Thelma McGough on GTV as a caring company

I found them to be very caring of their employees. I always refused a staff contract – foolishly, in hindsight – because it came with the pension and I didn’t think I would live long enough to have a pension, and I didn’t want to think about it. And here I am, two months off 76 and I’m still here, so it might have been a wise move! And you got shares or you got something else. But I had something in my mind where I didn’t want to do this. So… I’m outlining this because I was not a staff member. However, I had an accident on the Krypton Factor assault course when we’d gone up there, Gordon and I, to take photographs with the staff photographer, because we were about to go around Germany to the forces bases to recruit soldiers. So we went up there without any equipment and we took the photographs. And I was in this big pipe that they had to jump out of, and the photographer said, “Why don’t you jump?” And I was frightened of heights. And I did not like being frightened of anything. So I thought it would cure me if I did jump. Of being frightened of heights. Again, another foolish judgment. There was no mattress, I didn’t have trainers on, I jumped out of the pipe… I couldn’t stand up. And Gordon came to the rescue. I had to be dragged into the car. He took me to Salford Hospital. But Granada got a chauffeur to take me over back to London, where I lived. When I was recovered enough to be on crutches, they picked me up at home in Kentish Town, come up first class on the train. They put me up in the Midland Hotel for weeks and weeks. And I wasn’t a staff employee. I think that was generous of them. …So what I’m saying is the generosity of care that I go through that was quite striking.
And another time, I was going back on the train to London one Friday evening, waiting at the buffet on the train, and the guy running the buffet flipped down the door to open the buffet, and it hit me in the face, and it made a huge gash round my face. There were two guys behind me from Virgin Records, and I said, “Is it bad?” And they said, “Yes.” And I went back to my seat, and there were two women there that worked in a different department at Granada, not production staff, and they called the guard, and he halted the train at Crewe and said I had to get off to get it stitched and I refused. And in London, the ambulance was there and everything. But that’s another way of saying to you, Granada then sued British Rail. I went to see Lord Goodman, no less, in his office in London, and he got me, I think it was £1,000 or £1,200 or something. So Granada were very…

They were caring, and they didn’t have to do that. And as well, when we were researchers, I don’t know if you remember, we were given a voucher to go and buy Tensons and a pair of boots. Outdoor wet weather clothing. And I’ve still got my red tent somewhere, I remember Sandy Ross had a yellow one, I think. So they didn’t have to do that, but they did. And then there was this bizarre thing that women, if they travelled on company business, could get first class travel on a train. But men couldn’t. So I don’t know, I thought that came from Forman, but somebody said they thought it was Mrs Wooller. They didn’t want women being accosted by the hoi polloi on trains, travel, business.

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