Alastair Mutch on how he came to join Granada

The wife’s godmother rang me one day and said, “Granada are advertising for an accountant.” I said, “Ooh, sounds more interesting than Nasmith, Coutts.” So I applied, got an invitation to go in and met the assistant chief accountant, who was Bill Dickson. 1965, so I must have struggled through that bit of the interview, and I was brought back to see the chief accountant, who was a chap called J C Robinson, JCR, and he was somebody who liked the title but didn’t really like doing much work, and he threw everything onto Bill, particularly if Sidney came around and asked an awkward question. It would be, “Bill!” So Bill would jump and do it.

Anyway, I went into the interview and Robinson looked at me and said, “Play golf, do you?” I said, “A little.” He said “Bramhall?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “I thought I recognised you.” I got the job!  He was chief accountant, not finance director. They didn’t really have them in those days, I suppose. Not that he was on the television board, I don’t think, but Joe Wharton was the finance king at Granada group, Sidney’s right hand.

Well, I walked in the accountants department on the seventh floor. I was assigned to a small group on the cost accounting side, but I suppose it must have been 25, 30 people all together. And of course in those days you didn’t have computers as such. You had a whole Hollerith department, as it was called. And everything was punched into cards. Run through the system and it sorted the cards based on the punch holes and produced all the information that you needed. We had no calculators. Different world, really. Everything was spreadsheets written out by hand and so on. So I worked there for nine months.

I have to say, I’ve always been a bit of a drifter. Fred Boud was general manager. Great fellow. He called me down and said, “Would you like to come and work for me?” I said, “okay”. I was not greatly enamoured of accounts really. So I suppose effectively I was a sort of management trainee. I worked in his outer office and he posted me for overall training to Film Ops with Bill Lloyd, Engineering with Keith Fowler, Design and Graphics under Peter Ash and a brief spell on production with Tim Hewitt. As I say, sort of management trainee, really.

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