For the most part, what we liked about it was in the early time of my editing, is that you were you were pretty much told what you were going to do. Granada would have people that would say, “Well, we want this person to do this edit. It wasn’t producer choice we were talking about, it was basically the heads of department. So we had people, you know, it was the Bill Lloyd, it was the John Williams period, and on the way there were other managers, and Irene McGlashan was one of them. And they had discussions with producers and directors and they’d discuss who might be suitable for the job. So it was the office that would tell you what it was that they thought you would be doing. You didn’t really have much of a choice, so if you were told it’s World in Action for a year, then it was World in Action for a year. So in terms of was there any… yes, there probably was at the top. I mean, you know, if you’ve been the man that’s kind of cut some Jewel in the Crown, and you want to continue to cut that level of work, and Eddie Mansell was the editor, and he was one of the top editors of the country, never mind just Granada. But there wasn’t anything ruthless about it.
It always kind of strikes me as a fairly closeted world.
That you were stuck in your edit suites…
Yes, well, we were – but because you know, when we weren’t, we were socialising with one another, and that meant The Stables or The Old School. And every lunch-time we all got together and we all had a pint at lunchtime. Film editors were always known for being the first in and the last out, you know, in most of the bars. I mean, the Stables, you know, we all had our position at one end of the bar, and that’s where we were. In the Old School, we were literally the first thing you hit when you came in the bar was you know, a group of kind of film editors. It was an important day, and it wasn’t just the film editors, we were always joined, you know, quite often by directors and stuff, would join us, and it was an important place, you probably would remember it, so…
Did that lead to excessive drinking?
Yes. Well, as I say, editors are known for being stuck in dark rooms all day, and unlike the crews, who would go out on location and film, and you know, they had their lunches with a nice bottle of red, the film editors would be left back at base – and the outlet for us was going for a drink, playing darts at lunch time, and would be places like the Stables, and the Old School. Even if you were discussing the programme, or the progress of the programme, you know, it was a regular thing to have a kind of media lunch, which meant you know, no solids and nothing but liquids of a lunch time, or an extended lunch time. And as a group of editors, there were quite a number of occasions where the entire department would basically have the afternoon off and carry on drinking. I mean, the licensing laws meant that you weren’t going to get served after half two or something, but – I happen to know it’s the same in Liverpool – there are always places that you can get a drink, and we knew every one of those places, you know, so it meant going down to the… there was a place called the Queen’s Club that was one of these like, one of these little sort of private members bars that had a little kind of window opening at the door, and a guy called Dougie was the manager there, and all of the people in, you know, journalist and press people, would go and drink at three o’clock in the afternoon and carry on, and yes, the culture was, I mean obviously, we all worked terrifically hard and whatever time we lost by having a few extra hours in the pub we had to make up.
So you’d then work in the evening?
You could do, or you would just pull in the work. I mean, you wouldn’t necessarily be claiming overtime to do it, but you know, all of those programmes were made on the basis of editors taking a drink, and sometimes more than a drink, you know? But it was great, terrific fun and we used to do all sorts of stuff – we used to go out to gigs and meals together, we even went on holiday together, some of us, you know? Dave Cresswell came out to Australia with me. And we had an annual trip to Le Mans, the boys liked to go motor racing – only for about 10 minutes, the rest of the time was spent in the beer tent! But we all went, and others came along with us, you know, it was all the editors, Spencer Campbell would come along and Charles Lauder and even one of their managers came, Roger Beck on a couple of the trips. Yes, Le Mans we’d go to, and on occasions I think we even had weekends in Paris, you know, which would involve… somebody obviously had to not be drinking, you know, to drive the van around, but no, they were terrific. Great, fun times.