Brian Blake talks about the politics of Granada TV

Somebody said to me that Granada was an unashamedly left wing company. Would you agree with that?

I know somebody who did, that was Ken Clarke. Again we were doing an interview with Ken Clarke in London, I think he was Home Secretary. He said to me, “I don’t know why I’m bothering doing this interview, you’re all left wing Marxists.” I said, “Well some people might think that all Tories are rabid fascists, but I don’t.” So there was a deathly hush. That was the attitude.

It was a very left wing programme, the British Steel papers, all the clashes with the government over Northern Ireland, the IRA and so on….

We were accused of giving terrorists air space, arguments that are still going on today and we’re talking about the Sixties and Seventies; some things never change. I think Granada was sort of conscious of that in a way. So they did try to make the odd Conservative one on ‘World in Action’. Generally speaking because people were young, because it was that sort of area of documentary making you tend to be left wing.

The same accusations are made against the BBC today aren’t they? They were saying the same thing forty, fifty years ago so none of that changes. They must be a Guardian reader because they’re doing these liberal things; it’s very difficult to escape from that criticism. I suppose yes it’s true, broadly speaking I suspect 80% of us would have voted Labour in the times. But then we’ve had the chairman of the young Conservatives, we’ve had Tory MPs working for us, we’ve talked to Ted Heath on programmes. So there was no sort of attempt to be purely one-sided, I think one did try to be a bit more liberal hopefully. Then as you say, looking down the team for example there were two members of the team Margaret Beckett and Jack Straw who both became Labour cabinet ministers, Lord Birt and Lord Macdonald… so there is a left wing tinge and was bound to be to that programme. Lord Bernstein was a Labour MP I think. Hopefully we were pretty fair about it all, I don’t think we were fantastically left wing.

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