Tony Drinkle on working in the post room and film dispatch

Yes. Do you know the names Bill Leather and Graham Wild?

Graham Wild I knew, yes.

Well, he was already in the post room, he started before I did. And Bill Leather, I think he went to production manager or along those lines. They were both there when I started. Jack, Jack Dardis, who goes to the dos, he started the same day. We were both sat there, me and Jack, just young 15-year-olds, you know, we started on the same day, and then it was just… it was just a question of time, I suppose, I think Graham and Bill moved on into the production office at the time. I was still in the post room when, one day, a chap called Bill Wide, he was in charge of the film department at the time, and I more or less just got a hand on my shoulder. “There’s going to be a vacancy in the film department, doing the film dispatch, would you be interested in doing it?” because the chap that was doing it at the time, Alan Ringland, who has since died, he was doing the film dispatch at the time and he moved into what was called commercial makeup, which was basically joining the commercials together on a spool – you used to get this list from the presentation department of all the commercials, the breaks and everything – and that was a step up from film dispatch, you see, so Alan Ringland was moving in there, so that’s when I moved to film dispatch. And then… the job that I ended up doing for most of the years, the time was split between… or the likes of Bill Lloyd, because I think he started as assistant editor, you know, he wasn’t in charge of film ops when they first started, it was a chap called Tom Hewson, who only lasted I’d say about 12 months at the most, and then Bill took over in charge. But at the time, you have to remember that the transmission, it didn’t transmit after about midnight, it closed down, mornings was always schools programmes, so the type of work I ended up doing, like feature films and one-hour programmes, like The Streets of San Francisco and rubbish like that, whatever, there wasn’t much of that going out at the time, so the people, the assistants, people like Bill Lloyd and a chap called Riz Kennington and Fred Massey, they’re dead by now as well, they were doing that sort of job, and like I say, Bill Lloyd said do I want to go in doing film dispatch, so I said that and that was it. And then eventually Alan Ringland moved up into the assistant editor, so they asked me then if I wanted to co into the commercial makeup, so I was like following him, you see, so I went doing that for a few years, and then the usual thing happened, Alan Ringland went to be assistant – by this time I think Granada had got around to making their own programmes, on film, the off half-hour bits and quarter of an hour things, and also news inserts on the news programme, stories and that. So I did that, I can’t remember how many years, and then eventually, like I say, I took over from Alan Ringland, doing what’s called the assembly editor’s job, which basically… like I said, you get the normal feature film, they were the same prints that had been used in cinemas, so you’d end up with nine, 10, 11 cans of film, and you had to join them together, obviously, view them, time it, and you’d get timings from presentation…And from that department, we used to get all the running times that they wanted. You’d have a film, and it might be running, say, 120 minutes, but they only wanted 115, so you just viewed it, hopefully cut five minutes out that nobody would spot…

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