Judith Jones transcript

Interviewed by Stephen Kelly, 29 January 2021. How did you come to join Granada Television? Well, in 1980, Granada opened a news base at Exchange Flags in the centre of Liverpool, just behind the town hall. Part of the rationale for doing that was that they wanted to ensure that they still had the franchise…

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Judith Jones on leaving Granada

At what point did you decide to leave and why? Okay, so I got married in 1986, and wanted to start a family. And you married someone from Granada!  I married someone from Granada! So there were two of us juggling our careers at Granada. I was really looking forward to being a mother, and…

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Judith Jones on the gender challenges at Granada

What was it like being a woman at Granada? Okay, so at that time, the production assistant, you have to have secretarial skills, you had to be able to type, and to a lesser extent you had to be able to do shorthand. So, because of that skill set, although that was only a small…

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Judith Jones on Coronation Street and Rock Around the Dock

Well, as a PA, which was great, you worked across the whole range of programmes. So you’d do live programmes, you’d do documentaries, you’d do light entertainment, and you’d do drama. And I think drama was seen as the crème de la crème, and certainly the most senior PAs would get the really prestigious dramas,…

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Judith Jones recalls working on World in Action

And you had a stint on World in Action? Yes. All the PAs had to do – it varied, so sometimes it was 12 months, and for me it was six months – so you did six months on World in Action. Again, I suppose in later years, as the crew became smaller, I’m not…

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Judith Jones on the Disappearing World on the French Basque community

Well, also on the strength of me speaking French, another film that I did was a Disappearing World, which was about the Basques in the very south of France. Disappearing World, it was quite an unusual one for the Disappearing World series. So Disappearing World usually went off to remote areas, and with a very…

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Judith Jones on the importance of the PA to Granada Reports

So Granada Reports was the local half-hour live news programme in the evening, generally had two presenters, usually had at least one interview, and would also have lots of film or VT inserts into it. Because it was a live news programme, and because people were, for example, editing their film right up to the…

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Judith Jones describes her training to be a Production Assistant

So the role as a production assistant, it’s always a problem because it gets shortened to PA, and people always think of it as secretarial. It’s basically the organiser of the programme, and one of the good things about being a production assistant is that you are involved in the programme from the pre-production and…

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Jim talks about his colleagues at Granada

Well, Tony, I hope it doesn’t sound too schmaltzy and so on, but I miss him every day. I was not a visitor to The Hacienda, that wasn’t my thing. I didn’t know much about Factory Records and all that sort of scene. But I did know about was if anybody encapsulated the north west,…

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Jim Hancock on the night of the long knives

I don’t know how personal you want me to get here, but obviously… Luise Nandy was my producer, and towards the end of my time I used to present specials from the party conferences, and Luise Nandy was my producer. Obviously she was in relationship with Ray Fitzwalter and Luise was in despair, and Ray…

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Jim Hancock talks about Gerry Robinson and Charles Allen.

I said to you that I hadn’t enjoyed the sixth floor because David Plowright had all these political connections and didn’t need my services very much. But Charles Allen was not experienced in the political world at all. We’d actually stopped having receptions at party conferences, David Plowright phased them out a bit in my…

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Jim on the canteen

You would sit down on a table and you’d be next to someone from World in Action, and somebody else from Brideshead Revisited. I mean, I said I’d talk about that aspect of it. But no, I just think the Old School, which literally was an old school, it was just across from King Street…

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Granada and the world of politics

Occasionally I was asked to sort of step out of my role as political editor, particularly when the franchise round came up in, I think it was ‘89 or ‘90. And trying to find out what the government were going to do when they launched that extraordinary auction of franchises, and to try and get…

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On Granada’s politics

World in Action was a programme that was based on a radical and general investigation. And I think that that helped to define the personality of the company. But it was broader than that, I mean, you know, we haven’t talked conceptually about Granada, but I think it was, and its enduring image is of…

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And not forgetting North Wales

I should’ve mentioned this before, because it was relevant, at the Granada editorial map, they’d include, to some extent, North Wales. They had a lot of viewers in North Wales because a lot of them were Mancs and Scousers who’d moved out to North Wales. In fact, if you went to  Mold and places like…

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On becoming Political Editor and interviewing Margaret Thatcher.

I remember one of my first interviews was with the great lady, Mrs Thatcher, when she was privatising the water industry. And I said to her, “All they’ll be interested in is making profits,” and she pointed her finger right in my face and said, “Profits? Aren’t Granada Television interested in making profits?” And the…

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Jim on covering north west politics

My brief, and it was something that I felt very strongly about, was to report politics in the north west, and that particularly meant local government, as well as what the MPs were doing, but also go to Westminster. I had operated briefly in the BBC under a system where they had a Westminster reporter…

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Jim remembers Granada’s Liverpool office and ENG.

Very soon after I joined Granada, I was re-based over in the Albert Dock because – and there was quite a story behind this – Granada was criticised in Liverpool for being very much Manchester orientated, and as you probably know, Liverpool is a proud city and indeed a very interesting city, both culturally and…

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Jim Hancock explains how he came to join Granada.

I’d been president of Manchester University Students’ Union. And in the course of that job, I bumped into a chap called Norman Quick, who ran a big Ford car business in the north west. And he’d been made a director of the soon to go on air commercial radio station, Piccadilly Radio. And he said…

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Sylvia Cowling describes her union activities

The union, we had two shops, the live shop and the film shop. ACTT it was called in those days, the Association of Cinematographer and Television Technicians. Golly, I didn’t think I could remember that! And of course, it was a closed shop, so you joined the union when you joined Granada. Didn’t bother me…

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Sylvia Cowling on leaving Granada

At what point did you look to leave, and were you made redundant? No, no, I wasn’t. I moved on to other jobs. I moved down out of the library entirely in 1998. And that was when I became the project manager for PARIS. And then that evolved into being involved with database transfer. You…

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Sylvia Cowling on some of the famous people she met

Real relationships were set up. Sometimes people would actually come from London to view. They’d come, they’d stay overnight because they wanted to view a lot of your material. And I remember Tony Palmer came up. He was writing the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love, and making a series of programmes about it for…

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Sylvia Cowling recalls the technological changes in her role

Lynn Lloyd, who has now died, unfortunately. I remember when she was shop steward coming in one day and saying, “I’m going to America.” Oh, yes? She and somebody from the newsroom, whose name I can’t remember beyond Eleanor. I think she may have been one of the live shot people, but in the newsroom.…

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Sylvia Cowling on the role of the film library

The staff in the library were good, we got on well together and we had… people came into the library. We weren’t isolated. We were down the end of a corridor past the editing suites. But you see, editing, I think… editors and the directors used to get fed up with sitting in small rooms…

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Sylvia Cowling describes how she joined Granada

I joined in June 1970. It was my first proper job. I’d had vacation jobs before as a student and they’d been mainly, in fact wholly, in academic libraries over in Leeds, where I come from. Because we had a friend at our church who ran the art college library in Leeds, and she just…

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