Brian Blake talks about the different mix of staff that worked on ‘World In Action’

The team was always incredibly small, maybe sixteen, seventeen, eighteen of which eleven or twelve were producers, so about six researchers. We tended to get all the bread and butter stuff, the hard graft of hitting the phone and knocking on doors. Very rarely did you get abroad, all that began to happen much later on. So the top side was very glamorous, bottom side was hard work; typical journalist stuff in a sense.

The people on the team are worth talking about because they were an incredible melting pot of anybody you could imagine. We had foreigners; Americans, Australians, South Africans, Czechoslovakians, we had all sorts of nationalities.

We had people from Oxbridge, red brick universities, people who came straight from local papers, national papers. We had every sort of combination of people; one had been an airhostess and never worked in television before. Gus Macdonald of course, who became editor, worked on the docks in Glasgow. We had a military policeman. Today you think people have got to do media training and come up through that way, there’s hardly any other way now to get into television. Then people were just plucked from every walk of life. The story is Mike Scott met this airhostess on the plane and thought she would make a very interesting presenter so she was hired.

There were gambles, there was no set way of joining World in Action; you could be anybody from any walk of life and if they took a fancy to you or thought you had some sort of potential then you were employed. That was the Granada ethic I suppose. It would never happen now, obviously not.


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