Cat no. 226526

British Cinema History Research Project Oral Histories: Adrian (Andy) D. Worker (producer/studio manager)


Adrian D. Worker (1916 - ?)
Interviewed by Roy Fowler

Adrian D. Worker was born in Bedfordshire in 1916. He worked initially as an accountant for a biscuit factory, and entered the industry in the early 1940s as studio accountant for Gainsborough films at Shepherd’s Bush. He claims to have introduced the technique of cost accounting to the studio. When Gainsborough became part of Rank, Worker moved to Denham, working for Rank’s Production Facilities Department, which oversaw finances for Rank’s various ‘Independent Producers’. Always keen to move into production, Worker went Highbury Studios in the mid 1940s, as production supervisor under John Croydon. There he oversaw various ‘second features’ (for example, Badger’s Green), involving
graduates of the Rank ‘Charm School’. During the 1950s Worker became a freelance producer, working with figures such as Danny Angel & Val Guest, Bob Baker & Monty Berman, and Irving Allen & ‘Cubby’ Broccoli. In 1959, Andy Worker became the Studio Manager at Shepperton studios, a post he held until 1976. He then worked briefly as manager of Humphries Laboratories, but still found time to produce a film for the Children’s Film Foundation.

In this interview, conducted in 1988, Andy Worker talks to Roy Fowler about his career. He discusses typical budgets for the Gainsborough melodrama cycle, and briefly touches on the difficulties of working with figures such as Gabriel Pascal and Wesley Ruggles on famous financially fraught productions such as 'Caesar and Cleopatra' and 'London Town'. He discusses the working practices at Highbury Studios, and talks in detail about his experiences freelancing in the 1950s with figures such as ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, Irving Rapper, Alan Ladd and Bette Davis (he describes a personal visit of hers to the Odeon in Skipton!). Films he touches on include 'Body Said No', 'Mister Drake’s Duck', 'Another Man’s Poison', 'The Red Beret', 'Hall Below Zero', 'Prize of Gold' and 'Safari'. Worker gives a fascinating insight into the commercial background to production at Shepperton, discussing the kinds of financial arrangements necessary for a relatively small studio to maintain commercial viability. He discusses the film finance situation in the 1950s and 1960s and also touches on the effects of the Trades Unions on working practices, providing several details of his relationship with figures such as Tom O’Brien of NATKE and Alan Sapper of ACT. Particularly important films he remembers at Shepperton include 'Oliver!' and 'Casino Royale'.