Sylvia Cowling on leaving Granada

At what point did you look to leave, and were you made redundant?

No, no, I wasn’t. I moved on to other jobs. I moved down out of the library entirely in 1998. And that was when I became the project manager for PARIS. And then that evolved into being involved with database transfer. You see, we then got into taking over all these other companies and we did take them over. It was called a merger with Carlton, but I mean, look who got the jobs at the end of it all and things like that, it was a Granada takeover really. And we thought to bring all their material onto our PARIS (Programme and Rights Information System) database. And I loved doing that as well. So, I did all that. And finally, I retired in 2010.

Oh, quite recent then, yes.

Yes. 10 years ago. Just exactly 10 years ago, because I finished, I think, the end of June. Yes.

Gosh, you must be one of the few people who survived all those years.

Well, this is it, yes. At the beginning of 2010, I had a health issue. I mean, it was fine, I was back at work and fine, but I just thought, “I don’t really think I want to die here.” So I decided I would retire, and I was also coming up to 40 years, by just coincidence. So I just thought, “Right. I’ll give in my notice, say I want to leave at the end of June. I will have end on for 40 years.” So that’s what I did. But yes, how did I avoid redundancy? I don’t know. I don’t know. It happened around me. I mean, there were times when two of the library staff had to go, perhaps that’s when we went, I don’t know anyway. That sort of thing was happening all around me. I don’t know.

I remember one time there was this meeting in the studio, all employees summoned to a meeting. We’d been to these before and I just thought, “I’m not going to this one. It has nothing to do with me. I won’t be here for the future. Why should I go to a meeting about the future?” And I think either later that day or the following day, I was summoned to a meeting with Jules Burns, who I think was my boss then, because I think he brought Sue in, because he was then perhaps promoted himself, and had too much to do.

And as I remember Jules Burns asked me why I not been at the meeting. And I didn’t know how he knew I’d not been at the meeting. I can only assume somebody must have told him, because there were so many people there. And I said, “Well, why would I want to go to a meeting, when it’s about something which probably doesn’t include me at all? I said, “This is probably why I’m here now, isn’t it?” And he looked aghast and said, “No, we want you to do…” I can’t remember what he wanted me to do. I think it might’ve been something to do with London Weekend, but I can’t remember. I’ve got the timeline all warped there, I don’t really remember. But yes, I don’t know how I managed to survive, and I didn’t think I would.

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