George Turner on his early interest in film-making

As a child I lived in Southport and my father, one of the many hobbies he had, was he actually had a cine camera. And I’ve subsequently seen footage that he filmed even before the Second World War. But as a child I was brought up going to the Isle of Man, and I have it here in the house, a film that he made of my sister and myself going round over five years, called Two in Search of Adventure. It’s from Laxey to Douglas and it’s the motorcycling and… but the whole aspect of it. So it’s quite a social film now when I look at it, that I’ve got pictures of myself and my sister as a ten year old and five year old. And my father had quite a successful business selling pushbikes, motorbikes, petrol and things like that, and as a child at school, I’d always spent a lot of time with my father, and he was I think quite interested in the fact that I thought we’d maybe open another shop in Ainsdale, and that’s what I wanted to do. My mother had other ideas and thought that, okay, well maybe, but maybe you should do something else.

And by the early sixties, across the road from where my parents lived in Ainsdale, one of Granada’s newsreaders, the late Peter Wheeler (pictured above), he lived there, and got to know the family because Peter had four children, and they met socially at various things within the village. And he’d happened to say to my father, you know, because he knew the film camera and all this lot, had I ever thought of having a job in television? Well the answer was no, because, you know, ITV had only been on about five or six years, and BBC probably less than ten. And Southport to Manchester, the only time I ever came to Manchester was either to go to the speedway or to the model railway exhibition that was in the centre of Manchester in the Corn Exchange. Anyway. In about 1961, a film crew was coming to film on Ainsdale beach. And Peter said, “Why don’t you come and have a look?” They were doing something with these Second World War ducks that went out to rescue people and things like that. It’s amazing what kind of stories we made in those days. And it was interesting and I was watching it all around.

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