Ref NoOHP/35
TitleArthur Hopcraft
Date18 January 2002
Extent1 audio tape, 1 cd, 1 file, 1 AIFF file (793.1 MB)
Creator NameHopcraft; Arthur (1932-2004); author, journalist, TV playwright
DescriptionInterview with Arthur Hopcraft, journalist for the Guardian. Conducted by Stephen Moss on 18 January 2002. Also includes a data sheet containing biographical details and information on the recording.

Summary contents of interview (with rough timings):

Disc 1:
Track 1
00:40 Early career
02:00 Joining the Guardian in 1959 and editorship of [Alastair] Hetherington
02:40 Guardian moving to London from Manchester
04:50 Impact of dropping 'Manchester' from the title
06:30 Reasons for leaving the Guardian - didn't want to move to London
08:25 Memories of Roy Perrott, 'typical Manchester Guardian figure'
09:10 Perception of Guardian before he joined

10:20 Away from the Mirror, tabloid stories about sex changes. Starting to report about these types of stories
12:00 Guardian's approach to reporting news
12:40 Concerns about 'losing contact with their readership' - expanding news coverage of North West
13:50 Reporting on eccentric characters
15:30 Story about Russian ex-valet to the former GB ambassador in Moscow
16:50 Radical image of the Guardian
18:40 Memories of the editor
19:10 Contrast with the Mirror editor taking the northern staff out drinking

20:30 Nesta Roberts - only woman in the reporter's room
22:00 Process of taking foreign copy over the phone
22:30 Memories of Peter Preston (as a reporter)
23:00 Trip with Preston to Ghana 1962 - sent as observers to a dictatorial referendum
24:00 Not much foreign travel for international stories, mostly done over the phone
26:00 Ghana High Commission was unhappy with one of his stories, and had Preston arrested
29:30 Got a taste for foreign reporting

30:30 Standing in as night news editor
33:40 Nightly news conference - process of selecting the stories
35:00 Next foreign assignment was 1963: JFK visit to Ireland
36:45 1963 assignment for the freedom from hunger campaign
38:00 Working mainly as a feature writer
39:40 Working with Brian Redhead

40:30 Changing ideas about the paper's layout
41:00 Use of white space
42:00 Peter [Preston] - ambitious and extremely able
42:50 Sent to Brazil for an advertising supplement
44:00 The political situation was unstable and he found himself reporting on a coup
47:00 Sound cuts out
47:30 Re-starts
48:00 Reporters came rushing in from all over the place. All the US journalists were interviewing him
49:30 Wasn't briefed on how foreign journalists use cable

51:00 Phoned Hella Pick, dictated his stories and she would pass them on
51:30 Alistair Cooke at the Guardian
52:00 GB papers not really interested in South America
52:50 Wanting to be a correspondent - Interviewed for a job at the Buenos Aires Herald
55:40 Guardian's reporting from party conferences
57:10 Getting the pick of stories that came from Manchester
58:20 Hetherington stated that the Guardian was essentially about politics
59:20 Hetherington and politics/politicians
59:55 'Sense of diminution' at Manchester office because of London move

61:00 Peter Eckersley - good friend at Guardian who moved into TV
63:00 Concealed that he was a big football fan and theatre goer so as not to be pushed into that kind of reporting
64:10 Work for the Observer - mostly on football
64.20 Observer had very distinguished football reporters
66:00 Career after the Guardian, going abroad for a book on freedom from hunger (1968)
68:00 Working in TV drama

70:00 Started writing plays for the Stables Theatre, for Granada
70.10 Talks about his play-writing career (including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsAccess to recording via GNM Digital Repository
FormatElectronic record
CD recording
Printed document
Tape recording
CopyrightGuardian News & Media Ltd and Arthur Hopcraft

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