Priscilla John on what made Granada so distinctive

What do you think made Granada so distinctive at that time? I think they gave you confidence. It was distinctive, because we worked on really good quality shows. We did experimental stuff as well. We worked across the board, so we understood documentary making. We understood religious programmes. We understood What the Papers Say. We…

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Priscilla John on casting for Jewel in the Crown

So Jewel in the Crown comes along.  Oh, yes. So then they needed a second casting director, and I hopped on to help Susie Bruffin. She was the lead casting director. And they hadn’t cast Daphne Manners. And I was working with Susan Wooldridge on a comedy called Repertory, about a repertory company. And we…

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Priscilla John remembers the 1979 ITV strike

Tell me about the strike.  A lot of us were badly paid, and there was a section of us, and I still can’t remember the term, what was the term? It was called the thinking in the bath time that designers, casting directors… none of us earned overtime. Production designers, costume designers. We didn’t earn…

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Priscilla John on why she thought Granada was a left-wing company

We were a very left-wing company.  Tell me about that. Because obviously, people have said that, particularly when we’ve talked to people who’ve been involved in World in Action or political programmes, but it’s interesting what you’re saying, it infused into drama as well.  Yes, most definitely. We were all left-wing. We were all Labour…

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Priscilla John on the responsibility for casting Crown Court

You had to do Crown Court. Oh, my God, Crown Court was another huge learning curve. And the actors, we used to cast them two weeks in advance, and we get the most brilliant, brilliant casts for that. There used to be long lists of actors who wanted to be the judge, or wanted to…

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Priscilla John on casting Wood and Walters

Tell me a bit about Wood & Walters and how that came about?  Well, that came about because I had cast Happy Since I Met You. And that was another umbrella screenplay. It came under the umbrella title of Screenplay. This was directed by Baz Taylor, written by Victoria Wood. This is one of her…

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Priscilla John on how to talent spot

How do you know someone is good? Is it a gut feeling you build up with experience?  I think it’s a combination of things. But mainly, it’s because they will be playing the role as if they are that person, they’re in the moment, and they haven’t come out of it once, even if they…

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Priscilla John describes how she joined Granada

I joined in 1972. In London. I was working at the Royal Court Theatre for a casting director called Gillian Diamond for a year, and she fired me, which as Lindsay Anderson said several years later, was “the best thing that ever happened to you, whether you choose to acknowledge that or not, but it…

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Stephen Kelly’s impressions of Manchester in 1978

I didn’t particularly want to go to Manchester. I had a life in London, I was very active in the Labour Party in London, I was chairman of the of the Hendon South Labour Party. I was very active. Things were great. I loved Tribune, but as I say, the pay wasn’t very good. So…

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Stephen Kelly remembers the Granada boards

They did. I mean, I’ve been very critical of these boards, because you saw it the whole way through the Granada process, is that it’s very Oxbridge. And there was a lot of bullying went on in the board, and people trying to impress other people on the board rather than really focusing on the…

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Stephen Kelly talks about how he came to join Granada

I was working for the political weekly newspaper, Tribune, at the time. I’d not gone to university until much later in life, because I’d left school when I was 16 to work in the local shipyard, Cammell Laird, and I had become involved in trade union activities. I won a trade union scholarship to Ruskin…

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Stephen Kelly remembers working in Locals

I didn’t work on Granada Reports for very long. It was suddenly the summer, and in August, nothing happened on Granada Reports, they’d just put out an evening bulletin. It was great fun, because the bulletin would last about 10 minutes. And there wouldn’t be too many of us in there, because a lot of…

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Stephen Kelly on Granada as a left-wing company

I don’t think there’s any doubt that Granada was a left-leaning company. There was no doubt – I mean, Sidney Bernstein took the Labour whip when he became Lord Bernstein. After the 1979 General Election when the Labour Party got wiped out, Granada employed Brian Sedgemore, Labour MP, Jack Straw, who’d been MP for Blackburn,…

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Stephen Kelly recalls working on Reports Politics

Just before the strike, I went to work on Reports Politics, and worked on that for a year. It was a weekly, local political programme. It was a half-hour programme which consisted of something like a 10-minute film and one, maybe two studio interviews. It had a great team working on it. David Kemp, who…

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Stephen Kelly remembers the 1979 strike

Yes, the strike was about pay. It was the summer of 1979. It was a strike that lasted for nine weeks. I remember being told about the strike, we were actually having a big lunch somewhere, I think with the Reports Politics team. I remember Gordon was there, and Jeremy Fox came in. Jeremy Fox…

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Stephen Kelly on working on Union Power

Yes, that would probably be about then. Coming up to the general election. Weekend World, which was done by London Weekend Television, was a one-hour lunchtime programme, which went out on the Sunday. And during the summer, they had a break, so Granada was given those six one-hour slots. So Gus had this idea of…

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Stephen Kelly on coming up with programme ideas

One was quite regularly writing memos to Ray Fitzwalter or David Boulton, trying to persuade them to do ideas that you’d come up with, usually for World in Action. I hadn’t been at Granada very long, I’d only really been there about a month, and I wrote a memo to David Boulton and Ray Fitzwater…

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Stephen Kelly remembers World In Action

So after the six one-offs for Union Power, I was brought onto World in Action. The Labour Party was in the process of introducing selection and deselection of members of parliament. Prior to this, if you were a member of parliament for a constituency, you were there forever. So even if the party fell out…

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Stephen Kelly describes the World In Action culture

It was a very macho culture. I was trying to think of any women who worked on World in Action at the time, but I can’t think of any at all. Claudia might have been there or there abouts, I don’t know. I can’t think of any other women who were on it at the…

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Stephen Kelly remembers the C4 programme Union World

Yes, I think probably Union World. I was always doing the party conferences every year when they were in Blackpool, so we would have the TUC, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party. You wouldn’t get all three at the same time, you would get one or two in Blackpool, so I was working on…

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Stephen Kelly senses Granada on the cusp of change

I very much got the sense, particularly into the 80s – and this is one of the reasons why I left – but from the mid 80s onwards, Channel 4 had started, and Channel 4 had broken things up and introduced these production companies. And there was the threat of the 1990 Broadcasting Act. And…

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Stephen Kelly talks about Hypotheticals

Yes, I worked on Hypotheticals from January 1982 until June 1982, and a series that was to do with the police, called The Police and the Public. Now, Hypotheticals is a really interesting idea that had been devised, I think, in the late 40s, early 50s, in America, at the Ford Foundation, and it had…

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Stephen Kelly remembers What The Papers Say

It was weekly, it went out on a Friday night. Regarded by many as the best job in British television. It was terrific. I loved What the Papers Say, I had a great time. It wasn’t over demanding to be honest. Lots of interesting people, journalists. But the routine basically was, you came into work…

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Stephen Kelly remembering the Granada 500

Granada 500 was a major general election programme, which I think started with the ‘74 general election. Anyhow, I was there in ‘79 for the general election, and did some work on the Granada 500. It’s a really interesting idea and is, like many TV programmes, deserving of some very serious consideration and reflection. What…

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