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Sunday, 10 April 2022

University of 3rd AgeWorking for Auntie

Speaker: Christine Green

The guest speaker at the Todmorden u3a members meeting on March 17th was Christine Green who presented 'Working for Auntie', about her thirteen years at the BBC.

A very young Christine won Manchester Evening Post's art competition, and she told their reporter that when she grew up, she wanted to be an artist like her parents. Christine was a television fan in the 1960s. Among her favourite shows were 'Blue Peter' and 'Vision On', where her artwork was shown.

She attended a Foundation course at Rochdale College, followed by studying graphic design at Kingston Polytechnic. Two of her tutors had previously worked for the BBC, and advised her that Graphic Design was the way forward. She then 'aimed herself' at the BBC and became one of their 40 graphic designers. She worked with people including artists, typographers and animators to produce many, and varied, opening images and sequences for the BBC.

We saw a montage of some shows that she had been involved with, including Holiday Time, Hamish MacBeth and Our Friends in the North, among other programmes, and Christine answered a question that she had often been asked, and that we might have been thinking, along the lines of 'Which bits were Christine's?'

The answer was, in a way, that all the 'bits' were hers. She would meet with the producer and/or the director to discuss each project and come to an agreement about the nature and content of what the viewer would see.

In a short sentence, Christine told us what she would bring back to the next meeting: a storyboard, the 'casting out', the timeline, and money.
The storyboard, pictures drawn by Christine, showed what the viewer would see and hear in the title sequence. The casting out was about who she had identified as being able, and available, to work on the sequence, and the timeline was when it could be done by. Money was what the work was expected to cost.

If agreed, the work would go ahead and, perhaps after a number of adjustments and further meetings, the finished article would start of the programme

The first job that Christine did for the BBC was a series about the planet earth. The opening sequence, a model of the earth's surface, was made using Lego bricks. Every second of the opening film required 26 movements of the bricks, done manually. Not much time to do the maths at the presentation, but this works out at 1560 movements for each minute.

Her first award nomination was for a programme about Gabriel García Márquez, a Columbian novelist and screenwriter. She produced simple, but colourful, watercolour pictures illustrating aspects of his work. This led to her being asked to create the opening sequences to The Holiday Programme.

She also worked on Our Friends in the North, first aired on BBC2 in January 1996, which became one of the BBC's most successful dramas. The opening sequence showed the faces of the four main characters ageing, along with iconic, and memorable, images and film clips from the thirty years that the series covered.

Accounts of many other programmes, and anecdotes about actors, celebrities and incidents during Christine's time with the BBC made for an entertaining and informative presentation. These included an invitation to Buckingham Palace, where her Majesty stayed for some time. Christine wondered whether the event being on the same day that the Duke and Duchess of Yorks' public announcement of their divorce played a part, possibly as some light relief for the Queen?

To conclude the meeting, Christine took questions from the audience and told us about her current work which includes teaching crafting courses, and supplying a range of merchandise from her website.

The next Todmorden U3A Monthly Members Meeting will be on Thursday 21st April 2022 at 1.45 p.m. open to all fully paid-up members at the Central Methodist Hall, Todmorden, when Chris Freeman will be talking about 'What have volcanoes ever done for us'

Not yet a member? You can attend one talk free by requesting an invitation to this zoom event. We're always delighted to welcome new members. Contact details: website at www.u3atod.org.uk or email at info@u3atod.org.uk.

Many thanks to Colin Sanson for this report


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