David Bernstein on why his father chose the north west for his TV company

He and his brother Cecil looked at a population map for the United Kingdom, and the rainfall map of the United Kingdom and decided, when they were choosing which of the franchises to bid for, that the north west would have most people at home on a rainy evening, ready to watch their programmes, and I suppose equally importantly, to boost the ratings, I guess, for the advertisers to whom they wished to sell slots in between those programmes. And I think that whatever my father’s… how shall we say… his idealism, and there was a lot of that about Sidney Bernstein, he was also quite a canny businessman, and he somehow managed, quite successfully in his commercial life, to combine his ideals and his vision with a good common sense financial base – I’m sure others have spoken about the initial financial troubles at Granada, I’m sure others will be able to tell you about that more than I can, I mean, I was a very young child at the time – but although it took a few years for independent television to find a secure base with advertisers, I think they made the right decision in going to the north, and basing themselves in the north west. But he was aware of the culture there, he was aware of the, the Halle, of the fact that the industrial wealth of the 19th and early 20th century had built up a series of institutions, universities and museums, theatres, concert halls, and he himself had been brought up in London, and his cinema chain, which is what Granada was until 1954/5/6, was based in London and the Home Counties. Nevertheless, he was aware of what was going on in the rest of the country, and perhaps, as I think we all do today, that England as whole, maybe Britain, was a bit too London-centric, and maybe he also anticipated that they’d have more fun up there, I would say. Because they did – they had a lot of fun up there, I think.

Leave a Reply