John Gray

Forename/s: 
John
Family name: 
Gray
Work area/craft/role: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
325
Interview Date(s): 
11 Apr 1994
Interviewer/s: 
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 
180

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Interview notes

behp0325-john-gray-summary

[Transcribed from very abbreviated handwritten notes by Ian Duff. DS]

SIDE ONE

Antecedents; education; entry into employment (GPO Film Unit); films worked on, colleagues, experiences. 22 Soho Square; Blackheath (studio), editing “visatone” [photographic] sound recording; films about ASDIC [Anti-Submarine Detection System Information Committee]; security! Contrived shooting to ease “post-synch”; other experiences.

SIDE TWO

Richard Massingham’s hospital; further experiences; BBC Radio and television (EMI), recording in broadcasting; Blattnerphone [A playback system DS]; Phillips mechanical variable area; acetate disc;  “news” coverage [?]; wartime editing techniques, response to emergency trade unions in 1940. Broadcasting “as live” of theatre; shift to pre-production; postproduction; television like film.

TAPE TWO SIDE ONE [i.e. SIDE THREE]

Visit to Pathé Studios, France. Advice from von Stroheim; technicalities; stage management at Woolwich, Bath Theatre Royal, 1937, weekly rep. Radio listening 1935. 30-line television received in Aberdeen! Scophony[a mechanical television system. DS] BBC needed to go to recorded programmes – wartime moves to Maida Vale, then Bush House; news service in Scotland.

TAPE TWO SIDE TWO [i.e. SIDE FOUR]

[There is a focus on union activities on this side. DS]

Bush House. American radio programmes under lease-lend [scheme], and removing advertising; London only speech programmes and music; improvisation; news in Scotland. In Stage management (Equity); in GPO Film Unit (ACT); on ACT Executive. Known names, slightly London centred (1940); ACT interest in BBC ? ; BBC Staff Association; In overseas and monitoring services as practice in Europe; registered a trade union; amalgamation contemplated in 1954 but none achieved; collaboration and 1949 conference; Rules [?] but followed by legal challenge, working together particular in television led to creation of BETA; merging in spirit took two years. Then final amalgamation in 1991. Disappointment with adopted rules resulting from compromises; need to be forward-looking in a changing industry.  

Transcript