Eric Harrison on the restrictions on editing programmes

Videotape as such was this technology which came in but again it was done, there was no editing, it was two-inch wide tape. You could edit it. Granada edited two programmes to my knowledge, one of which I was involved in which was Sir Thomas Beecham in London. The pictures came up to Manchester and needless to say it went over, and we were given permission to edit it. Now, in those days editing literally was cutting the tape, and the only way you could see where the pictures were was a kind of pencil, which you rubbed over it, you could see the marks of where the control tracks were. And with a razor blade you carefully cut down this, you joined the two together with a piece of sticky tape and put it through the machine. Now, because of the sensitivity and all the rest of it you could only put it through a machine probably twice before there was a gap formed, which of course disrupted the picture. But everything you did in Granada, oh, for years and years and years and years and years had to be treated as live. So if you made a mistake on What the Papers Say two captions from the end, you went back to the beginning and did it all again. So you learned the hard way, you don’t make mistakes, and so on. Same with University Challenge for instance, you weren’t allowed to edit that, apart from anything else an IPA rule was you couldn’t edit it.

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