The canteen was run by a woman called Helen, but I also remember Joanie-onie. Helen was in charge, but Joanie-onie was the person who served you. I remember food being constantly on tap, but also, if you had a special request, or it was somebody’s birthday, or it was Christmas, we would have special food.
I always say, “When you look back, was it as good as you remember?” But I think, because it’s not just me saying this, I think the spirit in Liverpool in the early days was one of fun, enjoyment. And I think a lot of that came from the relaxed attitude of David Highet as the manager, who had a very light touch in terms of management, but always knew what was going on and was always very personable to people. And was very accessible. And he was supported by Chris Kerr, who was his deputy manager. So, you didn’t feel that it was a kind of hierarchical management, because they were very much around and about, and interested in what was going on.
In terms of producers, the two main producers that I remember where Marian Nelson, who I think had worked at Granada for some time, but was somebody who came from Liverpool, and Mike Short, who came across. So they were the two main producers, probably quite contrasting in terms of their attitudes, but both good people to work for and both really supportive of definitely me. And then we would have different journalists coming in, some journalists who would work there all the time – people like John Toker – and then news editors who would sometimes come and go. There might be news editors who had been based in Manchester, or the one I remember who stayed probably longest while I was there was somebody called John Flatt, who was the news as most of the time that I was there.
So we were on the first floor, that’s where the canteen, the management offices and the newsroom was. On the ground floor was the entrance to the building, and then in the basement was the studio, and that was also where makeup, Christina, was based. And that’s where the technical staff were based. It was it was fairly compact, so you would see people all the time going up and down the stairs.