Claudia Milne recalls the early programmes she worked on

It was a light entertainment programme called Nice Time. It had Kenny Everett and Germaine Greer, and Sandra Gough who was a Coronation Street star, and Jonathan Routh who had done a programme called Candid Camera, I think. It was very popular. It went out on a Sunday afternoon and they were hiring because it had gone onto the network; it had been a local programme before. It went out on a Sunday afternoon at about 5 o’clock as family entertainment. You’d do things like drag 50 sergeant majors into the studio to sing a song, or whatever. So that was how I started, working on that. I thought it was rubbish. I really wasn’t very impressed by it. It was a six month contract.

I worked with Brian (Winston) on a thing called Campaign where we campaigned for things, like we persuaded lots of factories when there were factories to allow their women employees to go out into mobile trucks in the car park to do cervical smears and breast x-rays and things. So we did socially good campaigns of that sort. And that felt sort of important.

And then I went onto World in Action in something like the summer of 1970. Basically I knew that was where I wanted to go, but I thought I hadn’t got a hope yet, that I was still too young and inexperienced. But I thought, what I’ll do is I’ll send Jeremy Wallington who’d become the Editor some ideas. I sent six programme ideas. One of them was before there was any local radio and they were just debating in parliament I think, about whether or not to have independent radio. One of them was to go to America and look at the bible-thumping stations, not that I knew anything about it because I’d never been to America. So I wrote it out and sent it in.

Wallington called me and said, “Well I like one of your ideas. I’d like to use it, with your permission.” I said, “You’ve got my permission if you give me a job.” He said, “How long have you got in your contract?” And I said, “Six weeks.” He said, “I’ll give you a trial for six weeks and if you’re no good, you’re out on your ear. And if you are good, you can stay. But local programmes won’t have you back.” So I said, “Well I’ll try it. I’ll do it!”

And that’s how I got onto World in Action. And I found out afterwards it was because there was only one woman on the team, Vanya Kewley, there was no other woman at that stage. There had been a couple of other women but they’d left in the earlier days. Ingrid Floering was one. They were doing a programme which they called I’m Alright, Jackie, which was about feminism. Have you heard of this programme? It might be worth seeing if you can get it. I think they were so embarrassed by the fact that in the Manchester office World in Action didn’t have a single woman on the production team that it suited them to hire me!

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