David Highet on the origins of Granada’s office in the Albert Dock

Yes, well one thing that you might want to think about discussing – or for me to remark on – is what Granada’s lasting legacy was in Liverpool and later in Manchester which brings me to the decision to open a News Centre at the Albert Dock in Liverpool. The Albert Dock had been derelict for many years and the only idea that had come up was that it would become the new Polytechnic. The buildings would be converted to become Liverpool Polytechnic and the Albert Dock would be filled in as a car park. After the inner-city riots, Plowright’s mind was buzzing away on several levels as to what we might do in Liverpool but also what we might do in television to begin to harness the new technology that was being seen in use in America, notably with Ted Turner at CNN. He called me one day and said, ‘Meet me at the Albert Dock.’ I said, “Of course, David.” It was blowing a gale, the rain was coming off the Mersey horizontally in stair rods, awful day! And David led me to the Dock Traffic Master’s Office (a wonderful old building with palladium columns and so on) but the roof had fallen in, there was no security, we just clambered through a gap in the wall, walked across the rubble, avoided treading on dead pigeons and Plowright, with a wave of the hand said, ‘This is going to be the most advanced television station in the world!’ I said, “Will it?!” ‘Yes! It’s going to be the Headquarters of Granada Television News.’ “Good!”, I said. ‘And you’re going to run it!’ I said, “Even better!” And that was the start of a great adventure that led to indeed, the Dock Traffic Office becoming, with the technology that we put in, lightweight cameras, computerisation and so on, for one, gleaming, shining moment the most advanced television station in the world! It attracted people from all over the world to see it and Shorty, God bless him, was the Editor and I was General Manager and we had a marvellous time.

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