Well, I started when I sixteen see, working that is, I got lucky cos my uncle, he was a Key Grip in Ealing Studios and my Aunt Renee she was head Seamstress, so I fell on me feet.
Ooh it were hard work though, no slouching or hopping the wag, you had to be there on time and make sure you carried out your duties cos the film see, if it was in production they couldn't afford to be mucked about, it cost them thousands to rent the studio, just for a day.
My first real job was making a cod piece for Sir Lawrence Oliveoil, cause, he were not a Sir in them days, everyone called him Larry, he didn't like it, very posh he was, kept on about the proletariat whatever they were. So Renee says; "Ere, Alice, do you think you can knock up a cod piece for the Hamlet mob?" I thought she meant make a fish head out of paper.
When she explained what a cod was I nearly died! Ooh I was beetroot red with shame.
So, off I went with me tape measure in hand to Lawrence Oliveoil's dressing room, well
It was not really a dressing room, more like the bogs on the back of the plot.
I taps on the door and this lofty voice says; "Enter darling" I thought, who's he calling darling if my Ernie, cos I was engaged you see, heard him say that he would get punched up the throat and no mistake. So in I gets and he's sitting there in a brushed velvet smoking jacket, cigarette holder in one hand, gin and tonic in the other, I thought, blimey he's only saying two lines and that's all of thirty seconds. So I says me how do you do and I am here to measure you for a cod piece and would you be so kind as to stand. "Darling" he replies "I have one of my heads can it wait until later?" All he has to do is stand for god's sake.
Do you know, he would not let me do the measure, something about his legs and how they are needed on the set and how he has to stand still and not move an inch. Off I go back to the workshop, gets a tennis ball, and makes the leather cod off the back of that, fitted perfect.