David Highet on Granada’s rationale for opening a Liverpool office

At the time the long-standing antipathy between Liverpool and Manchester focussed – even more greatly than usual – on the lack of a television station in Liverpool while Manchester had the TV centre in Quay Street in all its glory and different organisations began to form. One of them was led by a Professor of Transport from the Polytechnic, Professor Lewis Lesley and he was very vociferous in saying that Liverpool should have its own television station and indeed he garnered quite a large amount of support from the business community particularly but also from the politicians so I have no doubt that that had a bearing on what Granada were going to do, even though they wrapped the story up in totally different clothes! They were never going to admit that but I’m certain it was part of their decision to open a place in Liverpool. I also said to David Plowright when I joined the company and got to know him a little better that there was never a sense of complacency in Granada but there was perhaps a sense that they were invincible. And being from Liverpool, I was aware that as well as Professor Lewis Lesley (who I didn’t see as a threat), there was a chap called Phil Redmond who’d been writing television scripts for quite some time but was beginning to make mildly bellicose noises about challenging Granada and Plowright smiled and I said, “Look, David, while you are speeding along in the fast lane, keep an eye on your rear-view mirror because someone younger and faster is coming up behind you!” That was the sort of context in which the studio opened in Liverpool and the fact that it did open was largely welcomed although it never, never totally quietened the voices of those who complained. It wasn’t enough as far as some of the business community, some of the politicians and other protestors were concerned.

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