David Boulton on ‘What the Papers Say’ and encountering Nigel Lawson

Of course, producing What the Papers Say was great fun as well. It’s amazingly still going. It amazingly still has the title music that I chose for it! That was a very simple job. I mean it just involved having a team of regular presenters across the political spectrum. I remember one of the presenters I inherited was Nigel Lawson, up-and-coming Tory MP and I got very cross with Nigel because every time he did the programme it became more and more of a Tory political broadcast. In the end I said to him, “Nigel, you really can’t just keep digging out stories that are favourable to the Tory party. Could we do things a little differently?” He got very cross with me and said, ‘I am the writer and presenter of this programme and I will do it my way.’ So the next time he did it I said, “Sorry, we don’t need you any more, Nigel.” And then I got a call a couple of days later from Sidney Bernstein who said, ‘What’s happened? My friend, Nigel Lawson, has told me that he’s been fired from this programme?’ I said, “Yes, well, but look at the scripts that he’s been delivering!” Sidney said, ‘Yes, well, we’ll have to find some way of sorting it out.’ The following day he sent me a copy of the letter which he had sent to Nigel Lawson which said, ‘Dear Nigel, I am sorry but I never interfere with my producer’s decisions.’ which, of course, was an outright absolute lie because all of Granada was built on the fact that there was a very, very close editorial connection between the people at the top and the people at the bottom. I mean the people in the middle, the producers worked directly to Dennis Forman, Sidney Bernstein and you made your decisions in accordance with what you felt they would agree with. So, anyway, I got away with that and that was really my introduction into Granada.

Comments are closed