John Huntley’s memories of Tony Wilson

Tony, of course, he was presenting and reporting, Tony Wilson.

Who was presenting?

Bob (Greaves) and Tony were the sort of… incredible, weird relationship they had. Bob used to get fed up because Tony would always call him his dad and take the mickey out of him for being older. I think there was an affection there, they were both incredibly professional. Tony Wilson was the most extraordinary man. I can’t think of any other regional news presenter anywhere in the country like Tony, because of the many sides to his character that everybody knows about.

Tell me more about Tony.

Tony? (Chuckles) I will never forget producing Tony when I became a producer. It was the dull, doldrum days of August so nothing much was happening. I think it was… he came into the studio – into the building – with about one minute to go to transmission. I had actually asked for a tie, thinking, “I’ll have to do it!” it was the mid-afternoon news bulletin, not Granada Reports, that’s right. And Tony sort of walked in, “Yeah, man, what’s the problem?!” walked in, sat down, a script he had never seen before – and just did it. He was bloody infuriating. But he got away with it. I don’t think I ever realised at the time quite how significant he was in terms of the ‘Mr Manchester’ label and everything that one knows subsequently. I spent a lot of time with Tony, I was never a friend of his, I don’t think, I’m not sure many people were within the building.

Why do you think that was?

I don’t know. Partly Tony’s character, I think. I know people like Alan Erasmus quite well, who was one of the founders of the Hacienda, of Factory Records, a very different character, a more sort of open chap. I don’t know, Steve. I really don’t. I’m trying to think of people, when we were there, when he was there and I was there, who… he never would go to the bar for a drink. Perhaps he would do occasionally, but he was never social in that sense. He would do the work then go and do his… and subsequently there was all the other stuff he was doing, all the music stuff.

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