Daphne Hughes’s memories of Granada’s Exchange Flags programme

There would be people sitting in the actual area of Exchange Flags behind the town hall, sitting there having their lunch and we would come out say, “Do you want to be in the audience?” I have a glass of wine and a sandwich. I’m just rounding up these people. Sometimes though, we would ring up the university, and John Moores University and Liverpool University itself where the students would come down because they got free lunch and a drink. Various people’s mums. My mum used to go, and I dare say your mums may have been, and they got lunch and a drink and I don’t think they cared who they were watching.

They had some weird combinations of people in that Exchange Flags. I remember Dame Edna Everage being on, and Les Dawson. We had some quite well-known people on that, but rounding up the audience and there was occasionally or there must have been, we did this live link from St. Nicholas Church, which is the Liverpool church at the bottom of Water Street, and it has quite nice grassed area, gardens around it. Again, we did this live link from there and I think they were… I can’t remember if it was part of a festival that was going on in Liverpool and there were various dancers and bands and again, we have to round up. Each end of the gardens had gates, so one of us would stand at one end and the other, to corral these people into being in the audience. Even if it was raining. While they were just probably trying to go from their office to a cafe or something or going home. We would just corral them in. It’s just… you couldn’t do that now.

Do you remember the programme where Roger Blythe was doing something about not being able to go to sleep?

Gosh, yes. He’d got the… we had a flock of sheep! He was sitting in bed if I remember rightly, and somebody, who again, I think this was Peter Verner, the Canadian researcher or producer, whatever his rank was, produced a flock of sheep to come in.

Got them from Knowsley Safari Park. They ran around the studio.

Yes, so I had forgotten that.

Do you remember the woman who was doing the kipper eating?

Oh, this poor child. I mean she wasn’t that… perhaps she was a teenager, but they had her eating these kippers. Had she got… I think she might’ve won some competition for eating beans. The poor kid was sick all over the studio. And no wonder! I mean, just the smell. It was just bizarre. We couldn’t do that now.

Did you think there was a sense, certainly in the early days of Exchange Flags, that Liverpool could almost do whatever they wanted?

Oh, certainly. I think so. I think that people who used to come over to Liverpool from Manchester looked on it as bit of a swanny, because they could claim an overnight and various expenses, which they could have a good time with that. I think they looked on it as bit of R&R really. Yes, it was. I just think you’re left to your own devices. Oh, dear, I do. Yes. Gosh, that business of the sheep, I’d forgotten about that.

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