Tony Drinkle on moving into Quay Street – and his life there

Into the big building? I couldn’t say for certain. It was probably… it was a good four or five years later, as I say, I started in 1956 and I had roughly two years in the post room, so going up to 1958. While I was in film dispatch, all the film was done in this Granada House in Water Street, and every morning, I had to take all the film over for tele cine, which was in the building as it is now. So we had this big truck, it was about so big and so tall, and we used to bang all the film in it – because it was nearly all 35mm film, including commercials as well, roughly about three or four reels of commercials, and you used to put them all in this truck, and we used to have to take it from Granada House over to the main… the other building, you know, dragging it across the road. I remember doing that. I must have done that for a year or two, so at a rough guess it was probably close to 1960 when that building was built.

Because they did have something there on that site, as you say.

Well, telecine, all the transmission stuff was over on that side, and what was called network operations at the time.

So there were two sites.

Yes. Water Street was mainly just offices, but on the ground floor was film ops, which was about three or four editing rooms. When I say editing rooms, Granada hadn’t got into making your World in Action type thing s then, they didn’t do anything on that scale then, but all the sort of what we call packages –feature films, our programmes, stuff like that – was Don Kelly, Chris Kennington, Fred Lassey, they used to do what I ended up doing on the programmes then, sort of thing, which was on the ground floor, and the post room, obviously was on the ground floor with reception next to it, and then like I say, the other floors were just producers, directors, what few there were then.

And the newsroom would have been over in Quay Street?

Yes, the newsroom… in fact, there again, coming back to that year one book, mi think there is a picture of Roland’s mother in there, when she was in the newsroom. As you came into the reception, you turned to the right, it was like one fairly long… it was down to like where the car park lodge is, that building, but what they did, they used to have curtains separating different departments! So you’d have the newsroom, which consisted of about four or five people at the time, then next to it had been another department, some sort of production office maybe for something they were doing, you know… and like I say, everything was transmitted live then, no programmes done in the studio… The Army Game, that was a popular programme at the time. It also happened, while you were in the post room, one of your duties was, one night a week, after you’d finished in the post room at six o’clock, you would have to go onto reception in the main building with – they were called commissionaires in those days, not security – the main receptionist would have finished at six, and one of the commissionaires then took over the desk and was there until 10 or 11 o’clock, whatever it was. But they needed someone on call in case an artist or someone needed a job doing, or errands, so once a week you would end up working until 10 o’clock, so basically we were just in reception in case anybody came in and said… the chap inside, the general manager, was a chap called Simon Kershaw, I don’t know where that name’s cropped up, Simon Kershaw was like the overall general manager, and somebody might come in or have come to see Simon and you would take them to the office then, from reception. So anything like that, anything in the studio, if somebody came and said, “I’ve come for a programme,” you would take them down, just generally running about, you know. But you worked until 10 o’clock and the advantage of only being 15 was that you had to have a certain amount of breaks, so you couldn’t start work until 12 o’clock the following day, so you came in at 12 and still finished at six, so you got overtime for doing your night, so… it was okay, like. There was a programme called My Wife’s Sister, that was the one I used to end up doing on the nights I worked, Eleanor Summerfield, I remember that. That was very popular at the time.

And like I say, I think I was probably around 20 when I went to do the job I ended up doing, and at that time it had always been a one person job, so there was only me doing it, except obviously when I was on holiday, one of the editors would step in like Reg and Fred, who I referred to before, they’d do it while I was on holiday, and like I said, it was… there was enough to do but it was never too busy because there was no morning transmissions, it was all schools programmes. Like I say, they finished transmitting at about midnight, so there was nothing through the night, but then as it started building up I don’t know what came first, whether they started putting film programmes out in the morning or after midnight, but it built up where it got to the point where I couldn’t cope on my own, so that’s when Barry came to help me. He started at Chelsea in London, he was a bit younger than me, and he started working at Chelsea at Nine sort of thing, because he was only a young lad then, and then eventually, obviously they closed Chelsea down, and they asked him if he wanted to come to Manchester, he obviously said yes, he came up here, and he came in, like I say, I was getting too busy and couldn’t cope, so Barry came in with me, helping me, and did that for a couple of years or so, I don’t exactly know how long. But I was quite happy because it was half past nine until six job. I was quite happy with what I was doing and I didn’t really… I wasn’t too concerned, moving on and going onto the what you would say proper editing, creating programmes, you know, and things like that. I was quite happy and content doing what I was doing, so I just stayed plodding on, but Barry wanted to move on, you see, which was fair enough, and he got the job as assistant editor to go and work on… as I say, Barry will tell you. And a girl called Ruth who had been in commercial makeup, she came in with me, she did a couple of years and moved on, and then a lad called Brian Cardingley came in with me and he took over as the main one when I finished, but we were getting busier and busier, so ended up with three of us, there was another girl came in, Joan. So the actual section that I was doing ended up three of us doing this particular job because you’d got the 24-hour transmission then, you know, and of course they wanted you to fill most of the time with feature films or, you know, one hour things. And I just carried on doing that for about 30 years!

Leave a Reply