Chris Kelly’s remembers working with Bill Grundy

I was obviously presenting Scene at 6:30 as it was then called, and within about a week or a fortnight, literally, I was producing a programme called Granada in the North, which went out at 10, 10:30 at night. GIN for short, which turned out to be a rather prescient nickname, because there was a long time in the pub between 6:30 at night and 10:30! And the principal presenter of this was Bill Grundy. And Bill, on his day, was the finest broadcaster in the country, I think. We subsequently presented World in Action together for a season in vision, actually.
But there was one terrible night when the programme was done in a small remote studio, so the director was sitting some doors away in another room, so to change the shot, the camera would kind of judder up robotically and then pan and do whatever you wanted it to eventually. And one night he’s sitting there and he sits in the chair and he says, “So now I’m going to tell you a secret,” Very slurred. And before we knew what the secret was, he disappeared out of the shot completely, and the camera panned around frantically, very slowly, and finally a hand appeared on top of the desk, and he hauled himself into position again, and got fired for about the fourth time. But of course, they always rehired Bill because he was really, you know, he was a brilliant broadcaster. But he was fond of a drink, as they say. Mind you, everybody was – it was an alcoholic culture. It was the same in journalism, wasn’t it, Fleet Street was full of drunks, and yes, he just drank and that was part of the game, really.

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