Judith Jones recalls working on World in Action

And you had a stint on World in Action?

Yes. All the PAs had to do – it varied, so sometimes it was 12 months, and for me it was six months – so you did six months on World in Action. Again, I suppose in later years, as the crew became smaller, I’m not sure that that they always felt the need for PAs. Anyway, it was at a stage when the crews were fairly large. So a crew at this stage would be – and if I say a cameraman, it was because it always was a camera man – and a camera assistant. Sound man, a sound assistant. At least one electrician, a researcher, and a PA. So it was at least six or seven. So World in Action was interesting, quite a hard-nosed journalistic world, kind of separate almost, to the rest of Granada. Quite a number of the people I worked with based themselves in London anyway. It was interesting from the programmes that I did. So I remember we did a programme in New York about drugs, we did a programme in Sicily, we filmed the YouTube concert that Paul Greengrass did. I know that the World in Action that the made the biggest impression on me was one that we did about a little girl who had cancer called Jennifer, who was living in Hull. The programme was to show that children can survive cancer. And I think it probably took a lot of negotiation to get the Jennifer’s parents to agree to have a film crew basically follow their journey while she was being treated. I mean, looking back, I’m not sure that if I was in their position, I would have let a crew follow you around what were very traumatic and stressful times, but they agreed. And so over probably a period of months, we went back on different occasions while she was being treated in St James’s Hospital in Leeds. And the film went out. And certainly, I think probably the same crew worked on that, because we got quite close to the family – not so much the producer/director who I had some concerns about his attitude to the whole family and felt that he had slightly exploited them – but certainly I think the researcher, and the rest of the crew, we grew close to the family – and I’m still in touch with Jennifer’s mum to this day. And sadly, I think it was certainly after the film went out, probably a year or so later, Jennifer didn’t survive. She died. And certainly myself, and I would think a number of the crew – camera, sound – went to her funeral. So hopefully, we gave them some support, and it was certainly a film that touched me. But I think it also threw up questions that I felt, particularly on World in Action, sometimes of how television can go into people’s lives, and people allow you in, and at times I felt we were exploiting people, you know? They were wanting to tell their story, but we were going in there, and cutting and editing it, putting it together and leaving them without a second glance.

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