Jon Woods reflects on the male domination in roles

On the practicalities of working at Granada, and how we all knew each other, and it was a great thing, and people mixed very easily, but you couldn’t call it a diverse set-up, and in our day it was a very male set-up. Would you agree with that?

I would totally agree with that. I don’t think sexism played a massive part, but by natural… I think almost it had something to do with the natural selection of coming out of like a film industry – television evolved out of film, out of cinema, which was almost entirely a male-dominated, technical world, and I think that just… just grew organically. I think it had a lot to do with the history of the film industry and male dominance of quite a lot of the roles from directors and producers, cameramen, lighting and sound men, where ladies were given the roles of PAs, make-up and wardrobe, although wardrobe had a very large smattering of males in it. But a lot of the secretarial jobs were female. In so many way, you’re right, there was a very great imbalance, certainly within… and I think modern television is female-led. Lots of documentary companies these days are full of females, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all – but it certainly was a male-dominated industry. I can’t think of a single female film editor I ever met, there was never a female spark, Mandy Moles was the only camerawoman I ever knew in film, that came in to film, though I think there were a couple in the studio later on… the sound in the studio had a few female assistants, editing I think was predominantly male… central areas, the transmission… the one area that was a female place was, I think, commercial make-up, in the days when commercials were on film, they came in and there was a department that used to assemble each individual ad break from film clips, and I think that was a female area, that cemented all the films together. I think David Odd’s wife, Lesley, started in commercial make-up. But apart from the costume are and the make-up area, which have always been traditionally that, vision mixing always seemed to be a traditionally female, and that’s changed, there’s a lot more male vision mixers nowadays than there used to be, Granada was I think absolutely completely female vision mixers. PAs, the directors’ and producers’ assistants, the PAs, and the script supervisors, continuity ladies, that was certainly all female, but I think that was just historic. In independent television, it was… I think true too, at the BBC. I think until the late 90s, early 2000s, I think females were very much in pockets and it was a male-dominated profession.


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