Anna Ford on leaving Granada

I was headhunted by the BBC. It was 1976, and a funny man turned up and said, “Would you have tea with me in the Midland hotel?” And I said, “What for?” And he said, “Well, I want to talk to you about the BBC.” He said, “Desmond Wilcox wants you to be on a programme called Man Alive,” which was a big live current affairs programme. And I was in several minds about it, and I said no to begin with. And then Pauline Shaw said, “You’re mad! This is a massive offer to go to London to be on primetime television for the BBC, you want to take it. This is your career you’re thinking about. Otherwise, you can stay at Granada and you’ll be doing the same thing in 20 years.” So I went to see Denis, who said, “Well, I’d much rather you didn’t leave. If you do, I wish you well.” Then I went to see David Plowright, and he said, “I’d much rather you didn’t leave, but I wish you well, and if you want to come back again, you’d be welcome.” And so off I went to London with people saying, “You’re selling out, how can you go south? You’re doing what everybody has done, what Melvin’s done, and everybody’s done, you’ve gone south.” So I ended up working for the BBC, and then I ended up working for ITN. And there we are.

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