Bruce Anderson remembers working on Coronation Street in the early days of his career

You had nine months to see if you fitted in, I think they called it a probationary period, and kept your nose clean, didn’t shout and didn’t make yourself a nuisance, and then after that nine months, you then became a first year, second year, third year, fourth year, fifth year camera operator – so I just gradually went through those hoops, and during that period, I think it was the very end of the nine months, perhaps the first three or four months, you were allowed to start doing Coronation Street – but only just. And of course, that was big – because when you did Coronation Street then, you rehearsed all Thursday afternoon, the entire two episodes, just step by step, and then Friday morning you would come in and do a run, and then a dress, and then you would tape the complete episode; there was no tape-recording facility then. They would stop and start – which, I suppose, on reflection, people can’t imagine. And in some respects it was stressful, and yet I always seemed to put a pace into it. So I suppose with the first year you did your first Coronation Street, once you sort of gradually getting into that, you would sort of graduate slowly up the scale. You didn’t work all of the time as a trainee, as a junior, even going through this apprenticeship period – you still spent quite a bit of time cabling, maybe tracking a crane, or learning how to track a crane. There was no real training, it was all very much hands on, which I sometimes reflect nowadays probably simply doesn’t happen.

And this was mainly studio?

Yes. It was primarily studio work, because then there was a permanent OB crew that did all of the outside broadcast work, which ranged from Coronation Street on a Monday morning when they did the odd shots in the street, that was across the road in that little set which was two-thirds to scale, so you could only ever shoot it at a particular angle, otherwise it looked too small, and when you went through the door you went through to the other side and out into a pitch! And there was nothing there; it was just a very rough set, really.


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