Phillip Schofield should have been sent to BBC Yorkshire for training before he started his TV career - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Keith Massey, Bishopthorpe.

Real life, for once, seems to be more realistic than the television soaps? The current fallout at ITV with Phillip Schofield’s alleged off-hand behaviour to the staff and guests at This Morning - as well as concerns over his private life - is a serious threat to the ITV brand and share price. The management has allowed him to get out of hand.

What a pity the BBC didn’t send him to BBC Yorkshire for training before he started his career at CBBC?

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As a cameraman I started filming for the BBC from 1966 when the programme came from Manchester, then when the BBC started transmitting Look North from a church hall in Blackman Lane in Leeds in 1968 - in an effort to pre-empt the new Yorkshire Television franchise and brand new colour studios in Kirkstall Road.

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield attending the launch of Dancing On Ice 2020. PIC: PAHolly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield attending the launch of Dancing On Ice 2020. PIC: PA
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield attending the launch of Dancing On Ice 2020. PIC: PA

Bill Greaves was the enigmatic BBC station boss who had to pull the whole operation together on a minuscule budget and clapped out London equipment that was all black and white output.

We were working in film on location for the first 16 years shooting incredible national and regional stories on a regular basis and Bill told me that the station was “camera led” - above the status of the reporters and presenters, as we had to get the pictures to tell the story and not just shoot a piece to camera as now.

Whenever a new reporter arrived we were asked to take them under our wing and Bill said pointing to me and stretching his collar: “And don’t let them become a f****** monster”. I never did.

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This was in the heyday of television when the effect of appearing in front of the camera could affect some peoples ego in a superior way which sometimes needed to be checked - and all my camera colleagues played their part.

A trainee once introduced me as “her cameraman” which I took issue with. “This is not Hollywood and you’re not Marilyn Monroe” I replied.

So many distinguished colleagues represent the best of Yorkshire including Barry Chambers, David Seymour, James Hogg, Phil Hayton, Brian Hanrahan, Tim Ewart, Jeremy Thompson, Rory Cellan-Jones, Mark Byford, Mike Smartt, Harry Gration, Judith Stamper, Christa Ackroyd, John Thirlwell, Ken Cooper, Khalid Aziz, Jeremy Hibbard, Cathy Killick, Clare Frisby, Gillian Baxter, Amy Garcia, Sophie Raworth and Ian White. All well adjusted, nice people.

There is one classic case of keeping people’s feet on the ground. A great mentor, cameraman David Brierley, known affectionately as ‘mother’, took a graduate trainee - who, with no experience thought he was the greatest gift to journalism - out on a job in Bradford. He really irritated David with his demeanour and attitude throughout the filming and, towards the end, David asked the recordist, Graham Hough, to make a fast exit. They loaded up the gear into the vehicle and started to move off when the said trainee ran towards them and tried to open the passenger door - but it was locked. “David will you open the door, what are you doing?” to which David wound the window down slightly and said: Well I’m driving back to Leeds but you’re getting the bus back to the studio”, and with that drove off leaving a stunned trainee open mouthed in the rear view mirror.