Dorothy Byrne on how she joined Granada

I was working on the Northern Echo and I saw an advert in the Guardian for a researcher. I applied, and I found it very interesting that, when I think back, that this was an advert for the Guardian for a staff job in TV, and how that just doesn’t happen in that way any more, and I think because they advertised, you got a wider range of people going to work there, because it was open advertising. I had applied before to work at the BBC but it was obviously that I wasn’t the BBC’s sort of person. At Granada, it was interesting because I did a jolly good interview on my first round, and I didn’t do a very good interview in the second round because I thought, when I was at the BBC, it was when I started to express my views and ideas that I always found that they didn’t like me and disproved of me. And after my second interview, Rod Caird rang me, who interviewed me, and said, “You were really good in your first interview and you were really boring in your second interview, what happened?” and I said, “I was really worried that if I expressed all my thoughts and ideas, you wouldn’t like them.” And he said, “No – this is not the BBC, this is Granada – we want people with lots of different thoughts and ideas.” So I went back to do a third interview…

Who was that with?

I can’t remember. Rod Caird was there, and I can’t remember who else was there, but I think that’s really impressive that they gave me a third interview, because they could work out something went wrong. And I went to work on Granada Reports. I think this was spring 1982. And I think that’s right… we were about to have the first election at which the SDP were going to be putting up candidates. And what I remember is that I’d always heard that Granada was very left-wing, but in the Granada Reports newsroom, they took a vote, and the majority was going to vote SDP, and I was really amazed. I thought, where were all the Trots that I heard were at Granada? And most of the people hadn’t come from a journalistic background like me, I had done the NCTJ training course, and I was at first very intimidated to think that here I am in TV and they’ll all be brilliant and know everything, but actually in fact because they didn’t come from a news journalistic background, I felt it was not as difficult as I feared it was going to be. They had a system where you had a father or a mother in your first week who was supposed to look after you and make you feel good, and my “father” was Brian Park, who went on to found and run Shed, and incredibly successful, and he said to me, “As your father, I’m supposed to help you fit in in television,” or words to that effect, “So let me help you, let me tell you that in TV it’s every man for himself and every woman for herself, so you can look after yourself.” And I still see him now, and whenever I see him I remind him of this, because actually in a way that’s funny, but in another way I did need… it was a nice idea to have somebody to help and support you, because it was such a very different world.

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