Stephen Kelly remembers working in Locals

I didn’t work on Granada Reports for very long. It was suddenly the summer, and in August, nothing happened on Granada Reports, they’d just put out an evening bulletin. It was great fun, because the bulletin would last about 10 minutes. And there wouldn’t be too many of us in there, because a lot of people would be on holiday. So at lunchtime, there was a lot of going out for meals. Dave Jones was acting as news editor, and we went out and had meals in various restaurants, and everybody had long lunches, lots of drinking. It was utterly bizarre. So I was on that for not very long, because I then went on to Reports Extra, I think was the next thing I went on to. Oh, no, I did a What the Papers Say, but I don’t really remember that. Reports Extra was a weekly programme that went out on a Friday night at 10:30, which is a bit of a quirky programme, because you could do anything. And Claudia Milne was the producer/director, and David Jones was the presenter. And I was put onto that because it was that autumn season of political conferences, and they had talked about making some films about political conferences. And me being the guy who knew all about politics, they said, “You go and do that Stephen, help them.” So I did, and we made two films. We made film about the Labour Party conference, and we made a film about the Conservative Party conference. The Conservative Party conference, I vividly remember this because it’s a clip of film that’s been used a lot. Margaret Thatcher had become leader of the Conservative Party. Jim Callaghan was Prime Minister. And we went down to the Conservative Party in Brighton, and we were making a film about the Conservatives. And I don’t know how we managed to get in, but we somehow blundered our way into the Conservative Party ball. Margaret Thatcher is in her evening dress, and Denis is in his bow tie, and we were a little gang of scruffy filmmakers. And David said, “Why don’t we go on the dance floor and have a chat with them?” So we all go on to the dance floor, and Margaret is dancing away. Because David is very tall. He was about six foot three, six foot four, and Margaret Thatcher was actually quite small. So David’s bending down, “I’m wondering if I can have a word with you, Mrs Thatcher?” And she says, “You’re very rude, can’t you see I’m dancing? I suppose you’re one of those horrible comprehensive school boys, aren’t you?” David says, “No, actually, I went to a grammar school.” I’ve seen this clip a number of times on television. So that was my great memory of that. David was a great character. He was from Liverpool, and he was a wonderful character. And Claudia was a very good filmmaker, she was very laid back. She was lovely to work with, and she was very, very good as her job. One of the few women in Granada at that level at the time.

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