Mike Beckham – biography (interview carried out by Geoff Moore)

Mike Beckham joined Granada Television in 1962 straight from Leeds University where he had been studying chemical engineering. He had spent most of his time at university however doing drama and won the NUS student drama award where he was spotted by Derek Granger. He was invited up to Granada and interviewed in turn by…

Read More

Mike Beckham talks about how he came to join Granada.

I joined Granada in 1962. I was picked up at university, | was very lucky. I won the NUS Sunday Times drama competition and by great good luck, Derek Grainger happened to be in the audience. I’d done a lot of theatre at university, and he said, would you like to apply for a production…

Read More

Mike Beckham on working on Coronation Street

As production trainees, we were extraordinarily privileged because we were in a position where we knew we were going to be producer-directors. I joined on the same day as Leslie Woodhead. We were the second batch of production trainees. The following year were Mike Apted and Mike Newell, so that was the golden year. And…

Read More

Mike Beckham describes how WIA was run

It was one of Granada’s jewels in the crown, as it were. It had the money, it had the backing, and above all it had the talent. There were some fantastic producers on there and some very good editors like Jeremy Wallington and Leslie Woodhead, Gus Macdonald, John Birt. It had the backing and the…

Read More

Mike Beckham describes his proudest WIAs

It’s extraordinary being in Vietnam because as I say, you’ve been in the Stables, and then a week later you’re in a helicopter in a battle zone. You had total access. The Americans allowed crews to go anywhere they wanted to, all you had to do was go to Tan Son Nhut and say, is…

Read More

Mike Beckham remembers Golden Square

I loved the smallness of Golden Square. You know, there was World In Action, the lovely girls in the casting department, very talented, and there was the drama department. We all drank together in the various pubs around Soho. And it was still great so go up to Manchester to see all the editors and…

Read More

Mike Beckham on working on drama-docs

I then moved onto drama documentaries. These were an offshoot of World In Action. We found, this is Leslie Woodhead and myself, we found various stories behind the Iron Curtain, which we couldn’t get a camera to for obvious reasons, but we could often get, say, a transcript of a trial of dissidents, or an…

Read More

Mike Beckham describes leaving Granada

I retired in 1998. I’d been there for 36 years. I was then age 60. I was told to leave. It was very cold outside, I can tell you. It was not this wonderful benign outfit. Towards the end I hated Granada because it had been taken over by Gerry Robinson and it was no…

Read More

Mike Beckham’s thoughts on the new world of TV

Yes, World In Action was killed off during the reign of Gerry Robinson because it wasn’t getting enough ratings. OK, fair enough, there were a lot of channels. They were simply killed off, they said it’s just not… OK, it’s much more difficult to make current affairs now because we were doing shows which nobody…

Read More

Mike Beckham reflects on Granada’s legacy

Well, I think it’s important that interviews like this try and keep it alive, because it was a remarkable company in that ratings weren’t the be all and end all. It was very important that there were good ratings, of course, but it was set up by Sidney and Cecil Bernstein. Cecil did the light…

Read More