Jim Grant remembers the dreaded log book

Every shift, we completed a log. It was called the log, and any mistakes, errors, or departures from the schedule, we would explain in writing. And so, generally speaking, the explanation was just read and accepted. Only in a tiny minority of cases would there be a post-mortem, which was partly Plowright and that generation of management, they stuck to what they said in as much as in order to stop too many cooks spoiling the broth. The formal situation was that the transmission controller had absolute authority on that day. Plowright and everybody could plan and dream about tomorrow and such, and the future, but on the day, it was like the transmission controller was the captain of the ship, and the admiral could butt out. And so, having said that, having set that up as their system, they couldn’t really complain about it afterwards, unless there was an egregious error.

I only really remember one unpleasantness, which is when… in due course, we’d started doing a lunchtime news bulletin that was a formal thing that was… it was a sort of thing that would normally be done in Studio 2 by the Granada Reports crew or something like that. But because it was only like a five-minute bulletin at lunchtime, it wasn’t worth scheduling anybody else to do it. So, that was a sort of extra job that got piled on transmission control because we were there all the time anyway. And so, we started doing this five-minute lunchtime bulletin, scripted by journalists and supervised by journalists, but we were, effectively, the production studio for it. And one night, we had one of these news emergencies about the IRA, actually, by coincidence. And I put together like a three-minute news report on it, using that lunchtime bumpers, you know, the intro and the outro, and making it look like an official Granada news bulletin. And I was hauled on the carpet for that for stepping on the news department’s toes. And I said, “Fine. You stay at work until 1am and you can do it. Be my guest. But if you want to go home at six, then you’ve got to leave it to us.” And it was all settled amicably. But that was more about a turf dispute rather than an error.

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