Sita Williams remembers David Plowright – and getting her P45!

David Plowright was also the head of drama. He was managing director and head of drama. I remember going in one day to complain that my budget wasn’t enough and he said to me, and it was so wonderful. That was Granada at its best. He said, “I’ll give you what you want. Just go. I want you out of that door now.”

You did it right. How wonderful.

So that was fantastic.


Yes, that came because I think then there was a rather sad moment in the Granada department and I must, I think, talk about that. Mike Cox retired as head of drama and retired from Granada. They appointed Sally…


… Head. Steve Morrison was now in control. David Plowright had left, I think, by then. If I could just tell you that when we heard, and we call them the caterers, you remember? Jeff took over, and I… it still brings tears to my eyes because I thought it was so special. David Plowright sent round a letter saying he was resigning and I cried because I thought, “This company is going to change beyond all recognition.” I think in many ways it did. But maybe it needed to, it had to change, and it wasn’t going to be the place it was ever again.

Steve Morrison then became director of programmes. It was Mike Scott before, and Steve brought in Sally Head. She’d won a BAFTA for the Fay Weldon series. I can’t remember what it was called now. She was very much London-based. She really didn’t want any of us there. But because Maigret had been, I think Steve Hawes’ and Mike Cox’s idea, if I’m right, she brought in Mike Cox to be the producer. Mike had an office, I remember this so well, opposite me and he would come in, after a few weeks he would come in, he would lock himself in that office, and then leave at the end of the day. One day he came in, and at the end of the day, he came out and said, “I’m walking out of this building and I’m never coming back.” And I think, as far as I know, it was because we were brought up to be the producers in control of the scripts, the casting. We weren’t overwritten by the head of department. He had been the head of department and I think it was impossible for him to work with Sally Head.

Then, as far as I was concerned, Keith Thompson came along and said to me, “I’m very sorry, Sita. I’ve got to give you your P45. You’ve got to go.” I took a deep breath… needless to say, I did not like Sally Head. Max Graesser, I talked to Max about it, and Max said, “You can’t leave.” He talked to David Liddiment. David Liddiment talked to Ian McBride and Ray Fitzwalter, and they appointed me the producer of Hostages. That’s how it happened.

Oh, right. How about that. Mike Cox was head of department…

When I joined.

Sally Head take his job…

Yes. I mean, Mike resigned, but she brought him back as the producer of Maigret.

Yes, that’s right. The producer of Maigret. You had a P45, but not for long.

I never took it up.

You never cashed it in.

That I did not.

In Suspicious Circumstances.

Yes, that was Ian. That was all under the kind of World in Action drama department. Ian McBride was my executive producer because the end was the executive producer of Hostages. Alasdair Palmer was the brilliant researcher, associate producer of that. Then, In Suspicious Circumstances, I continued to work on that with, who is the marvellous presenter of that? Famous actor. Edward Woodward. He was the presenter.

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