In those early days, you come in as an assistant graphic designer, or even a junior assistant graphic designer. You always go, or we used to, onto the local news. That would have been Granada Reports. The ITV company has retained that name. That’s to my knowledge, the only real link with the past now. Granada Reports, the local news is still called that. A tenuous link, I feel. So yes, Granada. That as you can imagine, was a live programme. I hadn’t done live TV at all at ATV, because I was working on a promotion campaign. So I didn’t have that pressing deadline. But boy, the adrenaline certainly kicks in when you start working on a live programme, a live news programme. And in those days and then years to follow, there would have been an awful amount of live broadcasts. Not least, football and political programmes. Yes, and Harry programmes. I worked on World in Action for about three or four years. It was good training for the years to come, that’s for sure, and knowing what a deadline was.
So what would you be doing?
Well in those days, a lot of it was good old Letraset. Letraset was then actually, a fairly new addition really, to the graphic toolbox… with rubdown letters, where you would make up captions, caption names, putting naming to maps. A lot of the maps would be pre-printed, because it was regional TV, regional news. So you had a stock number of maps of the area with the main towns highlighted. You would then sort of add where there might have been some particular newsworthy event, and you would rub these letters down to form the name. That was Letraset. What was kind of new about it, it was called dry Letraset as opposed to wet Letraset, which had been around only a few years previous, where you actually had to make the stencil wet and apply the Letraset. With this, you just had to rub the ballpoint pen or a stylus. So yes, an Letraset became the standard for the following 10, 15 years, really. It was around for a long time.
So you would do the captioning?
Yes. Sorry, Steve. It would be captions. Name captions, obviously for newsreaders and GESPs. And then any supporting visual, which were often maps. And occasionally… I wasn’t in illustrator, so I couldn’t draw especially well. Some of our more talented illustrators might draw something for the news, whether it be a cartoon or something. And then you might add a graphic to that, like a sound bubble or something.
I was on a training contract. I forget what you call them now. When your contract could be terminated after three months. If you didn’t quite match up. So I was on that for three months. On that three months, that was pretty much really all I did, really. Local news, because it was a daily programme. So you were preparing other stuff during the day as well, but that would go out. But yes, it was all totally local programmes, local news and sport. I did meet some of the sports department then, because very integral to the news. And of course, I met the lovely Paul Doherty, who I developed I like to think, a good working relationship with. I must say about Paul, his bark was far worse than his bite. I grew to like him and respect him very much.