Joan Riley remembers the variety of performers on ‘Scene at 6.30’

A lot of the performers would come down chatting to us in-between, because we were permanent staff there. One day a little red headed girl, very small, about sixteen, Scottish. She came and was chatting away with us and they decided she would rehearse her song at our end. I was very grateful I had my headphones on because it was ‘Shout’, it was Lulu and it was very, very loud.

One day there was a lion. I came off the copy phone, turned round and there was a lion sitting next to me. Everybody wanted me to scream but I just thought it must be old, it’s got not teeth, but it wasn’t, it was very young and very playful. It was quite nice really.

Then another time, Desmond Morris the zoologist, he did a lot of work for Granada, brought a baby chimpanzee in to demonstrate whatever he was doing.

Vanya Kewley, she was beautiful, very small, fine boned and when she spoke you did a double take because she had a very deep masculine voice, very, very nice and perfect for television. She was a junior researcher and was discovered, she was perfect for television in every way. She was involved with this story and she’d got this chimpanzee. I didn’t think she was maternal but she was ‘oh what a lovely babe’ and she held him up in front of her and he pee’d in her face. Give her her due she laughed as much as the rest of us. Vanya turned out to be a very very brave lady, she produced a lot of programmes from Africa and she got in some dangerous situations actually. I think she broke the story of Biafra, but I’ll never forget that.



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