Stuart Prebble talks about World in Action

Honestly, I thought Granada was an utterly brilliant company to work for, undoubtedly the best place I have ever worked and of course, its only in subsequent years, you realise how lucky you were when you see what happened to ITV and pretty much everywhere else over the years. I think we knew we were privileged. I mean many things stick in my mind, and obviously mostly about the leadership you got from Denis Forman and David Plowright in particular. I remember David Plowright saying everyone in Granada who isn’t a programme maker works for the programme makers, which is an extraordinary thing when in most places the sales director, the marketing director and the finance director were all people much more important than anybody involved in programmes. You know it was Gus Macdonald, who said, or maybe he borrowed the phrase, our job was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, which is great. I was eventually Editor of World in Action for a period, and the only trouble I would only get into with management was not making enough trouble for the government, and the Establishment. It’s almost impossible to think of anybody that tried to do that with television journalism/broadcast journalism these days. So, I felt supported, well resourced. We would make some World in Action programmes, which is half hour on a Monday night, that took two years to make because they were able and willing to put in that kind of resource where necessary, which means you have to make some others very quickly. That was my speciality for a while, with obviously my background in news I was more used to fast turnaround. So that’s why I got called to World in Action in the first place, because the Falklands war broke out and they didn’t really have the capacity to react to events or do any studio programmes at all, because everybody was a film journalist, so that’s why I was brought in from local programmes.

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