I took voluntary redundancy/early retirement at the age of 50 in 1991. The writing was on the wall that things were on the change in ITV. This was proved when in 1992 almost three-quarters of script supervisors were made redundant – they only kept on the girls who would act up as Production Managers etc. Vicky Standeven was head of the department at that time and was asked to prepare a list of people she would like to keep and people to let go. It was rather ironic that when the axe fell it also fell on her. Obviously there were still programmes to be made and work for all these girls but they had to join the freelance market as I had done earlier. At least you could pick and choose if your financial state allowed and didn’t have to work with Directors you couldn’t stand! Sadly the union was very weak by this time and I was told to negotiate my own rate as the union couldn’t help me – at this point I resigned. Freelance people are treated very poorly these days – on Coronation Street I’ve been on the same rate for 10 years, not having received even a cost of living rise and was then asked to take a drop of £11 per day to put our rate in line with Emmerdale. For quite a few months I refused to work on the show but then decided to take the odd contract to suit myself not Coro’s. This is only because I love the cast and especially love the crew. It’s like reuniting with my family whenever I return.
Everyone who had worked at GTV in the 60s, 70s and 80s always said we had the best of times – it was a very caring Company to work for. You worked hard but played hard. One of the early PAs, Brenda Sultan was given a position in Personnel to help staff with personal problems. This was a brilliant appointment as no one could have been more caring than Brenda. I don’t think women had the same opportunities in those days that they had later. I applied for a Production Manager’s job and reached the shortlist stage (but I have to admit to losing out to a better guy). By the 90s women were given more chances, in fact sometimes there are too many women on a production…dare I say!