Joan Riley remembers the famous incident when Bob Greaves met an elephant

We had a photo call for the zoologist, Desmond Morris, who did a lot of programmes for Granada. There was a photo call for him in Chester zoo, and it was a good turn out, all the journalists, reporters and photographers were there. Each one of them trying to get an exclusive; an exclusive photograph, an exclusive comment.

I was standing with a freelance photographer from Wales and he knew that he wouldn’t stand a chance of selling this photograph because there were so many nationals there. So he said, “Is there anything else you can think of?” So I said, “Granada Reports are doing a piece near the elephant house.” He said, “I’ll go down.” I said, “I’ll come with you.”

So we walked down this path and in the elephant enclosure, there were very few people apart from the crew who were there. We got a grandstand view of Bob with his microphone starting his piece to camera. This elephant, its trunk sniffing in the air lumbered around and made a beeline straight for Bob’s private parts and started hovering him. The photographer got the picture of a lifetime because he got these couple of wonderful shots of the elephant doing it. I arranged for Granada to pay him so much for a copy that we could copy and send out. I sent some copies to Bob but unfortunately, being stupid again, I didn’t bother getting a copy for myself.

Bob said afterwards it was like being hovered by an elephant, it was very, very funny. But he was a consummate professional, apart from trying to shrug the elephant away and trying to shrug its body away, he carried on with his piece to camera no problem.


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