Brian Blake remembers Denis Forman

When I came to Manchester, I had never been to Manchester before apart from playing football in university days, but I had never been to Granada. I went to the desk and asked “Can I see Denis Forman?” They looked at me, “Is he expecting you?” I said “Yes he is.” I didn’t realise he was here on the sixth floor; he had this huge office, two secretaries. I just didn’t realise he was such a powerful important figure, which of course he was. He really was the front of Granada.

…Forman was the one you saw and had dealings with, not a lot because he had the whole empire to look after. He was a very imposing figure, very cultured, loved music, loved film, a very imposing man indeed.

One of his many claims to fame, going back to ‘History of Television’,was when I was doing a summit on sex in television, the beginnings of the sexual revolution and all that. His famous series which he set up and looked after, ‘The Jewel in the Crown’, has a scene where one of the characters comes down the corridor and through the door you can hear two people having sex, grunting and groaning and so on. The papers said the next day that it was the first time they had ever heard the sound of sexual intercourse on television.

So I interviewed Forman for the History of Television. I said, “Why did you do that?” He just rolled his eyes and laughed and said “Isn’t it about time we found out what was going on behind closed doors. Absolutely harmless!” He was larger than life figure.

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