Andre Singer describes his director’s training

I then got frustrated and said, “I really want to make these myself.” You know, I’ve now learnt enough about what it takes to want to make these kinds of films rather than just keep feeding another director each time. And unlike Chris, who went straight into directing because he had done current affairs and a little bit of World in Action and so on, I applied for the directors’ training course at Granada. And that must have been in ‘75, ‘76, something like that.

And I was interviewed then up in Manchester by Denis Forman and another panel. I can’t remember who else was on the panel. I think Leslie was one of the panel as well, but certainly Denis Forman. And it’s stuck in my mind ever since, because his leading question to me was, “Andre, why, because you’re an anthropologist, do you think that will enable you to be a filmmaker?” And not usually being very fast with the repartee, that was the one answer that I came up with, basically, I suppose, because I really believed it, which worked, which was, “Why do you think because I’m an anthropologist, I wouldn’t make a filmmaker?” And he had no answer to that.

And it was quite good because we had such a really good relationship with Denis. He was fantastically supportive from day one, and always was Brian’s backer. And he’s the one that gave Charlie Nairn the chance to move from drama into that kind of world as well. And he gave Leslie his break, and so on. I mean, Denis was a phenomenon, I thought. In fact, I did one of the very last interviews with him before he died, which was very nice.

So, I went on the training course. So, I stepped out of Disappearing World for two years, and that’s when I moved to Manchester. So, I then worked on local programmes, I worked on What the Papers Say. I even did a stint on Coronation Street. Most of it was filmmaking for local programmes.

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