Jacki Turner on her PA training and the early programmes she worked on

This photo shows Jacki Turner (on the left) withPhil Casson & Heather Burton.

Ivy Stevens was my trainer and supervisor and the first thing you concentrate on is the use of stop watches in studio and how to cue film and time VT inserts, counting backwards to the end of the insert. I had a large watch to time the overall programme and a smaller watch to time all the inserts within the programme. I learned how to type scripts for people to work to in studio and all the paperwork associated with programme making. Then I spent time in editing which was very primitive in 1968, 2” wide tape which the editor cut and stuck together, during which I had to keep track of the exact running time. My first programme, under supervision, was University Challenge with Bamber Gascoigne. The thrill of announcing 1’00” to music question and 1’00” to picture question then the ultimate thrill of Q GONG before rolling credits and counting out of programme. Peter Mullings was the director and he got carried away when the music question was played – a frustrated conductor he would wave his arms around as if conducting the Halle Orchestra. I learnt to duck if he got too carried away.

In those early days there was a director called Dave Warwick and he covered a variety of programmes, mainly sport and light entertainment. We covered football matches in Yorkshire as well as Lancashire. We would record a match as an OB (outside broadcast) in Yorkshire then drive back to Granada to edit the highlights for transmission that evening. The trouble was that we were chauffeured back to base but I had to work on my notes and timings all through the journey so that by the time we got back to Manchester I always felt very sickly. I had to log the matches by dividing the pitch into four quarters so that a goal kick would be logged as landing in one of the numbered squares then we would look further down the notes until we found a similar event and edit out the chunk of game in between. Sometimes if it was an exciting match that had to be decided on penalties I would be so riveted by the goal kicks I’d be in danger of missing one or two!

Dave also loved his pop music and we had lots of singers and groups in studio. Again I worked with stopwatches and logged each piece of music where there was vocals/instrumentals, which I then counted to. All music had to be cleared before transmission and I had to make sure I had all the information from the artistes as to composer/publisher etc.

In those early days we did a lot of local films for Scene at 6.30 / Granada Reports. One day I found myself on a steam train heading for Carnforth….and I literally mean “on” as I was sitting on the coal tender with stopwatch and notepad. I really am a fan of steam trains! A certain young cameraman by the name of George Turner was hanging off the front of the engine, only secured by his leather belt, apparently to get action shots of the wheels and steam. What a “b” idiot I thought, never imagining that one day I would marry that “b” idiot!

Another early programme I did was What the Papers Say and we had a wide cross section of journalists who would write the script having selected various articles from current newspapers. We also had at least three artistes who read the cuttings, which had been mounted on captions. Most weeks it went well but one week we had a very inexperienced director who never seemed to get the correct caption on screen to match the voice-overs on the script. Normally this programme never went into editing but on that occasion it was the only way the programme could be transmitted.

Occasionally I worked on Cinema presented by Michael Parkinson. He was quite a character but very likeable. My favourite trip by far was to go with a Granada documentary crew to Pinewood Studios where they were shooting The Slipper and the Rose – a modern version of Cinderella. There were many well-known stars in the film such as Margot Fonteyn, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, the very handsome Richard Chamberlain of Dr Kildare fame and my favourite, Kenneth Moore. They were all dressed in Elizabethan costumes complete with wigs. It was a really hot day in summer and Kenneth kept taking off his wig and just dropping it; luckily a makeup artiste followed him everywhere and kept retrieving it. I was just dressed in jeans and tee shirt but he suddenly noticed me and said “darling you look ever so hot” and I replied that I couldn’t possibly be as hot as he was in costume and wig.

Another early programme I worked on was All Our Yesterdays presented by Brian Inglis. It described by pictures and archive film what happened in Britain and the world 25 years previously. By the time I worked on it we were in the middle of the World War Two. I was thrilled to be told that we were going to interview Barnes Wallace, the inventor of the famous bouncing bomb. We filmed him at his desk in Weybridge and there was a model of his Swing Wing aircraft that was still in the design stage. What a privilege to meet such a legend. We then incorporated the interview into a programme all about the Dam Busters. The archive footage in this series was memorable. Sometimes I had to have 2 small stopwatches plus my large programme watch as we cut between various clips of film.


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