Arthur Taylor on the changes at GTV in the late ‘80’s

Towards the end I was doing some directing as well, and I was back on Down to Earth. And I did a film at Southport Flower Show, which is a very old, established, traditional flower show in a big park in Southport, very famous, in August, and it rained. It rained for a whole week before the show and it rained for the whole week of the show. Anyway, we made a film, I directed it, produced it and wrote it and did anything. And it was okay. But what I didn’t realise was that as the ground got more and more churned up they were putting straw down on the paths, people were walking about with supermarket bags tied around their feet, it was that bad! And there was a fungus called aspergillosis in the straw, which I picked up in my lungs. So I was off… when they finally found out what it was I was off for six months. And that’s another thing about Granada; there was no question. I mean, I got paid, and they sent me to a doctor initially, and people would come to see me. There was kind of a wonderful, paternalistic looking after you thing. And they did it with drunks as well, didn’t they? I just happened to be ill. But anyway, I think that was 1988 through to 1989, and I think that was a crucial period, because when I came back I found Naomi Sargant had gone, the commissioning editor, who by this time I was quite friendly with, but the thesis at Channel 4 was that they shouldn’t keep commissioning editors for more than seven years, then they would get a new set in. So she’d gone. Denis Forman, who had always been quietly kind of on my side, had gone, because I think when people got to 70 they had to… he was at Golden Square, but he wasn’t around in Granada. And I think Mike Scott had gone as well. He became programme controller of course, disastrously, it all went wrong for him, didn’t it? It was a terrible shame, all that. Terrible shame. We all knew he shouldn’t have been a programme controller. He was great at local programmes and stuff.

Leave a Reply