, he used to come in the office quite a bit. Terry Dobson was promoted to News Editor and Donald Kerr was deputy and various people would come in and out.
Then we had Mike Hill he was deputy, Donald Kerr went somewhere.
We were on the ground floor then and they suddenly decided they were going to have a late new bulletin at 11 o’clock.
We worked 2-6.
They were going to have a late news bulletin so Joyce and I did split shifts. One week we’d have two days 10-6 and three days 6-11 and then swap round. Promptly at 8 o’clock every night we’d get the empty flask and go to the canteen for refills to keep us going.
One night there was a terrible noise outside, because we were on Key Street, and we looked out of the window and there were lots of girls.
So I got my flask at 8 o’clock and went out.
The commissionaire stopped me and said “I’ve been called to help, there’s hundreds and hundreds of girls. They want the Beatles, they’re all pressing on the car park barrier and they’ve sent me to help them sort it out because there’s a danger it’ll be broken, actually it was broken.
As he said that four young lads came up to me and one of them, I think it was John, said “hey doll, can you tell us where the café is?”
So I said “I’m going there” so we walked to the café.
On the way, the studios, if they had props that they had cleared or were ready to go in were all lying down.
Of course like four daft lads they were juggling the props and fiddling about with them. We had a real good laugh going to the café.
We parted, they went to get some food and I went to get a full flask. I wish I had got their autographs because they were so friendly. Of course you didn’t, you never ever, because it was an unwritten rule you never got autographs.
That was about October 1962 when they came.
After that they decided they were going to do a new magazine programme. It was ‘People and Places’ the magazine then with Bill Grundy and Chris Howland had a rivalry.
Bill Grundy and Chris Howland were the front men for ‘People and Places’ and after that it was Gay Burn.
They decided they were going to have a new magazine called ‘Scene at 6.30’. So the whole of the newsroom was transported to the fifth floor; it was a large studio there. From the lifts you turned right and it was the whole of the floor. A very large area for the directors and researchers and at the bottom a small office which was Mike Parkinson’s and then the newsroom. Opposite was Johnny Hamp, he had a suite; a rather nice office with Lucinda Bradbury as PA.
I don’t know whether it was a sound studio but he used to play demo records and records before they were on the air or popular.
We got used to the noise, but Cilla Black singing ‘anyone who had a heart’ was going on and on. There were two girls; one was an actress who had fallen in love and the other was a secretary who had a bad love affair.
Anyway that was where I was working when Granada broke the story about Kennedy.
On Friday 22nd November 1963, it was a Friday night, very quiet and we weren’t expecting much news stories.
I was sort of sitting there doodling, there were two big desks placed back to back, and Terry was sat facing me.
There was a freestanding television that we could both see with the sound turned down.
Mike Scott had just started his spiel and I was trying to lip read.
Terry was looking through all the stories, looking for a pun, a corny ending to the news because that was a tradition; they would look for the corniest ending to a story.
The direct line phone rang, Terry picked the phone up and he whispered “paper and typewriter quick” which I knew was a late story coming in and then he drew across his throat, Kennedy’s been shot.
Apparently Stan Kirby of the Press Association had been listening to a shortwave radio report of Kennedy’s trip to Dallas, Texas when shots were fired.
He heard shots and Terry said he could hear the noise in the background.
Terry said to him, “I’ll ring back to check.”
As he’s speaking he’s phoning on the direct line to Barry Heads in the control room.
He said “there’s been shots fired at Kennedy” and Barry Heads said “you better be right this time”.
Terry said “I’m checking” and was ringing the PA back on the other phone as he was speaking.
Of course you had to check on a story like that in case it was a hoax.
I heard him say to Barry “it’s true, shots have been fired, we think an aide has been shot but the president is alright.”
He must have been put through to Mike Scott in the studio because I saw Mike pick the phone up and his face changed.
From then on I watched as Mike Scott repeated just what Terry was saying.
First of all it was “we think Kennedy’s been shot” and then five minutes later “the president is dead.”
Apparently a tannoy had gone out, we didn’t hear it, asking for any suitable people to go to the newsroom immediately.
From it being a very very quiet office with just the two of us, it was heaving.
I was on the copy phone all night taking stories, obits, tributes from the Press Association mainly and on the other phone famous people who were ringing through.
Eric Harrison was doing every hour a fifteen minute programme. I think the station had closed down, it was just these stock press programmes that were going out.
As fast as I was typing a story, a director or researcher was grabbing it off the typewriter, taking it to be subbed down.
Eric Harrison had a lot of trouble because there was very little on Kennedy. They always have obits for famous people but with Kennedy being a young man there wasn’t very much and it was locked in the archive. So he had to pick the lock and get what was there out to fill in.
At 11 o’clock there was a special tribute programme.
Here I’ve got copies, one copy of a memo sent to everyone thanking us and the other from the PA thanking me.
So this is a letter signed by Sidney Bernstein, Cecil Bernstein, Pearce and Dennis Foreman.
So a special programme went out.
It went out at 11 but there were little programmes every hour.
I think the whole of the network closed down and Granada was, as it says in the letter, the first television programme to show it.
The Press Association sent that to thank me because it was very hectic, but very exciting.
I do hope that the records put straight that it was Terry Dobson that broke the news.
After that it was decided to have ‘Scene’ at 11 o’clock as well.
So we all went back to Quay Street side, directly above where the original newsroom had been, a very large area.
At the far end was the studio. I don’t know whether you remember it but the studio was partitioned off with a large glass partition. You could see what was going on and they could see us.
Then there was this part for the directors and researchers and we were at the far end. The camera was on light railway lines so the camera could pan from where we were, right to the bottom so they could show us working.
The union, NATKE, said ‘you’ve got to pay these people appearances fees’. Granada said no, there were only four of us. The union said as soon as the red light goes on you’ve got to walk out. So we trooped out, it was quite funny really because we’d just sit watching the television.
As soon as they finished doing what they were doing we went back again.
Granada decided they wanted a busy office.
Of course researchers and directors were never in the office and particularly when they were on air because a lot of them were in the control room.
So Granada said ‘ok, we’ll pay them’. So NATKE then in their wisdom said it’s not fair they should get the extra money, we want every NATKE cleric to get it.
Obviously Granada said ‘no way’. So it was everybody out again, four of us!
They reached a compromise; that they wouldn’t pay us, they would pay our money to a charity, which we thought was the NATKE coffers.
It must have worked out quite a bit, four times the fees.
That time quite a lot of things happened.
A lot of the performers would come down chatting to us inbetween, because we were permanent staff there.
One day a little red headed girl, very small, about sixteen, Scottish. She came and was chatting away with us and they decided she would rehearse her song at our end.
I was very grateful I had my headphones on because it was ‘Shout’, it was Lulu and it was very very loud.
One day there was a lion. I came off the copy phone, turned round and there was a lion sitting next to me.
Everybody wanted me to scream but I just thought it must be old, it’s got not teeth, but it wasn’t, it was very young and very playful. It was quite nice really.
Then another time, Desmond Morris the zoologist, he did a lot of work for Granada, brought a baby chimpanzee in to demonstrate whatever he was doing.
Vanya Kewley, she was beautiful, very small, fine boned and when she spoke you did a double take because she had a very deep masculine voice, very very nice and perfect for television. She was a junior researcher and was discovered, she was perfect for television in every way.
She was involved with this story and she’d got this chimpanzee.
I didn’t think she was maternal but she was ‘oh what a lovely babe’ and she held him up in front of her and he pee’d in her face.
Give her her due she laughed as much as the rest of us.
Vanya turned out to be a very very brave lady, she produced a lot of programmes from Africa and she got in some dangerous situations actually.
I think she broke the story of Biafra, but I’ll never forget that.
So from working in the newsroom as a copy taker, where did you go to then?
I wanted to go fulltime because my son was getting a bit older, so I applied for a job. I gave my notice in because I didn’t think I’d get a job.
Anyway, Peter Bead who used to do all the nature programmes from Anglia, he became quite famous, was head of promotions and asked would I go and work in the promotions department.
It was very, very interesting work actually because you learnt a little bit about every programme.
From there I was promoted to Senior Clark, the schedules officer, Joe Rigby and David Black.
Let’s just go back to promotions, explain what the promotions department did.
Promotions department; the duty announcer would give a run down of all the programmes for that night and would pick out the special ones, do a few more words on that. And the scriptwriters would write these small scripts out, minute long for the afternoon and evening, and we typed them out. We’d get black and white stills to promote whatever.
At that time, they went from black and white to colour, so all the stills of people were redundant.
They arranged to have a small photographic studio in the green room and it was one of my duties to collect the Coronation Street people.
They had plenty of spare time then, they used to do all sorts of things in the green room. Bill Roache and Annie Walker used to play bridge, some of them were cutting dresses out.
One day Pat Phoenix walked in. Now Pat, when she was fully made up was very imposing. She walked in and said “get that TV Times girl out of here!”
She’d guessed really, because I worked for TV Times billings afterwards, but of course I had to leave the studio.
But when she found out I was just doing my job she took my under her wing and I went on personal appearances with her. She was very kind.
She took me out a couple of times for a meal. One time there was Tony Warren, the bloke that started Coronation Street, and Tony Booth, the father in law of Cherie Blair.
It was very interesting, he’d just started to go out with Pat and he told us stories of his out of life experiences. He’d died when he was burnt and he told us these out of life experiences. I’ve never seen it in any of his books or anything written about him but it was very very interesting what he said.
Joe Rigby and presentation, had a red phone which was used to connect all the networks together and they’d have conferences. Once a week we had the red phone in the promotions department and I was connected to all the promotions departments where we exchanged film clips and stories.
You had to have lines to connect all the companies together so we had to arrange for the lines.
The promotions scriptwriters would select suitable clips of all the main programmes; Coronation Street, Family at War or whatever and these clips I had to look at and select suitable opt out points.
They usually ran about three minutes but then you had to have opt our points, thirty seconds, a minute. They went down the network and the network sent them back as well, did the same thing.
That was very interesting.
Then I was promoted when I went into presentation but that was just clerical work.
Explain what presentation does.
The schedules are in various forms. First of all it’s a skeleton where they put the main programmes in and fill in all the bits.
When the programmes are timed, we got the timings and put them in. The transmission controllers would add them up and find out whether they wanted to put the filler in. One of these clips would be filler or a public announcement.
Then the typists would type them all out and the schedules would go to various departments for them to see, particularly the press office.
TV Times billings, which I did afterwards, they used it quite a lot because they had to send the TV Times details of all the programmes.
Joe Rigby was in charge and then David Black; I worked directly with David Black, he was his assistant.
So from presentation did you then go to the press office?
Yes I went to the press office.
Joe Rigby was promoted to head of something, it was a big promotion, and David Black got his job.
David Black decided he wanted a Personal Assistant, I was just a Schedules Clark.
The transmission controllers were taken off doing the actual finishing schedule and this man and myself were supposed to do it.
I didn’t fancy it so I just went into the press office, I demoted myself actually but I didn’t want to do it.
From there I then got the TV Times billing job, which was very interesting.
I would provide all the information for programmes and I worked very closely with the picture editor Mike Hill, a very nice bloke.
He had worked for the TV Times so of course we worked very closely together. He loved his job but his family wanted to go back to London so he went back to London to TV Times and they advertised the job as picture editor.
Actually Russell Grant, the astrologer, it was through him that I got the job as picture editor.
Russell Grant wasn’t as famous, he was just getting popular and Granada did a series of programmes where he predicted the future.
Rita Don was the press officer for Coronation Street, very good, and she was given the job of looking after Russell.
Russell was so pleased because she did a lot of publicity for him that he said “Rita if you give me your astrological chart I’ll tell you all about it.”
She said “No I haven’t got one, but I know Joan has one that Bill Roache did for her.” That’s another story!
So I took it in and he read the chart.
He took me on one side, and he said “you’ve got a lot of aspects in your chart. You should be a journalist.”
So I said “I’m on the edge of it with TV Times.”
He said “no, you should be a journalist. There’s a job coming up and unless you apply for it you won’t get it. But if you apply for it you’ll get it.”
I forgot all about that.
Mike Hill of course left and they advertised the picture editor’s job.
A lot of people applied for it and on the very last day I said to Norman Frisbee, “do you know who would be just right for that job?”
I said “Yes”
“Apply for it, if you don’t apply you won’t get it.”
I had an interview with Don Harker who was head of press and publicity and shortlisted between a very very high powered gentlemen from Fleet Street and me.
Of course there was no contest.
The gentlemen from Fleet Street, of course he got the job, but the photographers and the dark room lads were not very happy.
They reasoned quite rightly, Mike was very good and they weren’t bothered very much. They thought ‘if this man comes we’re going to be demoted’ so they objected.
Granada had second thoughts because this man wanted an office of his own, a secretary, a company car, an expenses account and a very high salary.
Granada then cancelled his appointment and gave me the job.
It was the best thing that could have happened to me.
It was smashing, lots of things happened, I met lots of people, I went on location with them. I went on location with the photographer David Burrows quite a bit.
I used to work quite late sometimes because it was a very busy job.
One night I went to get the car and a commissionaire said, “can you get a photographer the bonded warehouse is on fire.”
The only photographer was David who was doing the Grumbleweeds in studio three and the red light was on. You know when the red light is on you don’t go in the studio.
I opened the heavy doors, crawled in and managed to get a message to David and we went outside. He looked at me as if I’d gone mad to bring him out of the studio.
I said, “the bond is on fire”. Well you’ve never seen anyone move as fast as David, he was out like a rocket.
He got there just before the whole building went up in flames.
They could be seen all over Manchester, it was a terrible tragedy. All the Jewel in the Crown props and clothes were in there. It was used as a studio for the inside shots of Jewel.
They had to get replacements so we were all given contact sheets of the pictures taken and lists of what was needed.
We all went through trying to find things that were needed because they had to have them.
The Jewel staff toured the antique shops in Britain and some of them had to go to India because there were Indian props as well.
So this would be early 1980s?
I’ve got the date here somewhere. They did manage to get most of the things but the one thing that was the real problem was the shawl. Now Barbara Batchelor, who was one of the main characters, they had a photocall and they had scenes at her funeral.
This special shawl was very important; it had taken a couple of months for the lacemakers to make it.
They had about two or three weeks, with a group of lacemakers go hell for leather to make it and they got it ready just before the show.
That was awful.
Did you finish your days there?
In 1988 they were offering redundancies, I wasn’t interested in redundancy but my husband said, “it’s a good offer, you might as well take it.”
After that I did personal appearances for Coronation Street people, just for a while. I didn’t have a cigar, I wasn’t Lou Grade, it was just on a personal basis.
So many things happened whilst I was there.
If you had to describe Granada as a company, how would you describe it?
Family, it was a family really. It wasn’t like anything you would expect anywhere else. There were times when it wasn’t very nice, I had type part of the transcript of the Moors murder.
I finished the story, took my headphones off and Sally, another copytaker, knocked me and almost knocked me off my seat. She took her headphones off and was crying, sobbing, “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t”.
She went to the toilet, I put my headphones on and it was the Oldham Press. We used to deal with the Oldham Press quite a lot.
I said “what have you done to Sally?”
He said “oh it’s this transcript of the Moors murder tape, Lesley Ann Downey.”
It was pretty awful, but in a journalistic way.
“I want me mam, honest to god, if I don’t get home by eight my mam will kill me.”
It was awful.
The bloke on Oldham Press said “don’t ever ever listen to the tape, it’s horrific.”
There was a piece in ‘Granada the young ones’ where Claude Wathem was quoted; that they were having a get together, a meal in the penthouse, and Mike Parkinson came in quite late, he was a young producer reporter then.
He came in quite late with another reporter, they were very pale and shaken and they’d had to listen to the tape with Lesley Ann Downey’s mother who had to identify her daughter.
That wasn’t very nice.
Was Granada a paternalistic company?
I think so and unfortunately I think the unions, in a way, stopped a lot of that because we used to get two bonuses one in May and one in October. There was one strike so they stopped one bonus and then another strike and they stopped another bonus.
They had a dove plane, that the top brass used to use and when it wasn’t used by them if people wanted to have a trip to London they could go in it.
How many companies would do that?
Of course if we went to London, ladies got first class travel, until the men objected!
In a way the unions didn’t have much to grumble about because we were relatively well played. They got a lot of perks for us but they went too far, like the newspapers. That killed a lot of it.
You had a family at this time?
I had a son, I started when he was six and when he was 14/15 I went fulltime.
So was Granada a family friendly company?
They used to have a Christmas party for all the children. Bill Grundie was quite a bluff man really but when he was a parties he came into his own, he loved kids.
Yes I think it was.
Also we had yoga, we had a yoga teacher. In fact I’ve got a photograph somewhere; they had a programme on how stress affected different people.
They had hypnotism, bio feedback, a cup of tea, yoga and something else I can’t remember.
Gordon Burns fronted it and Mrs Reedo (SP), the yoga teacher, was asked if she would do yoga on this programme. She asked me whether I would do the things with her and I said yes.
So I got my old leotard on and she went through a lot of the exercises with me. Then I was geared up, like an operation, when you have all these things attached to you.
I did my exercises and then the lights went out.
The lights had fused so they went to the generator and tried to find out what it was.
It was me apparently, there was a bad connection, I think it was me because I was doing exercises, everybody else was taking it easy.
They found out that a cup of tea was the best, then it was bio feedback, then yoga, hypnotism and the other one.
They were trying to find out how quickly you recovered after a stressful situation. They had an announcer who was suddenly told that there was a big story coming through and they tested how his reaction was. Of course I had to do these exercises and then relax to see how soon I recovered.
That was very good.
You also were involved with the Centre Players?
1970, Elaine who at that time was doing the billings for TV Times said to me “I want to go for an audition with Centre Players, will you come with me? Even if you don’t want to act you can do backstage.”
It was Granada personnel, all amateurs.
1970 was the first time I went, I’m not sure if they’d already been doing any. The first play that they did was in the green room in Peter Street. It was a bit smelly, bit dilapidated and we did ‘Spring and Port Wine’ there.
That was the first one.
Unfortunately Elaine didn’t get the part of the mother but I got the part of the slut next door.
Alan Grint was producing, he was a cameraman and the first time he produced.
He was a stickler for detail. At the dress rehearsal he said “you look too clean, muck yourself up a bit”. He got his thumb, put it all the way down my tights and laddered them.
In the review they made a mention of that.
Also a part of the story was to do with herrings and he insisted on having herrings cooked backstage.
It was the first time I’d acted since school and my stomach was churning to start with, and the smell of these herrings. I went on, did my bit as Betsy Jane and then had to go off and be sick. I was alright the second time but that was quite something.
Did you get big audiences?
When we moved they pulled down the green room, the green room was a bit bigger, but when they pulled that down we were in the stables.
There was only 100 seats in the stables and they were usually full.
The first one we did there was Billy Liar I think.
It was great fun.
The last one we did in 1977 was an old time musical, everybody did their little bit. I think it was called ‘The Godmother’ a spoof on Coronation Street set in the wild west and I was big diamond Annie Walker.
Graham Haberfield was a surprise guest, he played himself but other Granada people played spoofs of people like Bet Lynch and that was very funny.
I think that was the last one they did which was a shame.
Some very popular people at Granada, you’d be surprised when you looked through the cast list.
Kathy Arrendale who was heavily involved with the Granada foundation, I think she was Foreman’s personal assistant, she played a few parts in it as well.
Mike and Jim Newell, Mike became a very famous producer in Hollywood, he was in it.
When I was in the newsroom we had an intake of Oxbridge graduates. They were a bit green but they became very famous.
Mike Apted, who started 7up, Mike Newell, Peter Beard; it was a fantastic group of young men.
Of course they were thrown in at the deep end, they didn’t have a formal education in TV, they just had to do it and get it wrong or get it right as the case may be.
The terrible tragedy was David Burrows. He’d done the Manchester Marathon just a few weeks before he suddenly complained about back ache. We thought it was because he was carrying very heavy camera equipment.
He had a few days off work, came in and cleared what he was doing. He said to me “I think I’ve had it Joan. I can’t explain it, it’s awful.”
I said very foolishly, “look David it’s not what you think. If it was cancer it wouldn’t have come on so suddenly.”
They had a very large production of ‘The Road to 1984’ with James Fox. We had a big photocall in an open cast coal mine with James Fox standing on top of this slag heap with everybody picking up bits of coal.
He was playing George Orwell and we had this photocall on the top of the slag heap.
Then they had another one in this makeshift area where the photographers and everybody were interviewing James Fox and talking about George Orwell and things.
I was holding a large umbrella because it was a very hot day.
One of the stewards from the electrician’s union came up to me and said “what are you doing?”
I said “I’m holding this umbrella to diffuse the picture.”
“No you’re not, that’s my job.”
“What do you mean?” I said
“It’s electrician’s job”
I said “the umbrella’s out property, turn the sun down.”
Of course he just burst out laughing.
David was buying a car from overseas, you got a better deal overseas.
He said to me “when we go to the coal mine can we go in your car?”
So I said “If you drive it.”
I’d got a little spitfire and if you can imagine these two silly beggars with beanie hats on and the roof down driving through this opencast coalmine with all the miners screaming and shouting at us.
When I got home the car was absolutely full of soot and dust. So my husband got the hosepipe out and the gutters were running with coal dust.
He nearly put it on me but I managed to get in the shower first.
But then of course it was only shortly after when David died.
We went to his wedding, he married the assistant librarian at Granada in the same church that exactly a year later we went to his funeral at.
Did you come into any kind of contact with Sidney Bernstein and Denis Forman?
Well Denis Forman, I went to one of the neighbour’s funerals and Phil Griffin, who lives next door but two to me, was there.
He said “you’re in Denis Forman’s book.”
I said “he doesn’t know me from Adam.”
He said ‘you’re in his book talking about the Kennedy shooting.”
I went to the library and there on page nine, Forman, Barry Heads and David Plowright had got an ongoing bet as to who was the producer on the night of the Kennedy shooting. They all claim it was them.
Apparently Foreman went into the archives and found this piece that I had written years and years before and he used it as proof it was Barry Heads.
Bernstein, occasionally he would come round the offices; of course you had to clear everything up, no coats on chairs and everything tidy.
One day he went into the press office and Terry Dobson was quite abrupt. He put his head round the door and said “any news?”
Terry said, “I was just about to say what the hell do you think this is?”
That was the only contact I had with him.
Talking about Bob Greaves
We had a photo call for the zoologist, Desmond Morris, who did a lot of programmes for Granada.
There was a photocall for him in Chester zoo, and it was a good turn out, all the journalists, reporters and photographers were there. Each one of them trying to get an exclusive; an exclusive photograph, an exclusive comment.
I was standing with a freelance photographer from Wales and he knew that he wouldn’t stand a chance of selling this photograph because there were so many nationals there.
So he said, “Is there anything else you can think of?”
So I said, “Granada Reports are doing a piece near the elephant house.”
He said, “I’ll go down.”
I said, “I’ll come with you.”
So we walked down this path and in the elephant enclosure, there were very few people apart from the crew who were there.
We got a grandstand view of Bob with his microphone starting his piece to camera.
This elephant, its trunk sniffing in the air lumbered around and made a beeline straight for Bob’s private parts and started hoovering him.
The photographer got the picture of a lifetime because he got these couple of wonderful shots of the elephant doing it.
I arranged for Granada to pay him so much for a copy that we could copy and send out.
I sent some copies to Bob but unfortunately, being stupid again, I didn’t bother getting a copy for myself. Bob said afterwards it was like being hoovered by an elephant, it was very, very funny.
But he was a consummate professional, apart from trying to shrug the elephant away and trying to shrug its body away he carried on with his piece to camera no problem.