I was a Politics graduate Leeds University. 1978. Professor Ralph Miliband was my tutor and also Head of Department. David and Ed came in a couple of times.
To fund my MSc course at University
of Bradford, I managed to get a Research Assistant post with the Lucas
Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine Committee. Thousands of redundancies had been
announced across the UK plants. The University, alongside shop stewards, developed
an alternative corporate plan that identified the highly skilled workforce
could apply their knowledge to ‘socially useful production’. At the same time, job
losses could be reduced. We were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
My first foray into television was working as a consultant to a Yorkshire TV school series. We picked up The Times Education Award.
I subsequently joined Granada in 1982 after seeing an ad. in the ‘The Grauniad’ for researchers. I didn’t think I stood a chance but I suppose I had various credentials and a couple of anecdotes to fill those awkward silences – should I ever get to interview.
I had mixed with the likes of South African exiles who later were to join Nelson Mandela’s government and dined with Tony Benn, Arthur Scargill, Mick McGahey and other ‘commies’. I had useful contacts and, unbeknown to me, supped drinks with an “agent of influence” for the East German Stasi! Now, that would be a great filler!
I sent off my c.v. with a very brief covering note. ‘I would like to apply for the position of researcher as advertised. `I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely.’
After two boards. Chris Kerr – a gentleman – called to give me the news. I told him that he might have the wrong number.