Chris Kelly’s memories of the Bernsteins

I used to see them around a lot because that was the other great thing about Granada was they ate in the canteen along with us peasants. And so it was important, that, because you’d see them – and you know, honestly they could fire us if they felt like it – but it felt like Equity in a way. Cecil, I got to know better than Sidney, Sidney was very distant, impressive, great man I think. You know, you’ll have heard all about the Bacon painting in reception, the large screaming pope. I know how he felt sometimes. Cecil was always much more of a sort of down to earth… I don’t mean to be insulting, but more the sort of wheeler-dealer figure, you know? And I think he quite liked what I did and I got on very well with him. Sidney, I hardly dealt to apart from one dinner party, a rather terrifying dinner party. He used to invite a sort of half a dozen of us to get an impression of what we were like I suppose, and that was slightly daunting.

In what way?
Well, I was very inexperienced at the time and this sort of thing, and he asked us one by one who was our favourite film director. Now, the answer you were supposed to give was Alfred Hitchcock of course, because he produced two or three of Hitchcock’s movies. I, slightly unwisely, said I thought Alfred Hitchcock was overrated! A chilly silence descended on the room. So yes, he was slightly forbidding but we always felt that he was… well, he was Granada. His kind of socialist, cultured, mature approach, and his work in the war and so on, made him not quite a god figure, but certainly hugely respected by all of us.

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