Jon Woods on how he joined Granada

I have been a staff member at Granada since 1978, that was when I joined the staff. But I left university in 1973 and was looking for work in television, I worked with Arthur Smith at Rose Productions, he gave me an opportunity, he knew a producer at the university, Vivian Daniels, a BBC Manchester producer, who put me in touch with Arthur. I worked with Arthur for two and a half years, and during that time I did quite a lot of work at Granada working for him and with Granada cameramen as a freelance. I managed to get my ACTT ticket in October of 1974, and so I could work – as it was a closed shop in those days – so I did several jobs at Granada, Coronation Street, with a variety of cameramen, things like that, but then I left Manchester and joined the BBC in 1975, worked at the BBC for a few years, and in 1978, Stan Chaliss asked me would I like a job as a cameraman at Granada, so in the August, I left the BBC, and in September 1978 I started work as a staff member of Granada Television.

What made you want to be a cameraman?

That’s a question quite a few people have asked me. Because certainly I didn’t have an artistic education as such, I had a scientific education – I went to university and read geology, I’ve got an honours degree in geology. But it was a hobby. Photography and film-making were always a hobby to me, and during the time at university with some people who you will know from Granada like Phil Griffin and Andy Harries, who were at the same university at the same time, I took a lot of photographs for the university newspaper, Torchlight, you know, bands coming every week to the union to play, we took photographs of those and things going on around the university campus, I also joined the film ops, the film unit at the university, which was a student-based film unit, we made a variety of films on a little Bolex 16mm camera, and during the end when I was graduating, I asked Vivian Daniels, who ran the Gulbenkian Arts Centre, could he recommend anybody in the north west around Manchester as a cameraman who might be tempted or be happy to take me on as a trainee assistant cameraman to try and get my way into television. As I say, Arthur Smith and Brian Spencer from Rose Productions had a long chat with me and took the plunge, and gave me the chance to become a film camera assistant in those days.

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