How important do you think Granada was to the region?
Hugely. Hugely. I mean it brought …. The BBC was already there, but the BBC somehow kept itself to itself and was obviously an adjunct of the metropolitan BBC, of BBC, the Corporation. I don’t think it interacted in quite the same way with the population in the way that Granada did. I mean Granada presented itself as being THE NORTH and SLB was talking about issuing Granada passports. Obviously fake ones that you got stamped as you came over the border of Granadaland. A Granadaland passport! People would obviously enjoyed having their passport franked as they came past; that t fell through. He had some daft ideas.
But Granada certainly did,and apart from anything else, it recruited a lot of people locally than the BBC tended to do, many of whom were émigrés from other areas. I mean they started with, they started generating their own but certainly the Heads of Departments came from other parts of the BBC for the most part. Metropolitan BBC sent out into the wastelands to bring us good news. But Granada wasn’t like that and certainly we were very welcome on the streets. I think because, in part, as the news team, we were on the streets a lot seeking people’s opinions on this, that and t’other. We did a lot more Vox Pops than anybody else and people would say to you “You know, you’re great, we like out TV, it’s our kind of … good programmes, it’s really smashing, not like the BBC is it?” So evidently the more downtrodden in the population felt that the BBC was toffee nosed and not their style and we were reaching more into their lives. And indeed I suppose it’s true and the documentaries didn’t look for spectacular things at all. It was more kind of domestic and local and about small people than it was about big famous things and huge events and the rest of it.
I think it did that and I think, in general, and of course through the drama it did on television. It encouraged a lot of interest. It brought good drama to, I think, a wider population and they weren’t afraid of doing adventurous, artistic programmes. They did some Offenbach operas and things like that. Music and talent shows. They were very often admittedly made in London but the artistes they needed to get where in London.
I think they were good and I think, for as far as those of us who worked in the business, they gave people an enormous opportunity to learn, what to do how to do it, what you were capable of, how to work with other people, in a kind of relatively non-hierarchic team. There were certainly people at the top but you tended to get people with a much more casual and less formally laddered relationship than you do in the BBC. People were easier with the girls who did the typing and the Head of the Typing Pool and everyone. Everybody seemed to mix in, too much in, in a very good way.
There was always the feeling that the Sixth Floor was more remote. The famous Sixth Floor and I suppose to a certain extent they were and they probably had to be but even then it was not that difficult to get to see the man at the top with no problem at all.