Claire Lewis on how she joined Granada

I was a newspaper reporter on the Rotherham Advertiser, believe it or not, in Yorkshire where I lived at the time. South Yorkshire. I had changed my career – I was reluctantly a primary school teacher – and then got an attachment to BBC Radio Sheffield in the ‘70s when Sheffield was the most progressive local authority around, and the council leader was David Blunkett, they did attachments, secondments, for teachers to teach them to become radio producers. I went to the BBC, I realised that I’d always wanted to be… I’d actually always wanted to be a director, filmmaker. I realised, I changed my career, I got into newspapers, and after about 18 months of working on the Rotherham Advertiser, which was probably the worst newspaper in the world at the time, I decided to move to try and get into broadcasting. I applied for a number of jobs in TV and didn’t get them, and finally there was a researcher’s job advertised in the press. I applied for it, for Granada TV. I got an interview, I got offered the job – which was life changing – and a week later they ran up and they said did I want to be a researcher or did I want to be a journalist. And I said, “Well, I’d like to be a journalist,” partly because the pay was better. They said, “Well, you’ll have to come and do another board.” So I came to Granada to do a second board, and it was the day of the Woolworth’s fire in May 1979. And there was nobody around. And I did my board for being a journalist and it was all a great crisis because Rod Caird, who was running the news, couldn’t find anybody to go and cover the Woolworth’s fire, and eventually he had to send Patti Caldwell – this was right in the middle of my interview, and I remember really well. So then they offered me a job as a journalist and they said which one did I want. I went, “What? What?” It was completely crazy. I went from being a nonentity newspaper reporter on the Rotherham Advertiser to being a journalist on Granada Reports overnight.

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