Jon Savage recalls working on the consumer programme This is Your Right

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It took me quite a while to really find an niche, and actually at the time I started, and I didn’t find a niche for very long, because actually what I wanted to do wasn’t on the agenda, and I’m also very stubborn and if I don’t want to do something I don’t want to do it, and it’s obvious that I don’t do it, so that’s always a problem in an institution. I was like that at school; I found my report cards recently. In the subjects I was interested in I did really well and the subjects I wasn’t interested in I was bottom of the class and I just didn’t care, that was the problem. Anyway, so I was happy when I was moved onto This is Your Right with Marjorie (Giles) and Michael Winstanley. …..

This is Your Right was about something tangible and also to some small extent drew on my experience as a lawyer, and I have plenty of autonomy, I’d just go off and make little films, and Marjorie was very relaxed and Michael Winstanley was very relaxed, and they treated me like an adult instead of having to do all this stupid stuff with these stupid scripts, which I just… I didn’t get it, you know, with What’s On. And I really enjoyed it actually. I remember we went up to Pendle, there was a mental hospital near Pendle, and we went up there to do a thing about care in the community, we were there for two days and it was so brutal. I remember I literally saw people crawling up the walls. They were actually crawling up the walls. I’d never seen anything like it, they took us into a secure ward and it was like a charnel house, and we were all very, very shocked. And it was all stuff like that, so it’s quite serious programming, which suited me much more to be honest than froth and the light entertainment stuff, which to be honest I always despised and I still do. But of course that is a staple of television as we all know, and really probably in to some extent realistically what pays the bills, and that was always the strength of light entertainment is that I kind you knew that’s what paid the bills.

 

And how do you think working on This is Your Right linked into the north west community?

Well, it was just very interesting. First of all I was sent out, I wasn’t in an office arranging taxes and trying to get people to come into the studio, I was actually going out to make films. And because it was very short – it’s only what, five minutes, 10 minutes max – and the great thing about This is Your Right it was a sort of fiefdom unto itself and nobody really cared about it at all. It was just this thing that they let Marjorie and Michael do, and you know they were both very nice, they were nice to me … I proved myself on that, and Marjorie was very pleased with me and Michael was very pleased with me, so I was secure in actually being in the building, which as I said before I wasn’t, I was… scraped through my six months’ probation period, and then in the middle of all this I went off and re-sat three of my law exams so that I could actually qualify as a solicitor, and then I gave up straight away.

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