Brian Lapping on how he joined Granada

So that was my first job. I got a job at the Daily Mirror. And then I moved from the Mirror to the Guardian, and from the Guardian to the Financial Times, and then from the Financial Times to New Society, and it was when I was working on New Society, a weekly magazine, I was writing leaders in New Society, and one day one of the assistants on the magazine said to me, “You had a phone call asking who wrote this week’s leader.” And I glanced at it and said, “I did, why?” And she said, “Well, somebody’s asked.” And then I had a letter, it was addressed to me, “Dear Mr Mapping.” It was not the L, it was an M. “We’ve read an article you wrote last week and would be interested to me meet you. Would you be prepared to come to Manchester to meet us?” Signed Denis Forman. And when I got there, he told me that his wife, Helen Forman, his first wife, had read the article in New Society, shown it to him, and that was why he’d asked me to come and meet him to talk about joining Granada.

Just going back to the journalism, were you a journalist or a reporter? What was your job?

Oh, yes. On the Guardian I went to India and Pakistan and various places in Africa, and I can actually show you a big article in there I wrote when I was on one of my trips to Africa. That was my main thing on the Guardian and that was why I came to be hired by the FT, and on the FT I wrote all sorts of… I was major centre page writer of columns, and then I was deputy editor at New Society, and that’s when I got hired to work for Granada.

So it’s really Denis Forman’s wife…

Helen, yes. His first wife.

His first wife, spotted something and said to Denis, “You should talk to this man.” So you went up to Manchester to meet Denis Forman.

I met Denis Forman, I met David Plowright, I met Mike Scott, and possibly one or two other people. I was, sort of, shipped round the building and introduced to everybody, and then I was offered a job.

What was that job offered to you?

Well, it was not explicit, but Denis certainly asked me how much I got paid at New Society and I lied, I told him I got paid more than I really did, and he immediately offered me more than I’d lied about. So it was a bit tempting. So he offered me a job saying, “Come up and we’ll start you in work and we’ll have interesting work for you.” That was all.



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