Granadaland Conference set to celebrate company’s 60th Anniversary

May 2016 marks 60 years since Granada Television began transmitting to ‘the north’. It was to become the only commercial television company to never lose its franchise and was described by the New York Times as ‘the finest television company in the world’. The company was founded by Sidney Bernstein and became famed for its innovation, radicalism and quality…

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Stephen Kelly biography

Stephen Kelly joined Granada Television as a Researcher in July 1978 after working as a political journalist with Tribune magazine. Over the next ten years most of his time was spent working on political programmes, the first of which was Granada’s weekly local politics show Reports Politics. That was a followed by a stint on…

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Sandy Ross biography

Sandy Ross joined Granada Television in 1976 after working as a solicitor in Edinburgh. He worked initially as a Researcher on regional programmes and in particular Granada Reports before working with Tony Wilson on What’s On. He later became a Producer producing local and networked programmes such as the Mersey Pirate which presented more than…

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Ian Hunton biography

Ian Hunton came to Granada shortly after completing a degree in Electrical Engineering and Electronics at Newcastle University and a stint at AEI. He had spotted a Granada advert in 1969 asking for audio engineers. At the interview however they persuaded him to become a video engineer. For many years he worked in studio doing…

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June Buchan biography

June Buchan  joined Granada’s London office as a programme secretary in 1973, working on State of the Nation. She remained there for six months before leaving only to return shortly as the London programme secretary on World In Action. In 1973 she applied for a job as a Production Assistant in Manchester where she was…

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Frank Clarke biography

Frank Clarke was one of the first employees of Granada Television, joining even before it had begun transmission. He was hired by Sidney Bernstein as an Accounts Clerk and remained as an accountant with the company until he retired. During the early years he held a daily meeting at 4.00pm at the old Granada House…

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Brian Blake biography

Brian Blake joined Granada TV in 1966 after a short career in academia. He was initially employed to work on a project where World In Action material that had not been transmitted would be published in booklet or pamphlet form. After nine months however the project was declared unviable and Brian was told to go…

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Gordon Burns biography

Gordon Burns was one of the best-known presenters on Granada Television during the 1970s and 1980s, presenting programmes such as The Krypton Factor, Granada Reports, Reports Politics and the annual party conferences. Gordon came to Granada from Ulster Television where he had covered the troubles over a number of years. During his time at Granada…

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Brian Blake recalls how he joined Granada TV

Well I joined in 1966 and it’s a slightly strange story how I joined. Basically I was an academic, which sounds a bit pompous. I’d done two degrees in History and I was working on a big project in London on the history of parliament. I’d done three years of that and was beginning to…

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Frank Clarke describes how he joined Granada

Well, what happened in those days, with National Service, an employer was only obliged to take you back for 12 months after you finished your service. This was 1952. 1954 – came out in 1955. We were going to get married. I admit we was offered a regular soldier with a guaranteed promotion but I…

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Gordon Burns describes how he joined Granada

Before Granada, I was at Ulster Television in Belfast because I come from Northern Ireland, I’m Belfast-born, half Belfast-bred – I moved to England when I was five, and back when I was 13, to Northern Ireland, hence the lack of Northern Ireland accent! But I had worked on local newspapers, then I’d gone on…

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Joan Riley biography

Joan Riley joined Granada Television in 1960 as part-time copy typist working on the local evening news programme. She was the first person in the UK to hear of President Kennedy’s assassination when she picked up a call from the Press Association. After working in local programmes she joined the Promotions Department and then went…

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Ann Lewis biography

Ann Lewis joined Granada as a secretary in 1971 and worked initially in the Presentation Department. She went on to work in a range of areas including Local Programmes where she was the News Desk Secretary and was a shop steward for NATKE, the National Association of Theatrical and Kine Employees. After eight years at…

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Roland Coburn biography

Roland Coburn has been associated with Granada Television all his life. His mother was a well known Production Assistant at the company and at one time was secretary to David Plowright. As a consequence Roland has been in and out of the building since he was a child. His own Granada career began in 1975…

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Roland Coburn describes how he started work at Granada TV

I left school when I was eighteen, and then I went to work for a company called Greendow, which was a small independent place that used to have freelance editors, assistants and things to help out all the television companies around the country. They used to supply editors to work on programmes like World in…

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Kathy Arundale biography

Kathy Arundale joined Granada Television in 1957 as the secretary to the Assistant Chief Accountant, just a year after the company had begun transmitting. She spent seven years working in accounts before moving into personnel and after three years there she became personal assistant to Sir Denis Forman who was at that time Programme Controller…

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Maggie Coombes recalls how she came to be employed by Granada TV

 I’d done a postgraduate course at Bristol University in film and television, and I just wrote round to all the television companies I could think of, this is who I am, I’ve done this postgraduate course, I’ve been at art college for four years before that, I’ve done a three-dimensional design course, I’d like to…

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David Boulton’s memories of ‘Scene at 6.30’

I was a very poor press officer because I wasn’t any good at publicising things and being a PR man and after a fairly short while (I think about a year) Sidney summoned me and said, ‘How are you getting on?’ and I said “I hope I’m doing alright.” And he said, ‘Well, I think…

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David Boulton describes how ‘World In Action’ operated in the 1970’s and the team that supported the journalists

At any one time there was somewhere between 12 and 15 (maybe even a few more) producers, directors and researchers on World in Action and, of course, we had very regular meetings to discuss programme ideas and there was a quite fierce competition among the producers and researchers to put forward ideas that they would…

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David Boulton describes his experiences of making films in Northern Ireland for ‘World In Action

The two strands that I tended to make my own were films in Northern Ireland (that was the first one) because the so-called ‘Irish Troubles’ or the ‘English Troubles’ as far as the Irish were concerned were all bubbling up at this time from 1969 onwards and I had a peculiar ‘in’ into Northern Ireland…

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David Boulton on the renowned Steel Papers ‘World in Action’ programme

What happened was that there was a strike at British Steel. British Steel was still a nationalised company and there were rumours that the management end of the dispute was being dictated by the Thatcher Government and these rumours were very strongly denied by the management of British Steel, Charles Villiers, the Chairman of British…

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David Boulton on the challenges of making films under-cover

Another strand of films that I got involved in but I think this was really something that Gus MacDonald initiated was we needed to meet the criticism that it was very easy for us to go out to the United States, say, a very, very free country and make films very, very critical of the…

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David Boulton’s impressions of Granada as a company

First of all it was a family company. The Bernsteins were the bosses. The Bernsteins made the decisions. Sidney was the one with the social conscience who determined that Granada would be better than the BBC [British Broadcasting Company] at producing its news programmes, its current affairs programmes, and in developing a social justice direction.…

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David Boulton on the introduction of Electronic News Gathering

 Another thing that you did when you were head of current affairs was the introduction of the new technology in Liverpool, ENG [Electronic News Gathering], and the new technology high-tech newsroom. Yes, that was a nightmare because if there was anybody in Granada who knew less about computers than I did, I’d have been interested…

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