Judith Jones on the great things about working at Granada – and the problems

Well, for me, there were some great things about working at Granada, and I still look back on it as a as probably the best job I ever had in terms of my enjoyment of it. I really liked the variety – you never knew what you were going to do. Maybe knew from one day to the next, but you never knew whether in three months’ time, you might be working on World in Action, or you might be doing a documentary, so that, for me, was great. You never got bored. And you were working with some really gifted, entertaining, interesting people. And he had access to worlds that you would never have otherwise. The pay and expenses at a time, we were really well-recompensed. Because I was in the ACTT, it was a closed shop, we were not only paid well, but we had access to expenses – so if we worked overtime, if we worked away from home, as long as you checked with… it was usually the electrician who knew what expenses you’re entitled to so you all paid the same. And as I said, producing great programmes that you are really proud of. Television is a gossipy world, an entertaining world, so everybody had opinions. And I made some really firm friendships that remain to this day. And I didn’t feel that there was any onerous line management, so I didn’t feel that. I kind of almost worked independently as a PA, because you’d get shifted from programme to programme. You know, you didn’t have one boss all the time. And in terms of what wasn’t good, well, we’ve talked a little bit about the gender [bias]. It was perceived as glamorous, which wasn’t always. Certainly there were times when, yes, I think, for example, a U2 concert in Dublin, where I thought, “Gosh, I’m getting paid for this,” or when I went to New York, but the other times when you were standing in the rain in Ebbw Vale or whatever, and you thought, “No, this isn’t glamorous.” 

And there was the expectation that you would give up your life for Granada. So I remember once I was tracked down on holiday in Italy, to see if I’d come back and do a programme. You only had to look around to see the impact that it made on people’s relationships. And I think it could create a distance from your family and your friends. So friends who were working in “normal” jobs, you know, you’d come back from “swanning around” France or wherever, it was difficult to maintain those friendships because your life was unpredictable, and I’m sure they probably got fed up with you talking about it, you know, where you had just come back from New York or whatever. But I think it was also quite difficult to have personal relationships with somebody who didn’t work in television, because they wouldn’t necessarily understand that you… you know, say World in Action, they’d give you a call the night before to say you were going off to Sicily for two weeks. That’s quite difficult. And there wasn’t always a clear line between your work and social life, and that certainly merged, particularly when you were filming away.

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