George Turner on his early days at Granada

So we did lots of news stories and it could be everything, you know. Some pretty horrible stories, mine disasters in North Wales. Obviously what we didn’t know was… leading on to things like the ‘Moors murders’, and that was… We did two or three days a week, we’d drive to Leeds on a Wednesday and maybe to Sheffield – no motorways in the days, in a little Bedford van which if you were lucky would do about 45mph downhill and about 25mph uphill. But it was great fun. And I think… I knew very little about professional photography in those days but I think it’s been with me all the way through my life, if I didn’t understand something I’d ask somebody. If I didn’t get it I’d ask again. And by that time Granada decided to have their own film unit, so they’d set up their own – it was a four-man crew in those days: two camera and two sound. It sounds extravagant by today’s standards but when you realise the cameras were American Oricon cameras which weighed about 42lb, wooden tripods, and the power came from a 12 volt car battery and a converter to make the power work so you could go out into the field, it just took four of you to move it all around.

So the film unit grew and grew, and I started to go… they’d ask me to fill in on another crew. So for example when, World in Action, which had been going for about a year, was suddenly coming to the north of England, they’d ask if I would go and be a sound man, help with the boom, whatever it is. But I was beginning to feel that the interests in the change of the magazine and putting the film in, and all of that lot, was hopefully where I would get to. There was then the re-organisation, and it was decided that World in Action’s main base would come from London, because they had to change how it was all going to work, that the main World in Action was going to be based in Manchester and that they would have their own film crew up here. So I then applied to be the camera assistant on World in Action unit, which meant obviously I left… In 1966 I think, or somewhere around the World Cup anyway, the World in Action unit was being set up in Manchester and I got the job as being the camera assistant. And I did that, and that was when we started to travel. I know it sounds daft now but you’d be jumping on prop planes and flying to Amsterdam. Very exciting. Or you’d get on the Granada little Dove plane, they had a sort of prop plane. Captain Walters. And we’d fly to somewhere like Gibraltar or Vienna. It would take forever. Thirteen hours or something like that I think it was to get to Gibraltar. It was a fantastic time. The adventure aspect of it all, and learning as you went along, going to new countries, different kinds of stories than what we’d been doing. Any kind of stories, from Paris fashions through to music things where we’d be in the music programmes that we’d be filming at Abbey Road, when we’d be filming with The Hollies and they were doing it on a carousel being recorded, and next door in the studio was The Beatles. I look back and think, we were there, coming out at about three o’clock in the morning. And so I’ve got some fantastic memories of all of that.

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