Anne McGarry describes the type of news stories Granada used to cover

Well, because of the very nature of news every day, every day was slightly different. There was a whole range of stories but you did, after a while, tend to categorise them. They would be the death and disaster ones, people hurt or killed in road accidents, fires, or at work or explosions, etc.

Then there were the political stories, mainly local disputes but sometimes involving visits by members of the government. Visits to the area by celebrities, actors, film stars, opening nights of new plays, etc., visits by royalty. Sporting stories, mainly connected to football or cricket, but occasionally golf. If the Open took place, at say Lytham or Birkdale, Industrial disputes, party and trade union conferences, and developments in infrastructure, motorways or bridges would be of interest. But after a while, unless a really big story broke, it did become a little like Groundhog Day. So that when people say “Oh, what stories did you do?” it’s all a bit of a blur.

During the first year at Granada in 1959, the 1959 general election took place and Granada transmitted its ground-breaking marathon programme. And if I remember right, this programme went out over several days and gave them every one of the prospective candidates in the Granada area time slots to state their case. I think it was the first time that David Plowright appeared on screen. He was one of several people who introduced the candidates. My only memory now is David frequently disappearing for 15 or 30 minutes at a time and coming back quite animated and happy that everything had gone well.

And before David left the newsroom to take up the production of People and Places, he suggested a programme about books. He was asked to produce the pilot programme, and the vox pops item was planned, which took place in St. Peter’s Square, near Manchester Central Library, and they asked the journalist friend working on the Manchester Evening News to do the interviewing. So, this friend came into the newsroom before heading off to Central Library. And after the interviews he came back so I could transcribe the interviews.

He didn’t give the impression of a suave sophisticated interviewer. From memory, he wore a rather shabby dark grey raincoat, and wasn’t at all inspiring. The programme never got off the ground. It taught me a very important lesson of not judging people by their appearance, or first impressions. So, this friend of David’s was Harold Evans, now Sir Harold Evans, the world-renowned journalist and writer. He was the editor of the Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981 and the instigator of the investigation into the Thalidomide scandal. So, looking back, it was interesting, but at the time it was just every day.

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