Priscilla John on what made Granada so distinctive

What do you think made Granada so distinctive at that time?

I think they gave you confidence. It was distinctive, because we worked on really good quality shows. We did experimental stuff as well. We worked across the board, so we understood documentary making. We understood religious programmes. We understood What the Papers Say. We contracted a lot of people throughout the programming. We did local programmes, we did a lot of music. Muriel Young was prolific. I remember going with her assistant, David Watkins, to the inauguration of Island Records with Elton John. And we were told to be at Paddington, and we had our invitations. And it was a first-class train. And we got on, David and me, and we sat at our table and Champagne flowed. And we didn’t know where the hell we were going! We ended up in Moreton-on-the-Marsh, or something. Then Elton gets out and does a set in the middle of Moreton-on-the-Marsh. And of course, I didn’t know all these music industry people, but David did, so I had a great time. So we did stuff like that, and got involved with every single department. And that’s what was so special, because there wasn’t anybody that we didn’t know. 


The other thing that John Murphy taught me from the off was, “With this job, darling, with this job, if you’re looking for thanks, then this is the wrong job for you. Because you won’t get any. You will be told when something goes wrong, but it will never be down to you that the cast was perfect. That will be the director and the producer.” It stood me in good stead, because I never looked for it. I’ve never had a publicist. I’ve never looked for publicity. I’m truly a Granada girl. Behind the camera, backroom person. I’ve always been a crew member. And actually, I think it’s very hard being on a film crew……

And let me tell you, casting directors now, when I tell them of my joyous years at Granada, both in London and Manchester and afterwards! I’ve worked with John Irving. I’ve worked with so many people. And I wrote to David Plowright after he got fired. Do you remember he got unceremoniously fired? I wrote to him immediately. I’ve still got the letter that he wrote back. I said, “I just want you to know that a lot of us out here in the film business… I’m working with XXX and both of us said we never would have got our start to our career if it wasn’t for you, and all that amazing team for allowing us not to clip our wings, but to actually fly. And to work for Granada under your directorship was just brilliant.” 

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