Vanessa Kirkpatrick talks about Marjorie Giles, her mentor

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Working for the gorgeous, sexy, sensational, witty ,bright eyed, intelligent, terribly posh and motivational producer Marjorie Giles, This Is Your Right(TIYR).  

Journalists and ‘serious researchers’ were very condescending to researchers who worked on TIYR. We had been cast into the wilderness of ‘programme making on pitiful budgets.’ But Marjorie didn’t care. She nurtured us, fed us fantastically juicy stories about working at Granada, gave us confidence – and often came in late because her mashed up Mazda had been mashed up again. She was a dreadful driver. 

The team was very resourceful despite the meagre funding and disdain. We were always last in the queue for crew and post production facilities. Nonetheless,  Carol Townsend always made sure we had a few bob left over for a couple of bottles of plonk for the end of the week. Now, that’s the mark of an extremely good account manager!

None of us – Marjorie, Carole, Elizabeth, Oenone, Linda, Julie – had any air and graces even though we had a collective IQ that would smash today’s University Challenge contestants. TIYR was a trailblazer for network campaigning consumer programmes.

For some reason, I – not Marjorie nor the Director Dick Guinea – was summoned to see Andy McLaughlin, Editor, Regional Features. Andy gave me a right stripping off that the five minute weekday programmes and the Sunday midday half hour that I had researched on how to calculate and write up your tax return was possibly the worst and dullest broadcast in the history of television. I must admit I found it rather hard to disagree with him. I too was virtually comatose interviewing the financial advisers. BUT one viewer on taking in the programme’s advice did actually get a 2K tax rebate. Dull. Yes. Fruitful. Very definitely.

I left  – or should I say I was given mandatory leave  – in 2000.  I should have seen the writing on the wall.  I was interviewing a senior manager for a Granada TV corporate video about opportunities for the growing media graduate market. During the interview, this ‘senior manager’ explained that the average age of Granada staff was strategically declining to below 40 years – and the business objective was to make it even younger and leaner.  I was very definitely lean – but I was 43.

I can’t write a love letter to Granada –  but equally I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. Granada was the media frontier.

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