Anne McGarry on how Granada extended its programming in 1964

Now, in the autumn of 1964, Granada as well as the transmitting Scene At 6.30 began to really emphasise its commitment to the North of England introducing what it called its Granada in the North concept and this involved two or three minutes of newsy features which were meant to supplement or replace the continuity announcing, because of course it wasn’t all-day television. I looked up on Google some old TV Times and you find that there was an hour or an hour and a half of schools’ programmes in the morning and then same in the afternoon. And then programmes didn’t start till five o’clock. That’s apparently it was because the company was only allocated seven hours of transmission time.

So, sort of five o’clock until midnight… of course, they didn’t count educational programmes in that seven hours, so that was okay. So, they went from five o’clock to midnight sort of thing, with the seven hours. So, we had these newsy items in case it would be the sort of continuity talk, and then a 10-minute slot of northern news items called Good Evening from Granada. And that went out at ten to five. So, the newsroom team were still quite small, but we were helped out by researchers that were on Scene At 6.30 programme as well. So, the newsroom team contributed to all of this, and so we moved into the big open plan office, seeing as Scene at 6.30 still went out at 6:30, and Northern News followed the ITN news late in the evening, at about 10.30pm or about 11.00pm.

Right. Yes.

So, this open plan office was a hive of activity with numerous researchers and scriptwriters all working on Scene at 6.30 or the Northern News, or these newsy feature items for the Good Evening from Granada slots. So, there was a small studio at the far end of the room with a window looking out into the room and they transmitted shots of us all working in this office room, and this was transmitted most afternoons at the start of Good Evening from Granada. I’m not quite sure what we thought of it. I know my mother-in-law looked at it every afternoon, but she was probably keeping an eye on her daughter-in-law.

So, she could see you!

See if I was behaving myself! So, this move to the open plan office, and we were in daily contact with everybody. I mean, we had been anyway when we were in our small ordinary… in the newsroom as well. The researchers and the scriptwriters, they included Peter Eckersley and Arthur Hopcraft and Barry Cockcroft. He went over to Yorkshire Television, of course, to produce the wonderful Hannah Oxwell, of the Dales programme.

So seeing people like Michael Parkinson and Mike Scott every day, meant that we were immune from any sense of awe, I can only remember once being quite starstruck. And that was when Margaret Lockwood and… I mean, the names won’t mean anything to anybody, young people now. But Margaret Lockwood and Richard Todd were high up there, were appearing in a pre-London West End tour of the Opera House, the Opera House in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. They were invited in for an interview on the programme, but unfortunately, at the time Granada did not have a green room or hospitality room, where celebrities could relax. So we just had to sit them down in our open-plan office while they waited to be interviewed and it was quite an embarrassing situation for both them and us. I think shortly after that Granada made sure they had a hospitality room.

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