My Mentor: Gary Gibbon On Elinor Goodman
'SHe would arch her eyebrow at the authorised version of events'
Monday 03 July 2006
Almost the day I arrived at Channel 4 News in 1990, Thatcher announced she was resigning. At that time we were in the basement of the QEII centre in Westminster. I was told, "You're going down to work with Elinor." Elinor was running around the dingy bunker in charge of everything and I didn't have a clue what was going on. And somehow, no thanks to me, the thing got on air.
I started as a general producer but I always wanted to end up in Westminster. One of the reasons was that Elinor had this wonderful style of sounding as if she was confiding in her viewer, as if she'd just come from intimate chats with people at the top. And in fact she had; she just sounded a little indiscreet. She slightly arched her eyebrow at the authorised version of events and there was a twinkle in her eye when she wasn't taking something very seriously.
You learn a lot being a producer of someone like Elinor, watching how they keep across the story and maintain fantastic authority and independence. She was incredibly balanced. No one ever turned round and said of her, "That was a slanted piece." I think that's a phenomenal achievement in all those years of broadcasting.
When she announced she was going last year I very much wanted the job and she couldn't have been more of a cheerleader. If I hadn't got it, I would have had the consolation of knowing that I'd managed to live up to some of the things she'd taught me.
As well as being a responsible journalist she's a fantastically subversive person with an impish sense of humour.
Her previous producers include Ed Stourton, Michael Crick and Jackie Ashley. They all love her dearly and when she had her leaving do we had a group photo of everyone who had ever produced her, which included quite a lot of people who are doing similar jobs to hers now.
Gary Gibbon is the political editor of Channel 4 News. Elinor Goodman was the political editor of Channel 4 News from 1988 to 2005
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