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  Thrills & Spills of My Life in Television 

 Nicola Down

8th Sept 2011

Television is far more than what you see. Many people of different skills and training are required to produce the programmes that are seen on our screens. One of those jobs is that of Production Assistant. Not an impressive title but a very important managerial position. The ability of the PA is paramount to producing programmes economically and efficiently. Today we heard Nicola Down give a superb and attractive account of her life as a PA when she told us of the Thrills and Spills of her work in the TV Industry.  

Starting as a sixteen year old she worked for nothing in TV to gain the right to Equity membership. Once accepted by this Union she obtained her first paid employment as an Assistant Stage Manager (better described by her as a dogsbody). The experience she gained on the bottom rung enabled her to obtain a job she desired as a PA. Although only seventeen, Southern Television offered her a position working on Teenage Programmes. The experience she gained enabled her to return to London and work for ITV as a PA at Elstree Studios where she disliked Des OíConnor but thought Tom Jones was a superb Professional Entertainer as were John Bird, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. This lead to two years working on The Life of Edward VII which, filmed in St Georges Chapel Windsor and Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight , was screened in eight episodes. After this she came north to work for Yorkshire Television where she continued as a PA and in other management positions until retirement.  


Our next talk takes place on Thursday 22nd September again at 10-00 am in Otley Methodist Church when local business man Trevor Backhouse will tell us about 25yrs of Patisserie Viennoise.

 

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