Marjorie (Sullivan) Graham

Family name: 
(Sullivan) Graham
Work area/craft/role: 
Interview Number: 
Interview Date(s): 
12 Jul 2023
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 

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Speaker 1  0:00  
is recording 816 Marjorie Graham, recorded on the 12th of December 2020. Free. Right, Margie, a little bit of your family background. First of all, before we start

Speaker 2  0:20  
family background well I was born in London in North London in 92, as you said, and I was about four and a half when the war broke out in 39. And so I was evacuated twice, once when I was about five to Southern Ireland to my grandmother in Southern Ireland. And then again, when I was about nine, I was evacuated to south and I think that was during the Blitz. And so if you know, London, it was I didn't know at that point that my father from Ireland had about 10 or 11. Brothers and sisters. I only found that out much later. And so I didn't know I had any relatives. Yes, so growing up in north London was interesting. During the war, we we lived in a cool design King Kentish town, and there was an air raid shelter built in the road. And when the air raid siren went, you had to run to get down there because not everybody could get in. So if I wasn't well, we would stay in the flat. And we would barricade ourselves in behind the wardrobe in the corner with videos and say that till the Eau Claire went other times if it went on for a long time, we had to run all the way down Kentish town road to the underground station, and then just put our own rack on the floor as a pillow and sleep on the platform to the Altair came. So we got used to doing that during the war. It became automatic. We all hate gas masks and children had gas masks decorated, you know, with Mickey Mouse and things. Yeah, somehow we all survived. We got used to the bombing and rates. Yes.

Unknown Speaker  2:29  
So What school did you go to? Oh,

Speaker 2  2:32  
I went to it was called Brookfield. It was opposite that cemetery where Karl Marx is buried in Highgate. And I did pass the exams to go to Camden high school, or Parliament Hill High School. But my parents couldn't commit to keep him in. So I was 18. And all that was involved in that. My mother was an invalid, she had a form of paralysis. So it was quite difficult at home. And so I went to Brookfield Central School. And because it was your in the war, I imagined all the male teachers had been called arm. So it was all female teachers. But in actual fact, they did really well by us because we all got many good results. And when you finish there when you were 16, there were no eight levels in those days. It was 1952 when I left. Our school sent people to an advertising agency in West End. And every year they sent a couple of people there because in the final year at school, we learned shorthand typing, and bookkeeping. And that really stood us in good stead for working. And so I got a job at the advertising agency in West End. And I was there for about a year or so into my got news of ITV opening in 55, September 55. So at the advertising agency, we got all the bumps coming in about the new ITV components. And a friend of mine who worked. Her husband was an actor, John Sherlock. And she said that he was going to work for the new company in something called an Ad Rank advertising magazine, which we're not happy for, because we only have one but in those days, we had one TV channel, BBC and it was black and white, and everything was live. And so when ITV opened, it opened up a whole new range of programmes and things and advertisements in between the programmes which were not happy for you And so she encouraged me to apply. Associated Rediffusion, who got the week time week day contract. So she encouraged me to apply to them. And I did so in the August and I got a job as a production assistant. I didn't really know what that was. But my friend Hazel said, it's an interesting job. And you'll be doing something different every day. And I said, Oh, that sounds wonderful. So I went for the interview. And then I got the job. And I started working there in August 1955. In the opening night office, so we worked on for a month we worked on all the arrangements for the opening night, which tend to be at the Guild Hall. And then on the actual day, I went to the Guildhall and check that everything was all in place, the catering and so on. And then I went to one of the parties that was running for the opening. The Granville Theatre in Fulham. I went there. And they went on the air that night. From the next day, we're making programmes and frankly, we didn't really know what we're doing most. Were all not many. And a couple of people came few people came from the BBC. The rest were all new people. So we were learning from scratch.

Speaker 1  6:28  
And you remember working on down beats company? Yeah, so

Speaker 2  6:32  
I worked on quite a few music programmes to start with. And then I was moved on to date Lester, as he was known any verse to be Richard. But he was deepness to them. And we were allocated the Doom shows that we're moving from radio to television. So the first one was idiot weekly price top one's meant to be a newspaper. And then it was a shackled read. And then some of Fred and nail, they featured Peter Sanders and swipe minigun not Harry Harris he can wasn't in them, he'd gone to Australia. And yeah, so that was an initiation of firing on that. So at the very beginning when I was 19, working on the doomsayers of Fred Jones, it was quite intimidating because I go into the studio and they'd often tie me up in the middle of for three or four of them no jump up and down. There was always a brass bet said ensue there with false moving, be backprojection behind fast moving road or river and they often used to get on there and they do something for near called Ageas Firstbank. And they had rains and things on bottom of the brass bed and road behind. It was all quite funny. But I started being a bit wary about going into the studio because I'd been out shopping and bought some new trousers and Patty Lewis was a Canadian singer. We had Jude lovely, she became a great friend. So she come with me and we bought these trousers and they had to zip up the front. Well, that was unheard of for women's trousers. In those days, women and Trump's didn't I was a part of the front it was was signed. And I made the mistake of mentioning it to somebody will name them they had my trousers off. And at that point, a party of VIPs will come in and says, and they saw me in my trousers taken overnight. And so after that, I always looked in studio first to see who was in there. And it was very it never went anywhere near the bed or in your could be tied out. Things like that. I couldn't dare tell my mother. She'd been appalled if she'd heard what they were doing two minute suitors. And then they mentioned earlier I think about in the sketches that Graham sock and Kenneth Calma would retrieve when I was given unwind up and they started throwing themselves on the floor and laughing they would say all the lines to get us out on time, you know, and I had a failsafe thing. I had some films five minute gun in the distance wearing the goon sheet. And one of the fishing has we all had these tweed fishing hats, or give give mine to the Goon Show preservation. And the pitch was fine. We're in the fishing hat in a goon she was just an ordinary bet. sheath with a hole cut in the middle of the put over your head. And he was coming from a long way away. It ran for a minute and 1010 seconds escape. And he did all the ducking into hedges and going dumb pedo, Peridot and all this sort of thing, all the way up to the camera. So what I used to do, I used to roll that one minute before the end, the commit the time we had to come out, which is very precise, because every day sweeps their programmes at the same time. And then turn the very end, it will come out with a boxing glove punching him in the face as he got up close. So I used to back time from now on I could get out on time sometimes all hell, but they they were just I mean, the other thing was that they used to explain all the jokes in in the programme. And we used to have lessons from army camps about how they love the postbag, you know, it is postbag. And they used to talk, you know, talk about what he'd read for Army jokes. Well, we had a sensor, who was very posh on prem, and picked out all the bloodies and dams that missed all these obscene dirty jokes. They come through. So by the time I was 20, I knew just about every dosage out there wasn't a business because they used to explain them all. To me. It was horrific. Yes. But they were good fun to work with. It was like again, it wasn't like work he went to work and played really. And then at the end I think reason why people drink a lot in Tony is because in those days it was all life as he fell into the bar afterwards really lifted. And that's where people tended to drink a lot to recover.

Speaker 1  12:08  
Very show. Yes. shows there. Yeah.

Speaker 2  12:12  
music shows. I did. Yes, they will. I think the game says further more memorable.

Speaker 2  12:28  
Yeah, see, do you want to hear more about the gotos? Well, they, we can rehearse. They will everything was live in those days. It was all black and white, television and live. And you couldn't retake things you had to make it work first time. And on the dangers she's sorry. Yeah. So on the goon chose. We arrived into sudo and looked at the set, they disassembled and we didn't have an audience, but the SU do hands and everything. So they were allowed to just laugh and give us audience reaction. And that's what we did for the three shows and patrons alike. were fairly undisciplined in that day. They turned up but they felt like it really and under rehearse when they felt like it when they actually did sketches. And lines had to be said, they were not awfully good at coming out on time for the commercial break or the end of the show. And they had to be mad to rely on the actors we had in the goon shows. That was people like Graham Stark and Connor, button time doll. And if when we gave them the wind up at the end, they patrons five will collapse into hysterics and kick their legs in the airline floor. Graham and Graham sock and Kevin's corner would say everybody's lines to finish the sketch so we could come out on time. So it was all a bit traumatic trying time shows. And of course, timing didn't matter because the advertisements that went in in the middle and at the end actually paid for the programmes. And so you had to make sure that an agent they went in at the right time. At one point I was moved on to the no hiding place. But I did find wrong on my very boring. And I used to find, you know three weeks in a rehearsal room. I wanted to scream by the end of the first week with boredom. So I moved on and did outside filming for no hiding place, which meant I was out on rotation which I must have had that. Yeah, so that was all good. I did quite a lot of no hiding place programmes. Time to think what I moved on to often can't remember, Oh, this week in 1962. I moved on to this week. And I was on that for two years auto 62 and 63. And there were two film units, two directors and two pas who alternated. So once a fortnight I went abroad filming for two years. And on the other week, I did the life show in London for this week television house in the Kingsway, which is where a small studio was. And I tie worked on that for two years. And I bought quite a lot of sort of stories about filming, we usually took our reporter with us. But sometimes we didn't take the crew, we had the crew in whichever country we're going to. So that varied a bit. But they were quite illustrious reporters, people like I've forgotten to say.

Speaker 2  16:34  
Alright, I'll start that one again. So there were quite illustrious reporters on this week. People like Jeremy Saul, who became leader of the Liberal Party, and Paul Johnson, and quite, you know, fairly industrious people. And so my education which stopped and, you know, levels that I felt a bit out of my depth really. So what I used to do on Monday morning, when I was told where we were going to be filming, you know, abroad, I would call in at the research office and speak to the Senior Researcher, rich, Courtney Brown, and Tandy, morose gang what the story was, for example, I would say it was about chief in our hero in Nigeria, who just been imprisoned. And I will go home and pack my bag up my suitcase, my passport. And when I came back, he would have typed me an a4 page with about four or five paragraphs giving me the knocks of the story, and the names of the people involved. So although I couldn't add anything to discussions on the plane, or in the cars, I at least knew who we were talking about. And that was really my first example of learning to bluff. And to get by.

Unknown Speaker  18:08  
with quite a few stories in America on the filming

Unknown Speaker  18:16  
Jeremy Isaac was involved with it, then. No.

Speaker 2  18:21  
Other company, ABC. All right, you need to start with

Speaker 2  18:34  
and then the underpants of this week stories that the alternate week, where you did the London filming, and a live studio show. The politicians who came in and been in the green green room drinking for quite a while and often had to be sort of almost carried into search propped up in order to do their and we all manage somehow.

Speaker 1  19:09  
This, you certainly worked on a lot of musical stuff here.

Speaker 2  19:12  
Yeah. I'm just trying to say if I could think of this sweets, or is that even more interesting for you? Right? I went to the White House several times. Yeah, we were there for the Cuba crisis in the 60s. And as we walked up the past, it was quite funny. What you have to get the security clearance weeks and weeks ahead, especially in summer like my house. And as we walked up the path, one of the security guys called out and which one of us Sullivan when I was making my maiden name, and I said it was me and he said, Oh, fine, just just checking, but they they obviously just wanted it because at that time, the troubles in Ireland were fairly active. So they will be looking at the IRA clock. Yeah, so that we were there for the Cooper crisis. We saw we filmed Pierre Simon, who was the press secretary. And we saw President Kennedy. We were in the Oval Office for the interview. And we saw President Kennedy and his family take him off in the helicopter for little naps online. So it was all countries it so and then I was there again, when we filmed Robert Kennedy, who was then Attorney General, about the first negros student going into Mississippi University. And in Mississippi, you know, this black student had his car was covered in bullet holes, and they put sugar in his petrol tank and all sorts of things. We lived through them for a week at motel. And the students were all very kind and helpful towards him. But it was the people in the town who didn't want black students going to noon. And so that was one. So we filmed Robert Kennedy at his office. And then we flew down south to Mississippi and filmed with the Black Student gotten his name at the moment, I can't remember his name. I mean, who's, who's the black student who went in? James? James, James Meredith. So I do that, but again, yes, so the blank shooting we were filming at the university was James Meredith. He went on to really become quite a well known picker. But so that was an interesting location. We were filmed in Rome, the one of the Ecumenical Councils. And I have got pictures somewhere under the Pope's window with the statues that you can see in the square, under the window, where the Film Unit was actually just behind the searches, and the Pope did his normal speech and the window bar, you know, it's all quite exciting. So, but I think when you're younger, you don't, I was only then in my early 20s, I don't know it. So I appreciated it as much as I should have.

Speaker 2  22:54  
More other interesting stories. We did a story. We did a story for this week on Danila dolci, a man who was fasting and to death, about the mafia in Sicily. And we flew to since the night before. Now, if we flew to Rome, the day before, and we picked up an Italian crew. Well, they didn't speak English, and we didn't speak Italian. And they will quiet certainly really. So. So the director in the morning said, Would I travel with them, we all travelled in separate cars, so that anybody who was tracking don't need adults, he wouldn't be able to, you know, pick on one of us. And I got in the car with the crew. And we went into a shop and bought wine. But when we got to CES today, we got out the plane, got in the cars, we went and bought wine. And by the time we arrived in the location up the mountain somewhere he was forced down to debt into Shannon out there somewhere. And the crew were all quite happy and we were all ready to work. You know, we never divulge what we're doing till we got there because we didn't want any one news to leak out that we were going to film. So it will have to be a bit cloak and dagger. So it was often in a way exciting working on things. And then at the end of his all, we got back in cars down in three separate cars again, considering the film in various cars and some tapes. And I met at the airport and flew home. There was an interesting story in Canada, where they had put nuclear warheads on Navy do fighters and we flew out. We'd all been kitted out in cold weather gear because we were then to the Arctic region. And when we got there, the Canadian Air Force just laughed Chris. And they put firstline booze over my boots and anoraks over all the things that we had. And in the end, we just had eyes showing. And because your eyeballs froze if you stayed outside for long, so we filmed on the airfield as voodoo fighters taking off and landing for several hours, and the director Adrian Cooper was a real gentleman. And because there wasn't enough room in the camera call for us all to get in enough time between the plane taking off and landing again. He always volunteered to stay outside. So by the time we finished filming his eyeballs had frozen his eyes. We got back into the building. And it was hours before he had thought out. And when he went to the loo, it was brown because it had concentrated so much. And it just it was quite a frightening experience really be out in the cold for so long. We'd never experienced that before. Yes, filming in Hong Kong for a month on Lordan on a knife edge with Lord finesse. When we arrived there, we really couldn't manage the food with chopsticks. And Lord finesse was a bit scathing about the fact that we dropped so much food on the table with our top six. But by the time we left off four weeks, we were all we managed to eat a 12 course meal all with chopsticks. And without dropping it on the table. It just took time to learn. But the camera menu sir, remind me when I got back in evening, Sam so hungry Marjon are eaten and thinks I am I had to get biscuits something for him. And then we would go out. We'd be filming all day. And then the evening I went shopping. And every night I had things made silk trousers matching tops, then choose made to match the trousers in silk unlined. Oh, it's absolutely wonderful. And as you walk through the streets of Hong Kong, you could hear the clicking of them on Play march on they will have the windows open. And you could hear the clicking noises. And there was a water shortage. So when we left in the morning, we had to ask the maids to fill our boards with water while we were out when the water was on top. otherwise wouldn't be any boss during the evening. And here's the exciting time we had a day at Hong Kong racecourse, where we were given the role box because of Road Runners. And we had a wonderful day there on wind and nine and it was a very exciting four weeks. An old colleague rang me a few months ago to say was it you I sold footage executives that weekend? So I looked it up and sure enough, it was actually me on filming on location for when I worked on Orlando the programmes that same kid made and so I looked it up and I'd seem to be wearing a very strange brown fur helmet hood saying that it must have been fashionable at the time it must be programme. Anyway, I then wrote into or emailed footage detectives and I was able to give them the names of all the people they hadn't been able to identify. So they did a piece on that few weeks later. Yes, that was quite interesting. It filmed me on there hiding place at night normally was always pretty awful. But because in the early hours of the morning, you just want to go home you don't want to have another meal or have to travel back to London. But when we did travel back to London, and if it was in the Russia, we all got into inspector little cars car and lay down in the backseat. And then we drove through all the traffic lights and red head and my gate in Russia back to London. And nobody ever saw us bringing the police well on the call. So yes, we did. I mean, things like that you'd be arrested for now but we got away with it.

Unknown Speaker  29:56  
Oh your time at the Central Office of Information.

Speaker 2  30:00  
Oh, yeah. Yeah, I did quite a few documentaries, for COI. And what I liked about them was they still shot on film. Although most companies have gone on to video by then, but they shot on film. And they've always really interesting stories. One, there was one particular story where they have a department where the head of that department goes round all the British Council offices every year, all over the world. And when she got to one country where they practice cannibalism, she found that the wife of the whoever it was she was into, had disappeared and probably been eaten. So I think British Council had quite a lot of sorting out to do after that month, but they will client interesting stories, most of the time.

Unknown Speaker  31:05  
Some television, when did you join there?

Speaker 2  31:09  
Oh, yes. I went back there after I gave out work to have my children and I southern TV where the nearest company at Southampton near as to where I live in Celty. And so it was a 45 mile journey each way. And there was no motorway then. But anyway, Jake Hargreaves was the conservative programme. And I'd worked with him in London on this week, when he'd been added for a picture poster near to, and he was now controlled with programmes. So he gave me a job as a principal PA, which meant I earned more money because in order to cover the petrol costs of the long journey, and au pairs and everything, I obviously need more money. So I worked out some prints for PA. I worked on a programme about Florence Nightingale, first of all, and then I went into the documentary department. But the head of PAs was a man at that time is usually a woman. And he took me into the office where I was going to work the documentary office, where they're all quite opinionated, and charismatic characters, the directors, and he opened the door and introduce me as Hello everyone, this is Marge. And she's been put in here to soil out where you can imagine I was Public Enemy. Number one, nobody wants to go to lunch with me. Eventually, it'll come down. But all I did in them was to get them to do an a4 Page of roughly what they're planning to shoot before they went out, which they were not doing. Anyway, I worked at sunburn for quite some time, the anti Clent programme. So we did a programme about the hovercraft, the new hovercraft that they were building in France. And we we've been filming hovercraft all over the south coast of England for weeks and weeks on end. And on this final day, we were flying in the company plane over to France, to film the hovercraft being long not raunchy, but opened and commemorated. And so along the way, in the studio, I heard on the news that it burned down in a night. So when I got in there, nobody believed me, the crew Wilson had some, and I say, and then it came through on the news. So we just sent a news command to film, the burnt out rank, and it went on the news, but we never did that programme. But what else do we do now? I'm trying to think of other programmes that are interesting.

Speaker 2  34:16  
There was one, one programme that was really very strange. When we went to Cardiff, I think it might have been for this week or not at all. No, it was some television so it wouldn't be as we saw that one again. There was a programme I worked on in which involved going to Cardiff, Nick Barker was the presenter. And we were going to be filming a story about Radio Free Wales, which was a sort of activist group behind the scenes, which is to transmit when the BBC closed down at midnight, which they did and they It says Radio Free Wales that then broadcasts on that not turned network. So we will go into film. Radio Free whales are one of their secret locations. So we had to meet in a park in Cardiff, where we're wrong blindfolded, and then put into a van and taken to a housing site somewhere on the edge of Cardiff. And then we were taken into a house where we filmed a man wearing a mask, who was the head of Radio Free Miles, who explained what their position was and what they were fighting for. And they were all put back in the band, take them back to the car park, the park in Cardiff. And we could take blindfolds off then and go home. So next day, we went to film applied Cameroon, the official Welsh party. And there, the man we interviewed was the man we nearly all collapsed in hysterics. It was the man we didn't food the night before. pretending he has nothing to do with his will. And so that was quite amusing when

Speaker 1  36:19  
run around. You worked on that? Oh, yes.

Speaker 2  36:24  
Yeah. I went on a programme called run around which we started off. We did the first few that Drake was called in Napoli, who went on to go and live in Sweden and is quite well known Swedish film director now Colin, not me. And he was the director. We chose my readers, the printer. And it was kids running around and competing, you know, for prices and so on. And we usually had an interesting, interesting vehicle person in studio for the children. And one week, our researcher who went around the schools regularly and got our audience from the schools. We came from to schools usually, she had made a mistake and didn't realise that she hadn't booked anyone because he was half term. So nobody could come in anyway. So we hadn't got an audience. So I got tense stagehands, gave them all a tenner. Put them in a taxi, send them off round Southampton round rammed up all the kids in the playground. And they all came back with a taxi loads of kids and we had an audience. But what we overran and when we came out with the angry parents were in reception. When I'm in again is another case of we probably be arrested. But at least we had an audience. We got away with.

Speaker 1  38:07  
77 new freelanced on LWT on the queries or arts promo on a share.

Speaker 2  38:15  
Only share Yeah, oh, that must be more we did her. I was trying to remember what it was for it might have been pretty Clara Anisha ran a drama group in schools for disadvantaged children in North London. And she's quite a character, she could get them to do anything really. She was said that mask work, you had to be very careful with mask work because they could actually become the person that the mask represented. And she was quite careful. But the kids will love her and she very charismatic overseas students who came to England for three months also to learn to be television directors. And they often came from African countries where they had TB and they were announced as already. But when I actually said to somebody, why do they need a course on on doing this? And they said, because if you ever watch that type of as you'll see, the news readers that we've seen is that for a while they'll be introduced number seven NATO comm plush rotator than a note down again, said they have to learn other skills and they have to learn to do different things. But we always felt rather sorry for them because they came in summer clothes usually and for the winter in England. And we can say we're in b&b in London somewhere where they had to be out of the place in the morning and they spend Mrs. Day in the library or wherever. So I did invite one person down to sell Z. And on the day he was coming out rain was raised with an entrepreneur, a friend, who actually lives on the Isle of Wight, which I can see from my window here. And she lives over there now. And we both were working for British Council. And she lived at Hamburg at that time, not on the Unwind. And so we invited a fella called Ferdinand down for the Sunday. And for the whole weekend, I would have him on Saturday, keep him overnight, and then we'd all go to handle on Sunday go out on their boat. It was all arranged for on the Saturday, he didn't arrive. And we waited and waited and he still didn't arrive. And I didn't lie to people for a dinner party that night, who will be suitable for him from where he came from. I can't remember which country it was. And people who would, you know, be relevant to things he knew. And of course, he didn't turn up but we had a very nice dinner party without him. And next day, we all went to Hamburg anyway, in a winter on a boat. And when I got to the British Council on the Monday, he was there. And I said, What happened weekend? And he said, on the way to Victoria, I called in to see my friend and he was a very well, so I stayed with him. And I said, whether it's under all little red telephone boxes, you can use heading and it went over his head. But I did actually report that to British Council because I felt as if he'd been there nearly three months, and he still didn't understand something like that he needed somebody to be talking to. So yeah,

Unknown Speaker  41:53  
yeah. TV s documentaries. Great storm. Zebra disaster. Oh,

Speaker 2  42:03  
yeah. Well, Oh, yeah. Well, no to it. I worked in Maidstone studios for TBS, quite long. And we filmed a year after the zebra look at his last, we filmed the first anniversary programme on the sister ship, which is exactly the same design as the one that went down. And we filmed in our remaining relatives and so on. And they described what it was like on the ship when they went on its side. So suddenly a seating arrangement, when turned on his side became like a ladder. And that's how some of them managed to get out. And Peter Williams was the interviewer and the producer and he worked on the principle with sensitive subjects like that. That the camera to add that and the button says to eat got them talking. It did the camera turned over. And we'll clapper on the end. But we got the you know, the good interviews from them when they weren't expecting it ready. And when we got back to the studios, I hadn't got a bloodshed sign blood sheets were those little forms, we got people designing and got a contract, you know, and what I hadn't got somebody to sign as who'd had their interview done in his way. And she went through her interview. But I didn't get wrapped over the knuckles that but I decided it was probably ethically right anyway. If she didn't want to be found that it wasn't, but it was quite traumatic filming with people who'd lost relatives and loved ones. Peter Williams has a good inferior

Speaker 1  44:03  
TV Amy worked for for awhile, various commercials. And

Speaker 2  44:07  
then that's about except that's where computers would come in. I do remember working at tvm as a freelance and when I went in and more new in my portable typewriter ridicule from the PAC work. Here's another freelance with her little portable you know but we're all learning to do get use the internet you know and cope with computers. So it was a learning curve.

Speaker 1  44:42  
I wrote down the HTV history of wells with with people Thomas don't

Speaker 2  44:46  
remember. I only did one programme they couldn't get worse for him pa I was the only one available so I didn't

Unknown Speaker  44:56  
turn Stevie Tim silence.

Unknown Speaker  44:58  
Oh yeah. So

Unknown Speaker  44:59  
can we forget If

Unknown Speaker  45:01  
I work with Kevin Brown on Tim Simon's sorry, can we start laughing again, David, what's his name? David? Crockett.

Speaker 2  45:15  
Good. Soft again. I worked on Tim silence for about a year with David Gill and Kevin Brown, who real really into old films and restoring them a fascinating, the one that I worked on was safe and break down, I think. And it was amazing. They were so dedicated what they did, but because they were on nitrate, the films they had retransfer because that very flammable nitrate, and they had to be transferred. And then they had to go where I had to go down to the temp studio at Teddington, where the edit suites were did more complicated. So and because I didn't really understand what I was doing what I was explaining what the process was, I had to take the cans down and have them put on to other film you know, have the nitrate transferred. And then I assume they will coloured and various things were done to them. So I had to memorise and write down what it was David and and, and and Kevin wanted me to actually do, but I didn't really understand what it was I sort of repeated it parrot fashion and left it with the editors and hope that they will be able to do too. But yeah, so that was I didn't really understand the processes and but then after that they had showings when the film had been coloured and dealt with and it was safe medium. They used to have showings at the Dominion Theatre in Tottenham Court Road and called diverses to play. Phil Amani is to play to accompany them. So that's where I was faithful to.

Speaker 1  47:31  
Back to the CLI again in 8289 technology of the future

Speaker 2  47:41  
that was the point where just about mastered the computer. And I worked at the COA offices. We all had to sign the Official Secrets Act. So you couldn't really discuss what are you doing in my house and officer to future was we were white film me for about three or four weeks on a ringtone on several different stories. One was the nose project at Nottingham University. Another one what are the others that we did fun to think? Oh, the first one of the first operations that make DIAC who did heart operations turn Newcastle hospital and that was quite an eye opener because we got there I thought we'll fill me a new anaesthetic, which we were but we had to go in to a full heart bypass operation. So I got the crew gound up and got their head covered up their hair and everything and we all got in there and I backed up against the wall as far away as I could get from the body and make Dr Koo was teaching a new surgeon and he came across and took me by the hand and led me to the body and said you must watch this my dear My nanny don't Luckily I didn't pay because actually was an operation is covered in green. And you just see a square for the bit where they're operating. So you're always looking at a picture and then there's a curtain here so you don't see the head of the patient where they will fill me rundowns and so I managed not to faint or do any city but that was quite an exciting day that I wasn't expecting

Speaker 1  49:44  
to to in training courses for independent television it ca

Speaker 2  49:48  
o it ca say that Ms courses run by the Independent Television Association and they used to studio for Um, which university when it Cardiff University, I think it was. Bristol. Thing is Bristol. And it was for people who want to know the outer ITV companies doing different jobs. He wanted to train as directors. So it was sort of a director's training course. And we had sort of right head of cameras from one company and stage manager from another. And they all came to this course, in either Bristol Cardiff it was I can't remember exactly. And they had very well equipped studios. And so we we had a professional PA and visual mixer. And then the rest were all people learning to do the direct chain job. So yeah, so worked on that for quite a while. I don't think there's anything particular about it now. I've done a lot.

Speaker 1  51:08  
Just checking. TV series 89, called profit with honour. Oh,

Speaker 2  51:17  
don't miss the documentary. Right? Profit with honour was a documentary I made about Billy Graham, the American Avengers. And it may fit channel four. And we were in America for three or four weeks, I was the production manager on that. And we took a crew from England. And we had two researchers working nonstop trying to get people to speak out. We couldn't find anybody to give an alternative view on videogram everybody's feet very high nailed him. And we had two quite senior researchers working on it. So we were out there for three or four weeks we went we did about 14 flights. We caught most of them by the skin of our teeth, skidding into airports, throwing the silver boxes onto a trolley and running to the plane apologising as we went. I had the crew all on multivitamin tablets, because they were so exhausted with the flights and the heavy sheduled that I had to really give them vitamin tablets in the morning and make sure they took them at breakfast. Trying to think of exciting things on that. The big thing about monogram was, he never allowed himself to be left in a room with a woman that he didn't know. So it had to be a member of his staff. So that's why he was so good squeaky clean whenever ever any stories about him because he ensured that he was not not put in situations where he could be sued. So and he lived in North Carolina, and a very simple house. Very simple office. I got pictures of his office. And we went we visited about three or four of his offices all over America. And then he came to England and did the interviews with David Frost. In England, when when we finished all filmy we did the fine art infusing England fascinating man

Unknown Speaker  53:51  
once one that sticks out, hey country ways.

Speaker 2  53:55  
Ways. Yeah, they were rather nice programmes to work on for something. They were would in the south of England. And I used to wake up in the morning in lovely country hotels, having eight nobly foods the night before. And thinking to myself, I can't believe I'm being paid to do this. So it was just filming all sorts of interesting things, you know, however, I have to say when I was writing my memoir, I have to say I realised that things I learned about hedging and ditching and things like that I don't touch this internet very much. But was all interesting to learn at a time

Speaker 1  54:39  
and you've lectured at three universities, Farnham, Southampton and Portsmouth. Yeah.

Speaker 2  54:44  
And document. When when the franchise is changed freelance television work, dried up. And somebody else went to go and do a lecture at my local college and churches. And I did one note or wait for a few weeks? And then they said, Would you like to do the teachers training course. And I said, we're not ready, because I'm hoping to go back into sewers and when they get going, and so they said, well, we'll pay for it, and, and etc. So I did the teachers training course. And at the end of it, I had a diploma, which enabled me to take all 30 University Federal Education, schools or universities. And if I'd carried on for another year, I could have gotten this degree. But that time, I was teaching at Southampton University on their media course. Where else are they found them, sorry, Institute of Art and Design, are doing a day a week there on production management. I'll do one day actually just one day at Portsmouth University. So I was going to a different university every day of the week. And it was quite interesting actually. Just the whole thing about one of the things I found quite difficult particularly at Farnham was that you're not meant to correct grammar, or spelling. And that's really quite alien I found when when I'm smoking a word, but I soon got used to it to their ways of doing it. At Farnham, I particularly like farming because they saw shot on film there. And they had to hire in the camera and their lights. And they had to plan it and had to plan the lights. They couldn't just, I mean, with video, you can you do bounce one night off the ceiling and get ambient light. But with film, you do have to know how you'll have to light the people. And that's what I liked about working. And also I always went hand on location. So they never knew when I was gonna turn up, so they had to really be on their methylone and make good films. And at the end of the year, they had their film show at the British Film Institute. And I just felt they were very professional now I really liked working, you know, good head of department, and just a good place to.

Speaker 1  57:30  
Then I've got down here 1997 Return to TBS, ready as a production manager. Oh, yeah. For you.

Speaker 2  57:37  
Yeah. Yeah. So yes, finish on TBS. And I I'm trying to think what was notable about my time particularly, I was flourishing manager on consumer programmes. And I never went out filming and I had some interesting things. I won't talk quite her day on the end of the year, if you came in under budget, your budget was cut by this run upon a year. So in my final year, which was I returned to the millennium. I send my crew off on all the overnighted locations they wanted. I gave them a wish list for the crew kid of all the equipment and came in about 50 pounds under budget. And then the other thing we did that was quite funny at Christmas, we had brain deer coming down from Cairngorms and they used to come south in Christmas you know and do all that sort of Christmas shows all over the south of England. And I had spent 100 days in the candles I knew quite well and I'd been at the reindeer centre I knew that people there and there was a baby reindeer whose Mama died and I was able to give him a bottle and things like that tie quite an attachment reindeer already so when we bought them for the show, to come to the show, they come in the night before so we got a stable area ready for him outside the scene door doc and then we sent run the note to the studio offering reindeer poo in sacks to be bought so we get getting rid of it. So we made money on render poo and the people reindeer centre when I spoke to them said I hope you've got lots of buckets and spades and brooms. Because they may not like the lights you know they might stampede you So I set the stage hands out to get more brooms and shovels and things. But the reindeer were perfectly well behaved every use or so went on her. Yeah. But they do remember the reindeer at sometimes? Yeah, I think to be a PA, you have to have a certain mentality where you see life as a challenge. And mine was definitely helped by the fact. I grew up in the war. And I was evacuated twice. And my mother had power under says, so I didn't have an easy childhood. But in those days, there were no social services, nobody to help when she disappeared off tools for trim convalescence for three or four months. I was 10. And I owe 11. And I had to carry on at home, get myself to school and get my father's dinner every night. And that's what you did. And that's why when in recent years when I went, I run something here in Salisbury called the snack shack for young people, which we ran for about 15 years. We only folded up in when COVID was on. I realised when the local school told me that they had very few carers on their books. I said, that's because they don't identify as carers. You need to ask more questions, and observe more closely what problems they have. Because a lot of kids had to deal with situations at home that nobody knows about, you know. So that was quite interesting. Episode that helped me deal with the kids at snack shack as well.

Speaker 1  1:01:51  
Keep all your staff in line. We're working on TV productions. Sorry, give all the staff in line. We are working on TV. But

Speaker 2  1:02:00  
yeah, I mean, but seeing things like the teaching. I mean, it's quite intimidating. Addressing a class full of between 40 and 50 students. I don't know how I managed to do it. When I first started teaching. I was told that when I told them laughing or or sniggering, that they were laughing at me. So I made the point of saying, perhaps you'd gone to jail your job. So we can all here tonight. And they turned out you see they have nothing to do with me at all. And you get used to it. So then I was able to deal with big classes. Fun on the way up 40 or 50 in costs. And some of my students kept in touch afterwards. They went on and did good things. One of them does a really big advertising job for for rush a chocolate people. And he came over from Brussels a year or so ago and met up with another student. And they took me for lunch and so her to take the fall and dump on them less yesterday. So yeah, so you do hear from him and Kay funny. And also from the same site that we ran for the teenagers. They occasionally get in touch. So some of them they're all in their 20s Now

Unknown Speaker  1:03:36  
right. Thank you very much

Unknown Speaker  1:03:38  
England's here. Yeah, we've done it all.

Transcribed by


Marjorie Graham (née Sullivan) started at Associated-Rediffusion TV in 1955, working on the Opening Night of ITV programme, and later moving to Southern TV, TV South, Meridian, etc. Working as a production assistant with ARTV on shows with The Goons, music and light entertainment programmes, the drama No Hiding Place, and for two years on current affairs programme This Week, which involved regular filming abroad.  She moved on to  documentaries and continued to work for independent television companies until her retirement in 2000.