Paul Greengrass remembers his worst telling-off from Paul Doherty

The worst row we ever had, funnily enough was about the slides, which I often tell it to my kids when they go out to work, because it’s an abject lesson in what not to do. Which is that I’d been there a few weeks, and Doc came in one day. He was a great bloke, he’d come in, but he’d have ideas, he’d be fizzing with ideas. “This week, we’re going to do such and such, and such and such. “Go and phone such,” or, “Go and phone Alf Ramsey,” and you’d go, “Huh? How does that work?” And then he had the contacts, he has house numbers. He was amazing.

Anyway, he said, “I’m not having this Granada Reports when we do our sports coverage. They never do proper sports coverage, they never do the football team news, and I’m sick of seeing Joe Jordan’s face.” I don’t think Joe Jordan was there at that time, but anyway, whoever. “I’m sick of seeing the faces of sort of head and shoulders. I want action shots.” So lo and behold, he commissioned a bloke called Eddie Booth, who was a cameraman, I think he worked for Granada. He must’ve been well into 60s, if not, 70s. Chain smoked, not the best snapper it has to be said, but a lovely, lovely fellow. And he’d go out, and he was deputed to go around all the grounds in the north west, and photograph action shots of all the players, right? And my job, especially given to me by Doc, was I had to process these slides, and put them in those little things where you put in a slide, and I’d mark them up. So when he wanted a one of Joe Jordan, he’d see a row of Joe Jordan action slides, or if he wanted one of Brian Kidd, who I think was then playing for Man City, not United, there’d be lots of Brian Kidd, and so on and so forth. Okay, fine. Great idea Doc, yes, but boss I’m there, I’m there, I’m there.

So, Eddie B goes out, day one I get 70 slides from Manchester United’s game against whoever, right? Fine. And I go through them because I can recognise that’s Brian Greenhoff, that’s Stevie Coppell. Day two, I get Rochdale versus so-and-so, Bury versus so-and-so. Day three, I would get Preston versus so-and-so, Skelmersdale versus so-and-so, Tranmere versus so-and-so. And of course, being basically not far off a student, I’d come in, work hard go out with Doc, probably drink too much, have a hangover, get up the next morning, “Oh fuck, I can’t do it. I’ll just do a few of the slides.” And so I do a few, and the ones I couldn’t do, I’d put in a drawer. Well by about day 10, all my drawers were filled with these fucking sides. I had to bring a bag in from home, that was filled with slides, I had more at home. It became a total nightmare, because I’d let the thing get out of control. And if I stopped there for like three days solid non-stop, I still wouldn’t have done it. So of course in classic fashion, I put my head in the sand and hoped it would go away. Anyway, a few days later I was up the end of the corridor, the sports department was then on next to Granada Reports on the third floor, was it? I can’t remember.

First floor.

First floor, that’s right, yes. And I was talking to Andy Harries, as I recall, who’s just started around about the same time. And I saw Doc come out, down the middle of the corridor, shouting. And I said to Andy, “Oh fucking hell, he’s not happy with someone.” Then I saw him turn and look at me. “Oo-er, it’s me.” He absolutely… I mean, talk about tearing a strip off. “You ever fucking do that again, you’ll never…” “You namby-pamby southern fucking…” I mean, these days it would be unacceptable, the words he was using, but basically I was a student arse, not fit to wipe his shoes, cradle marks on my ass, etc. etc. and I couldn’t disagree. But it was good for me. He taught me how to work, and I loved him, and I think actually he had a soft spot for me, too. We all stayed in touch right to the end of his life.

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