I decided, having been there a brief while, the thing I wanted to do was direct, you know, sat in the back of the gallery producing a promo session – we used to run the trails through the gallery and we used to put the captions on with a manned camera crew on the studio floor, pointing their cameras at captions saying: ‘Coronation Street, 7.30pm’, which we then superimposed over the bit of Corrie that we had edited – and I thought… and I had obviously seen directors at work on other shows that I had been promoting, and I thought, “I quite fancy doing that.” I love the notion… I like the liveness of live television direction, you know, sitting in that chair, all the images before you, I thought it was quite exciting. So I applied to be a trainee director – in those days, Granada ran a trainee director course every year or two – and I just applied. I didn’t tell my boss I’d applied because I thought that was kind of disloyal. So I applied, and Joe Rigby came to see me and he said, “You should bloody well tell me if you’re going to go for these things, I could have given you some guidance!” You know, Joe wanted his people to get on, that’s why he’d hired us.
So anyway, I went for the director’s training board, and I did rather well. I didn’t get the job, Charles Sturridge got the job – was it that time, Charles Sturridge? It was either that or the time after – but I was encouraged by Joyce Wooller to not lose that ambition. So I applied again, and I didn’t get the job for the second time, I think that was right… or I was encouraged to go for a researcher’s job, I can’t quite remember – and I went for a researcher’s job and I didn’t get it. And Brian Armstrong, I think, was the chair of that board, then head of comedy, and I went to see Brian, and I said, “Joyce told me that I need to broaden my experience if I’m going to stand a chance of getting a trainee director’s job, and I ought to get into production, which means getting a researcher’s job. I applied for a researcher’s job but I didn’t get it – what can I do? I’m in a bit of a cul-de-sac here.” And I then applied a second time for another researcher’s job that came up, and I got it that time, and I ended up being a researcher on This Is Your Right, with Lord Winstanley, produced by Marjorie Giles.