Priscilla John on casting Wood and Walters

Tell me a bit about Wood & Walters and how that came about? 

Well, that came about because I had cast Happy Since I Met You. And that was another umbrella screenplay. It came under the umbrella title of Screenplay. This was directed by Baz Taylor, written by Victoria Wood. This is one of her very first things for Granada. And we all went off in a in a couple of cars one night to Sheffield, we took Peter Eckersley, Jerry Hagen, there was Jose Scott, myself, I think Susie Bruffin was with us. And we all took that journey over Snake Pass and saw one of her plays. And it was this. And so we cast it for television, and we started again because it was at least a year or two later. She was given an office at Granada Television to write whatever she wanted to. But all the time, she was being mentored as to how to write a television script. And her office was just down the corridor from Peter’s. He would read it and say, “Right, this whole section has to go,” and there would be huge rows. 

That’s interesting, because you perhaps wouldn’t get that now, that investment in that. 

No. So I introduced her to Duncan Preston. And when it came to doing Wood & Walters and all her shows, Duncan was always in every show she ever did on screen, or in the theatre. That was good. It was quite hard getting her interested in Duncan. Because he was tall, bit clumsy… lovely, northerner, ginger-haired, and she said, “Oh, I don’t know I didn’t see him like that.” Anyway, he got the role.

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