Priscilla John describes how she joined Granada

I joined in 1972. In London. I was working at the Royal Court Theatre for a casting director called Gillian Diamond for a year, and she fired me, which as Lindsay Anderson said several years later, was “the best thing that ever happened to you, whether you choose to acknowledge that or not, but it is – it was the making of you.” 

Fortunately, my dad worked at ABC television, which I think by then was Thames. And he came from the theatre, and he worked with Armchair Theatre from its inception. Because he knew all the directors and the writers and the actors. So yes, that was his input, the literary side of things. He knew a wonderful guy at Granada – God knows why, I think it was the connection with ABC Television – called Graham Murray. And Nora Watson. Graham said, “Sure, I’ll get Priscilla on to meet the personnel people.” So that’s what he did. I had to take a shorthand typing test. And the woman who ran it was marvellous, and she said, “Well, your shorthand isn’t very good, and your typing… but I like you, and I’m going to send you up to meet Leslie Halliwell. And I worked for Leslie for about six months, with Graham and Nora. And Joyce Wooller had an office within that office. I learned a lot about film, and was intrigued with Leslie, who was terribly dismissive of me. And that was all right, because I was a bit green. I knew about actors, but I was very green to film titles. Busby Berkeley was about my level. But theatre, I was… 

So anyway, I met the girls in casting, who were literally on the next floor. And I said, “Look, I’ve done a year at the Royal Court, so if ever there’s an opening…” And they were terribly nice. “Alright,” said Jenny Morley. And personnel rang and said, “Oh, they want to see you up in casting, because one of our casting directors needs an assistant. His present one, Sue, is leaving.” So, I had to square it with Leslie and I can remember him being even more dismissive. But Graham, again, said, “You’ll have a lot more fun upstairs, Pris, go on.” So, I went up, and I had my interview, and John knew my dad. He worked with him at ABC Television. So, there was a sort of family thing, connection there. And they knew my background. They knew I liked actors. They knew I knew all about actors. They knew I knew all about directors and producers, and how tricky they are. That was one of the main criteria, could I handle the pressure? And basically, the tempers. Because there was a lot of shouting, so you had to be able to brush it off or live with it. And John Murphy took me on.

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