Anne McGarry’s memories of David Plowright

David Plowright was the news editor. He joined the company two years before. I had no idea what he’d eventually become, of course. And he was a 30-year-old man who was very energetic and confident, I’m even tempted to say charismatic. He was a friendly, no-nonsense type of a guy, who insisted on first name terms. So that was different, because in the commercial world of 1959, you were used to referring to your superiors as Mr. so and so. Of course, it was very rarely Mrs or Miss, because there were very few female bosses then anyway. But I won’t get on the hobby-horse. If I remember right, this first name attitude was pretty general throughout Granada. David had been on as a reporter on the Yorkshire Post, before joining Granada. I’ve mentioned about him talking about it being very visual, but he was also insistent that the news scripts were written in a direct style, sort of conversational style. Not like something which was written to be read in a book or a newspaper. So, it was their task to edit these news stories that came from the local newspaper reporters and rewrite them in the TV style. And then of course David left the news room the following year and went on to produce the People and Places programme.


David Plowright was already married; I think he had two or three children then. But during the last month of 1959 and 1960 he was much concerned about the welfare of his sister Joan as she had become seriously attached, of course, to Laurence Olivier. And when details of their relationship and the end of Olivier’s marriage to Vivian Leigh hit the national news headlines, David was particularly concerned. Because of his newspaper experience, he realised that Joan would be a target for news-hungry journalists. He made a number of urgent phone calls to her from the newsroom suggesting a particular isolated cottage where she could hide away until the news had died down. That’s what she did – and not long after, she and Olivier were married.

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